Manchester City vs. Wigan: Final score 1-0 as City sputter to win

Alex Livesey

Carlos Tevez spared City's blushes as the defending champions laboured to a close win against Wigan at the Etihad.

Manchester City and Wigan Athletic will meet in the FA Cup final next month, but Wednesday saw a Premier League dress rehearsal which the hosts quite clearly did not give two figs about. The Latics, meanwhile, are fighting against relegation again gave the match everything they had, which led to the bizarre spectacle of the defending champions looking second-best at home for most of the match.

I mean, they still won, because that's what happens with Manchester City, but they certainly didn't look good in the process. Wigan were buzzing throughout and it took the crossbar and some great saves from Joe Hart to keep them off the scoresheet. The hosts, meanwhile, looked absurdly stodgy going forward, failing to seriously trouble Joel Robles until the final ten minutes of the match, when they finally bothered attacking with any conviction.

It apparently took a near-goal from Paul Scharner to raise City from their stupor. The Wigan man rattled Hart's crossbar with a thumping header only to see the linesman's flag rule out his effort anyway. It wasn't the visitors' first near-miss: Franco di Santo and Arouna Kone might both have found themselves on the scoresheet only to be denied by Hart, but this time Carlos Tevez replied in devastating fashion.

Scampering past both Scharner and James McArthur, the striker worked himself some space in the box, and once it had opened up Tevez pulled off a powerful near-post drive, beating Joel and breaking the deadlock. It's a disappointing result for Wigan, who could really have done with the point that City were offering as they look to fight their way out of the relegation battle.

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