Wigan Athletic vs. Manchester City: Final score 0-2, City grinds out a win

Jamie McDonald

Wigan gave City a scare but couldn't hold out in the end as Mario Balotelli and James Milner scored second half goals three minutes apart to earn City the victory.

Wigan gave Manchester City a scare but were ultimately doomed by two goals in three minutes late in the second half. City earned the three points to stay right on Manchester United's heels at the top of the Premier League table.

The story of the first half for Manchester CIty was wasted chances. They certainly had plenty of them, with Sergio Agüero the most guilty of being wasteful. Yet, if you drill down a bit, it was Wigan that really had the better half, creating more shots, including the first half's only shot on target. So it was both a deceptive half and quite boring really as neither side really looked particularly dangerous.

Possibly the most interesting sequence of the half occurred right before halftime. Wigan's Jordi Gómez threw himself at the ground inside the City box, failing to convince the referee there was any signifcant contact that caused his fall. Gómez wasted no time once play restarted crashing in to Gareth Barry from behind and earning a yellow card.

One might argue that Gómez was attempting to flying by throwing himself at the ground and missing. Sadly, he did not and just made himself look foolish.

The story of the second half was Wigan's wasted chances and City finally wearing them down.

City looked much more dangerous at the start of the second half, but once against couldn't get enough shots on target. They looked that have earned a penalty in the 49th minute as Ronnie Stam pulled so hard on Barry's jersey in the box, you could see more of the midfielders' bare torso. Apparently that kind of thing is alright with the referee or he just didn't see it.

Minutes later Mario Balotelli mis-hit a wide open header at the far post, sending his shot wide of the post despite having an empty net in front of him.

Not to be out done, Wigan's Arouna Koné completely missed an open header in the 56th minute after he split the City defense and sent James McCarthy's cross well wide of the goal. Just an appalling miss.

City finally broke through in the 69th minute. Ali Al Habsi made a nice save on the initial shot from distance by Gareth Barry, but he left a rebound that Balotelli was able to get a foot as he fought off a Wigan defender and buried his shot in the back of the net.

With the first goal in, City relaxed and really started to play. It only took them 3 minutes to get a second goal. David Silva drew the Wigan defense towards the left side of the box before sending a pass back to James Milner. As Wigan players tried to race back to cover, Milner sent a curling shot in to the upper corner to make it 2-0 for the defending champions.

With the win City remains one point behind their league leading rivals at the top of the table.

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