Five reasons for Wigan Athletic to be positive - and worried - for Man City

Great memories before the 2013 FA Cup final
Great memories before the 2013 FA Cup final
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Paul Kendrick looks at a handful of reasons to be positive ahead of Monday night’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Manchester City at the DW Stadium...and a handful of reasons to be wary...

FIVE REASONS TO BE POSITIVE!

1) Nick Powell. As long as Latics have their undoubted crown jewel in the side, they have a chance. Okay, he’s not fired in the last couple of games – who in the team has? – but he proved in the fourth round of the FA Cup against West Ham, when he ran the show and attracted national headlines, that he can cause damage to top-flight teams.

2) Where there’s a Will (Grigg), there’s a way. The Latics striker has six goals in the competition so far - which is more than any other player in the country. As well as sparing Wigan’s blushes against non-league Fylde with a late double off the bench, he also scored three times in the wins over Bournemouth and West Ham. Latics have to ignite him against City.

3) Home-crowd advantage. A big crowd inside the DW Stadium – and big-time atmosphere – usually brings out the best in Latics, on and off the field. West Ham brought 5,000 fans with them in the last round, and the Latics supporters more than responded. Several of the players commented after the game that they were inspired to greater efforts...let’s hope it’s the same again, with around 20,000 spectators expected on the night.

4) City have other distractions. While the FA Cup will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Wiganers – after THAT day back in May, 2013 – it won’t have the same appeal for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. With the Premier League already in the bag, and a place in the League Cup final secured later this month, most of their attention will be on the Champions League. Which could allow Latics to take advantage in the FA Cup...

5) It’s Man City in the FA Cup – it’s what we do! Hardly anyone gave Roberto Martinez’s men a hope of beating City in the 2013 FA Cup final. Even fewer thought Uwe Rosler’s Championship side would repeat the trick 12 months later at the Etihad. Paul Cook’s League One outfit are even longer odds...but you just never know...

...AND FIVE REASONS TO BE WORRIED!

1) Have you seen City this season? Pep Guardiola’s men have brushed aside all-comers in the Premier League so far, and have all-but secured their place in the last eight of the Champions League thanks to a 4-0 win in Basel in midweek. Whatever side Guardiola puts out will be full of quality. De Bruyne, Silva, Aguero, Sterling, Stones...

2) No Sam Morsy. It’s impossible to over-emphasise how much of a miss the skipper will be in the Latics engine room. The Egypt star has been walking a disciplinary tightrope for several weeks, and finally fell off just two minutes from the end of the 2-0 loss to Blackpool. His 10th booking of the season means an automatic two-match ban - robbing Latics of their on-field leader and general.

3) The way Latics have played in their last two outings! If City have done any kind of homework on Paul Cook’s men, they wouldn’t have been too impressed with the defeats against Southend and Blackpool. Latics have warmed up for the biggest game of the campaign with their two worst displays. A repeat performance and it could get embarrassing – especially if City are anywhere near top gear.

4) City want the lot! No team in history has ever won all three domestic trophies as well as the European Cup/Champions League. No team will surely ever have a better chance than City this year. Any temptation to rest a few big guns may be tempered by the fear of blowing such a golden opportunity of a clean sweep.

5) They want revenge - big time. If our resident City fans in the Wigan Today office are anything to go by, Latics’ famous FA Cup final triumph and their repeat victory in the following season’s quarter-final have not been forgotten in the blue half of Manchester. While only a few players remain from those games, that desire to get even with Latics for their fans may aid their efforts on the night.