Manchester City vs. Wigan Athletic: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Goalscorer Ben Watson of Wigan Athletic celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Thus far, we know Arsenal are through to the FA Cup semi-finals after defeating Everton on Saturday, 4-1. Now, we'll find out if Manchester City can keep themselves in the running for four different cups this season, or if Championship side Wigan can knock them out of the running in a rematch of last year's final.

At the moment, Manchester City are firmly entrenched in the Premier League title race, have already won the Capital One Cup and still have a chance to advance in the Champions League (though they have to travel to Barcelona already trailing in aggregate, 2-0).

Yes, they are still gunning for the rare quad.

Meanwhile, Wigan are just trying to play themselves back into the Premier League after being relegated a year ago. They are currently in seventh place and wouldn't even qualify for the playoff if the season ended today (though they have two games in hand on fifth-place Nottingham Forest and sixth-place Reading).

In other words, this FA Cup semi-final fixture means plenty to them. Let's break it down.


When: Sunday at 12:05 p.m. ET (4:05 p.m. GMT)

Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England

Watch: Fox Sports 2; Fox Soccer 2Go; BT Sport 1 (U.K.); BT Sport app (U.K.)


Key Storylines

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Sadly for Wigan, the deadly Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo could be paired in attack for Manchester City in this contest. From Richard Jolly of ESPN:

The two strikers have only started 12 games together but they have scored 25 goals in that time, with Aguero finding the net 15 times and Negredo 10.

But they have not began a game together since the 3-0 Capital One Cup win over West Ham on Jan. 21 because of injuries.

Now both are fully fit and they could be paired against Wigan in the FA Cup on Saturday and Pellegrini wants them to link up to deadly effect again.

He said: 'It [their partnership] was very productive for the team. And I hope in the future it can be again. In other moments Sergio was injured, Negredo played very well at that time. [Edin] Dzeko and Negredo, Dzeko and Sergio have also done it.'

Aguero has been deadly when healthy this season, with 30 goals in 28 appearances across all competitions. Only Luis Suarez (8.63) and Aaron Ramsey (7.79) have earned better average match ratings from WhoScored in Premier League play than Aguero, who has earned a 7.76 mark.

Negredo hasn't been quite as proficient but has still done plenty of damage, with 26 goals in 42 total appearances.

Jon Super/Associated Press

City will be largely healthy in this contest, with only Stevan Jovetic and Matija Nastasic missing in action, according to Jolly. That means Wigan might have to deal with not only Aguero and Negredo up top, but also potentially in-form stars such as David Silva, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, among others.

Of course, with Barcelona awaiting on Wednesday, City may opt to give some of their reserves a shot in order to rest their stars.

Wigan's Emmerson Boyce is certainly hoping the Citizens are distracted, as he told David Anderson of the Mirror:

They've got a Champions League game the following Wednesday, so you never know if their minds will be elsewhere. We've managed to get a lot of momentum now and, although we know it'll be a tough game at Manchester City, we will be ready for it.

At the end of the day, you want to play against the best players—and what bigger stage than to go to Manchester City against the quality players they've got?

Wigan come into this game pretty hot, having won five straight. They aren't a particularly dangerous squad offensively, but they've played solid defense, allowing just 30 goals in Championship play, good for fourth in the league.  

Expect them to park the proverbial bus, look to frustrate City on the attack and pick their spots to spring forward on the counter. It would be a different approach than they took in last year's final, when Roberto Martinez had his team fearlessly play a possession game rather than sink back defensively, but it would be prudent against a City team that is far more dangerous on the attack this time around.



MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Manches
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

These were both very different teams a year ago. While both were clearly ending an era with their respective managers, Roberto Mancini and the aforementioned Martinez, one team came into the contest disinterested and uninspired, while the other seemed hellbent on winning its first silverware in 81 years.

In the end, the latter won out, with Wigan winning 1-0 on a stoppage-time goal from Ben Watson.

But under Manuel Pellegrini, this City side is far more positive this year, far deeper and far less likely to take Wigan for granted. The Sky Blues didn't take the Capital One Cup lightly, so it's unclear why they would suddenly disregard the FA Cup, even with Barcelona beckoning.

This isn't good news for Wigan, who won't back down but likely will be out-skilled into submission. Expect a valiant effort, but don't expect a repeat of last season's final.

Manchester City wins, 2-0.