The Monday Night Football will see Wigan Athletic go toe-to-toe with Premier League leaders Manchester City. Both clubs are desperate for points, but as you would expect given their respective budgets, those points are needed for very different reasons. Where is the money going in this one?
Asian Handicap, Manchester City -1.5 (5/4 @ Bet365)
The Latics have won just once at home all season, and have conceded 20 goals in those 10 games. The defensive problems are compounded by the loss of Mohamed Diame, who has left for the African Cup of Nations with Senegal.
In their last home match, Wigan shipped 4 to Sunderland in a 4-1 reverse. That defeat kept them firmly in the bottom three after a mini revival during late December. Now without a win in 5, Roberto Martinez’ men are desperate for a result, and it is often the case with Wigan, that when they look most inept, they pull a result out of the bag. Draws versus both Chelsea (1-1) and Liverpool (0-0) show that the Latics can be resilient when the mood takes them.
Back to back cup defeats have the pundits talking of crisis at City. They certainly appeared to miss David Silva during the Carling Cup loss to Liverpool, he plays a role within their system that few others can fill – the news on his ankle injury is that he will be fit and available for this one – this piece of team news will be key.
Yaya Toure is definitely absent, as is Kolo Youre, both have left for the African Nations, and Yaya in particular, leaves a big hole in midfield. Roberto Mancini seems unflustered by the cries of panic, but a result is most certainly required to silence the doubters.
Team changes are likely to affect both teams, but City have the larger squad and are better equipped to cope. The match odds market does not really offer value, but backing City to overcome a handicap of 1.5 goals at 5/4 looks good – assuming David Silva makes the line up. Wigan will miss Diame, and the defence was not great with him in it anyway – they have already lost by 2 or more on 4 occasions at the DW Stadium.