Premier League preview: Wigan v Manchester City
By Football News
As if taking on Manchester City was not hard enough, Wigan must now face them without a further two players as their injury crisis deepens.
Heading into Wednesday's clash with City at the DW Stadium, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will be looking to cover for the loss of Shaun Maloney and Ivan Ramis, who both picked up knocks in the dramatic 3-2 win over Reading.
Martinez may be able to select James MacArthur, who marked his return from injury by playing the final seven minutes on Saturday, but otherwise he will be relying on a small squad of players to do the job against City's formidable depth.
"We're quite stretched and when you play against the champions you want to be at full strength," Martinez told The Guardian.
"So it's good news to have a very good win, a very good performance and a very good feeling behind you to approach the game on Wednesday."
That 'very good' win over Reading was powered by Jordi Gomez's three goals, his last one coming in added time as he secured maximum points after a bizarre gaffe by Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi led to Reading equalising in the 80th minute.
Gomez's hat-trick was just the second time a Spaniard has taken home the match ball in a Premier League game, his efforts following on from Fernando Torres.
But Gomez will need to maintain that form if Wigan are to arrest a run of seven consecutive losses to the second-placed City, especially as Roberto Mancini's side will be looking to atone for a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Sunday in Rafael Benitez's first game in charge.
That result has seen City drop to second on the table following Manchester United's win over QPR on Saturday.
And Mancini could be looking to make some changes in his attack after Edin Dzeko failed to have the impact as a starting player that he has had coming off the bench in recent weeks when he has scored five times.
Dzeko was not the only City forward who struggled, however, as Sergio Aguero and substitutes Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli also failed to impact the contest.
"It is not easy to play against Chelsea like we did, but we need to be strong when we get to the edge of the box, not soft. We were too soft," Mancini told Sky Sports.
"When we are near the box we should be very strong. Today we played very well until the edge of the box, where we were poor.
"I hoped that (Dzeko) would play well from the start like he does when he is a substitute.
"Today, I think every player gave 100 per cent but sometimes it is not possible to play well."