Bayern Munich 2 Manchester City 0
Tuesday 27th Sept 2011: Horst Vietor for GYKO
at the Allianz Arena
Manchester City's big night in the Champions
League ended with failure on the pitch and problems off it for
manager Roberto Mancini as Bayern Munich maintained their remarkable
record over English teams.
Although City looked capable of becoming only the second team to
beat the German giants on their own ground in European combat for
half an hour, two Mario Gomez goals in eight minutes before the
break turned the tie on its head.
Then, when Mancini introduced Nigel de Jong for Edin Dzeko 10
minutes after the restart in an attempt to stem the flow of Bayern
attacks, the Bosnian seemed to exchange words with his manager.
This then drew Carlos Tevez into a row, with some reports suggesting
that the Argentina star, left stewing on the bench on Saturday, had
refused to warm up, which then led to an exchange between the
striker and fellow countryman Pablo Zabaleta. Yet what Mancini had
De Jong's presence denied Bayern the room that they had been
exploiting so effortlessly. This was supposed to be the final
frontier for City. Instead, they discovered just how steep the
learning curve is to make the transition from Champions League
qualifiers to actual contenders. They were unfortunate that
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai did not spot either of the two
decent penalty claims City had before Gomez struck. Former City
defender Jerome Boateng was the guilty man on both occasions, the
first of which at least looked pretty clear. David Silva contributed
to the problem by admirably trying to play on when he got clipped
close to the by-line.
If the Spain midfielder had been more theatrical, he might have
gained a spot-kick. Instead he tried to play Samir Nasri in and City
got nothing. Boateng also barged Micah Richards over but this would
have been more debatable, even if Yaya Toure made his displeasure
known to the official.
However, with Silva and Nasri scheming and Dzeko looking a threat,
City were the better side for half an hour, when it appeared they
might emulate Norwich, who remain the only English team to beat
Bayern on their own ground in 16 attempts.
Once Franck Ribery got into his stride, City were in trouble. The
French winger has destroyed plenty of teams down the years and now
it was the turn of Mancini's men to feel the heat. Ribery sped past
Gareth Barry before setting up Thomas Muller, but his effort flew
over. Muller then turned provider as City tried to play a woeful
offside. Again they escaped as Bastian Schweinsteiger failed to find
The Blues were in trouble though and it was no surprise Bayern
scored on their next attack.
No surprise either Ribery was the architect, lashing another fierce
shot goalwards that City goalkeeper Joe Hart could not hold.
Somehow, Hart prevented Muller tucking home the rebound. But he
could not stop Gomez making it third-time lucky as he finished from
Sergio Aguero was booked for a foul on Schweinsteiger as City tried
to steady the ship.
But worse was to come in stoppage time when Toni Kroos fizzed over a
free-kick that Daniel van Buyten flicked goalwards. Again, Hart
saved. Again, Bayern had another option as Gomez tucked home his
City nearly conceded a third when Muller just failed to turn home
Philipp Lahm's near-post cross.
Discontent was raging on the sidelines though and Gael Clichy was
booked as City's bad night got worse.
Kolo Toure was also booked as he gave away a free-kick which would
have led to a third Bayern goal if Hart had not superbly turned
Gomez's header away.
Arjen Robben replaced Ribery, his work done, in the final minute,
before substitute Aleksandar Kolarov rolled the last chance wide for
City in stoppage time.
Bayern Munich Neuer, Rafinha, Van Buyten, Boateng, Lahm,
Schweinsteiger, Gustavo, Muller, Kroos (Tymoschuk 82), Ribery (Robben
90), Gomez (Petersen 90).
Subs Not Used: Butt, Usami, Contento, Alaba.
Goals: Gomez 38, 45.
Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Clichy, Nasri
(Milner 69), Barry (Kolarov 73), Toure Yaya, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko
(De Jong 55).
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Tevez.
Booked: Aguero, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Toure.
Att: 65, 000
Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).
Manchester City 2 Everton 0 Toffees
Saturday 24th September 2011 : GYKO at the
For once Mario Balotelli
made the right choice as he celebrated a watershed moment for
Manchester City and potentially his own career with the manager who
has indulged him more than any other. One Italian embraced another
on the touchline, the Everton resistance was broken and Roberto
Mancini seized the moment to whisper in the goalscorer's ear. "I
told him to stay wide, then get inside the box when we attack and
work for the team" – hardly a Mills and Boon moment but at least the
£24m striker is listening.
It would be premature to claim the penny has dropped for Balotelli
on the basis of one well-struck, highly significant but ultimately
deflected goal. All that can be said with certainty is that the time
has arrived for the 21-year-old to repay Mancini's consistent and
often tested faith. On Saturday that process commenced.
The City manager displayed telling confidence in the Italy
international an hour into the ordeal of breaking David Moyes's
tactic of parking an entire bus depot here. City required fresh
inspiration in attack plus someone to drag Everton to the channels.
Mancini summoned Balotelli and left Carlos Tevez, the finest striker
in the Premier League last season, stewing on the bench, alone with
his thoughts and with no one to blame for his demotion in the
striking order beyond himself. Balotelli – "he loves Manchester City
and English football," his manager pointedly remarked – duly played
the instrumental role in Mancini's first victory over Everton,
sweeping Sergio Agüero's back-heel into the corner of Tim Howard's
goal via the chest of Phil Jagielka and working tirelessly for the
"Usually when he scores he is unhappy," said Mancini, illustrating
the paradox perfectly. "For Mario it is normal but in a game like
this I think he knew he scored an important goal for us. That's just
him. But inside I think he's happy always. I think he wants to show
supporters it's normal for him to score."
His work rate and willingness to follow Mancini's instructions were
not the only signs of maturity that City have witnessed in Balotelli
of late, according to James Milner, who said the striker's failure
to start a Premier League game this term has not provoked any
Milner, the second City substitute to beat Howard when he converted
David Silva's glorious pass in the final minute, his first league
goal for the club, said: "I don't think anyone is happy when they
are not in the team. That is what you want. Mario hasn't shown it.
He trains hard every day and goes about his business like everyone
else does. He has not stepped out of line or shown his
disappointment in any way."
Asked whether the perception of Balotelli as a gifted but eccentric
individual is fair, Milner replied: "That is pretty accurate. He is
a top-quality player. You forget how young he is. He has done a lot
in the game already. You can see his quality every time he comes on.
He only needed half a chance and he took it. He is a massive part of
But no player currently matches the importance to City of Silva.
Moyes interrupted his stride out of the stadium to shake the hand of
the Spanish midfielder and offered a genuine "well played". The
Everton manager had already paid Silva the compliment of detailing
the impressive Jack Rodwell to man-mark "City's biggest part", as
Moyes described him, and his concerns proved justified. Two minutes
after Balotelli's breakthrough Rodwell asked his manager whether he
should abandon his duties and support Everton's belated efforts to
attack. He was told to stay. Rodwell looked to the bench again in
the closing minutes and was instructed to advance. Seconds later
Silva intercepted Royston Drenthe's careless pass, spun away from
three blue shirts and threaded Milner through for City's second.
"He did not leave me alone," said Silva. "It's strange to mark like
that in the Premier League. It was a new experience for me. That has
never happened to me before. I don't know if it is a compliment or
not but I know I was in their plans. It's good for me to continue in
this vein and that we took three points from a difficult match. They
defended very well but we also played well and got the victory.
We're very pleased knowing that in these difficult matches if we
keep on winning and doing what we are doing, we'll be in the running
[for the title]."
The Rodwell experiment succeeded for Moyes, though it will test
Evertonian patience should his overall game plan continue against
Liverpool's suspect defence on Saturday. City's own reserves will be
stretched, too, should others follow the Craig Levein coaching
manual but at least now, having broken the Everton hoodoo, they know
they have the options to respond. Moyes's anger was reserved for the
inconsistent refereeing of Howard Webb, who failed to punish Vincent
Kompany for anticipating Tim Cahill's foul with a dangerous
challenge of his own. The Football Association has confirmed that no
retrospective action will be taken.
Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Nasri
(Savic 83), Barry, Toure Yaya, Silva, Dzeko (Balotelli 60), Aguero
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Tevez.
Booked: Toure Yaya.
Goals: Balotelli 68, Milner 89.
Everton Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Neville (Drenthe
73), Fellaini, Rodwell, Osman, Coleman (Vellios 81), Cahill (Saha
Subs Not Used: Mucha, Heitinga, Bilyaletdinov, Stracqualursi.
Booked: Rodwell, Neville, Osman, Cahill, Jagielka.
Att: 47, 293
Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).
Manchester City 2 Birmingham City 0
Seconds Out Round Three
Wednesday 21st September : George Hanson for
GYKO at the Etihad Stadium
For Owen Hargreaves, it is difficult to imagine
his comeback could have gone any better. His career has endured more
miseries and been written off more times than he will care to
remember but, finally, there is clear evidence to suggest he is at
the point of re-establishing himself as a formidable opponent.
Hargreaves, 30, did not merely outdo expectations, lasting 57
minutes of this third-round Carling Cup tie when the original plan
was to come off at half-time, but he announced his arrival as a
Manchester City player with a moment that demonstrated why his new
employers have decided he can play a significant part in their
campaign to catch, then overhaul, Europe's elite clubs. The opening
goal was a peach and it came from his right boot, at a distance when
not every player would have had a belief in their ability to score.
Hargreaves was undoubtedly helped by the fact Birmingham were poor
opponents. Nonetheless, he played with a confidence that made it
seem almost a trick of the mind that at Manchester United there was
a genuine feeling that the lights were about to turn out on his
"He's a fantastic footballer and he can become an important player
for us," Roberto Mancini, the City manager, said afterwards. "It
wasn't easy for him [psychologically] after so many years out, but
he played well and scored a fantastic goal. If he can carry on
playing often, training often, and become the player he was, it can
be important for the England team too."
The road back has been long and tortuous but Hargreaves looked
sharp, bright and as quick into the tackle as ever. Most
importantly, he looked fit. When he left the pitch it was to a
standing ovation and, before that moment, the home supporters
audibly made the point that Sir Alex Ferguson may come to regret
A long way to go until then, of course, but the mood was
understandably light on a night when Mancini's experimental team had
little problem moving into the fourth round and Hargreaves was not
alone in terms of reflecting on a satisfying evening's work. Here,
too, was Kolo Touré's first match since his six-month ban for taking
a prohibited substance came to an end.
Alongside him Stefan Savic, the £6m signing from Partizan Belgrade,
had a capable first start. Abdul Razak, a 19-year-old from Ivory
Coast, patrolled the centre of midfield before succumbing to cramp.
Wayne Bridge was in from the wilderness to play as a left-winger,
with another full-back, Pablo Zabaleta, on the opposite side. Nedum
Onuoha's presence at right-back emphasised that the Garry Cook
affair will not be held against him.
With so many changes, it was probably inevitable that this would not
be a performance totally in keeping with the slick and fluid
football that Mancini's first-choice team have put together so far
There was also the suspicion at times that Mario Balotelli and
particularly Carlos Tevez were not going at full pelt. Balotelli,
however, did take his goal with clinical precision, angling a
left-foot drive into the bottom corner after Aleksandar Kolarov's
Two-nil up at the interval, the second half was a mere formality and
Birmingham were left to reflect on the moment, shortly before
Balotelli's strike, when City's debutant goalkeeper, Costel
Pantilimon, made a hash of dealing with a free-kick and Curtis
Davies's overhead kick was cleared off the line. Pantimilon, a
Romania international on loan from Timisoara, is 6ft 9in – except
for crosses, it seems, when he looks 5ft 8in. But that was really
the sum total of Birmingham's challenge and their tepid efforts made
it the perfect evening for Hargreaves to take his first steps back.
His goal was a beauty, too. Hargreaves has always been a sweet
striker of the ball and this was a wonderful connection, arrowing
his right-foot shot past Colin Doyle. It was a moderate goal
celebration, as if he knew there were still challenges to overcome,
but it still felt like a moment of great significance.
Birmingham looked defeated from that moment and by the end Mancini
had brought on a 16-year-old, Karim Rekik, followed by the
20-year-old Luca Scapuzzi.
In between, the brooding Tevez ran clear only for Doyle to thwart
him. Tevez's body language was all wrong but, for another former
United player, it was a much more profitable evening.
Man City Pantilimon, Onuoha, Toure, Savic, Bridge (Rekik 78),
Zabaleta, Hargreaves (Milner 57), Razak (Scapuzzi 86), Kolarov,
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Clichy, Suarez, Aguero.
Goals: Hargreaves 17, Balotelli 38.
Birmingham Doyle, Spector, Ibanez, Davies, Murphy, Burke,
N'Daw, Fahey (Gomis 67), Beausejour, Redmond (King 78), Rooney (Zigic
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Caldwell, Asante, Jervis.
Att: 25, 070
Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
Fulham 2 Manchester City 2
Sunday 18th September 2011 : Ken Farrell for
GYKO at Craven Cottage
This was supposed to be such an authentic mismatch that
Martin Jol saw fit in his programme notes to remind everyone:
"We are not playing a team of reputations, we are playing 11 v
Manchester City circus act in
town against the Premier League's bottom-placed team at the
start of play? What could possibly go right?
That sentiment seemed even more pertinent as
Fulham found themselves
trailing by two goals, and clearly inhibited, with a little over
half an hour left of the match. But such is the magic dust that
sometimes flutters down over a football stadium. In the 74th
minute, a swing of Danny Murphy's boot sent this story on its
barely credible course, via a ricochet off Vincent Kompany,
towards an equaliser that inspired a cheeky "Poznan" celebration
in the Hammersmith End. Fulham had not enjoyed an uplifting
start to the campaign, but with that strike, and that moment,
and all that a comeback against illustrious opposition can do to
a team, the season takes on a rosier hue.
It was a fight back that was hardly
anticipated as City eased to a routine lead, with Sergio Agüero
extending his extraordinary start to life in English football
with both his team's strikes. It takes his tally to eight from
his first five Premier League games, a feat not repeated since
the rotund Mick Quinn rampaged through the division in the
colours of Coventry City in the 1992-93 season.
The opener arrived in the 18th minute, when
Gareth Barry nudged the ball to David Silva, and in the blink of
an eye the cunning and speed of City's front line outfoxed
Fulham. There were arms raised for offside in the white back
four, and the wafer-thin decision was not an enviable one for
the officials, but Agüero latched on to Silva's reverse pass to
finish with customary smartness. So far, so comfortable.
City were controlling, without being
scintillating. Roberto Mancini was irritated that, for the
second weekend in succession, his team had been dominant in
possession without turning it into a forceful score line by
half‑time. "It could be a lesson for us. In the first half we
had 75% possession and many chances to score," he said. If they
were given a talking to about their casualness at half-time,
Mancini's team duly clobbered Fulham with a goal 11 seconds
after the restart. From the kick-off, Gaël Clichy pumped a pass
up to Edin Dzeko, whose nod down invited Agüero to do what he
After such a blow, the way Fulham roused
themselves was as impressive as it was unexpected. They reduced
the deficit and raised the spirits in the 56th minute when the
productive Moussa Dembélé and the determined Clint Dempsey
combined to release Bobby Zamora, who swivelled to direct a
blurring drive past Joe Hart.
In a meek first half Fulham had looked afraid
to go forward, as if they were constantly unnerved about what
might happen behind them. Desire and furious energy suddenly
coursed through Jol's team. A well-timed Micah Richards
intervention in the penalty area stopped Dempsey from another
sight of goal. The City keeper was suddenly feeling the heat and
had to dive to his right to parry Dembélé's low shot on the
turn. Then Fulham's persistence paid off when Murphy set the
place on fire.
"It was awful being bottom," concluded Jol.
"But to come back from the death, especially against a team like
Manchester City, shows we had the belief and the mentality."
Not so City, who wilted under their first
real pressure of the season. "I'm disappointed," rued Mancini,
admitting that complacency might have been a factor. "It was
difficult to see Fulham scoring two goals. But a football match
is finished after 95 minutes. We conceded a few stupid goals."
The Italian summoned the chutzpah to curse
the fact that his squad was lacking numbers. With a straight
face. "I don't have players at this moment," he lamented. "I can
only change the full-backs or the strikers."
With City having spent a shade over £300m on
their squad in three years, the amount of people offering him
sympathy may well add up to zero.
Fulham Schwarzer, Kelly, Baird, Hangeland, John Arne Riise,
Duff (Kasami 61), Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey, Zamora, Dembele (Ruiz
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Orlando Sa, Senderos, Gecov, Grygera.
Goals: Zamora 55, Murphy 75.
Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Barry,
Toure Yaya, Nasri (Johnson 81), Aguero (Tevez 82), Silva (Zabaleta
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Toure, Balotelli.
Goals: Aguero 18, 46.
Att: 24, 750
Ref: Mark Clattenburg (England).
Manchester City 1 Napoli 1
Wednesday 14th September 2011 : GYKO at the
Manchester City will know that
they have been exposed to the subtle ordeals of the Champions
League. Napoli, instead of being worn down, developed more ambition
as time passed and took the lead here. This was a heartening sign,
for neutrals at least, that the tournament need not slip into the
permanent domination of Spain or England.
City's own reflections will have a narrow focus. They took a point
because Aleksandar Kolarov snaked a free-kick inside the post in the
75th minute. It is to the team's credit that they had a such an
effective set piece in their repertoire. Nonetheless, City, if this
fixture is any guide, cannot assume they will be allowed to produce
the free-wheeling style of this season's early weeks.
In all likelihood, Roberto Mancini would have suspected that, as a
unit, his team do not quite have the knowhow to maintain strict
control at home when the opposition are of this calibre. Indeed,
Napoli could be a touch disappointed to have lost their lead. The
goal itself had, after all, revealed gaucheness in City. Gareth
Barry was careless in possession and Christian Maggio surged away
with the ball before Edinson Cavani converted the chance after 69
Sergio Agüero was soon clipping the bar from a low delivery by Samir
Nasri, but the Champions League had become a grave matter for City.
Their firm reply at least showed resolve. With all the talk of
City's first European Cup match since 1968 there was almost an
insinuation that a club of such means would make a spectacular
reappearance in the tournament as a matter of course.
It was not quite so simple as all that, even if Mancini's players
started as if they could not be checked. Any such assumption was
disrespectful to a Serie A side that did not crumple at any moment
in this encounter. One of the most vivid moments saw the City
centre-half Vincent Kompany flummoxed by Ezequiel Lavezzi, with the
Argentinian attacker hitting the bar from distance in the 18th
There was no obvious reason why the hosts should have looked a touch
uneasy on occasion. City may lack experience of this competition in
modern times, but their squad is crammed with men of achievement.
The ability is beyond dispute, but this manager knows that the
vivacious football he has gradually introduced of late will not in
itself be enough establish the club in Europe.
Napoli almost quaked in some early exchanges, but professionalism
saw them through that period and they appeared to enjoy the occasion
more than City. That was perhaps to be expected. The home team
realise how much expectation they have to bear. City could still
have had the lead at half-time. Yaya Touré tore forward in the 34th
minute and linked with Agüero before shooting against the bar. Three
cautions for Napoli before the interval also indicated their
In the depths of their hearts, City fans would have envisaged a
spectacle to confirm that the club's standards are the equal of the
world's best. Those of a more philosophical turn of mind could have
argued that the whole point of City's rise has been to play for high
stakes and feel the tension, as they certainly did in this match.
The mood was still a positive one in the Etihad Stadium, with no
recriminations. The wonder of witnessing a fixture of this sort in
the ground left a sense of thankfulness among the supporters. But
City were definitely under stress. That is normal for the prominent
teams. There might have been an opener for them in the 40th minute,
but the goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis reached a Kolarov drive aimed
for the corner of the target. Nothing so very terrible had happened
to City and the main priority would have been to stay calm and
The composure of Mancini's players was tried as the match wore on,
especially when a deep cross from the left fell to Marek Hamsik and
the Slovak's drive needed to be cleared expertly from the goalline
by Kompany in the 50th minute. There were several moments when those
who have made too much of the relative decline in Serie A had to
appreciate the potency these clubs can still find.
It was hardly an occasion for merely appreciating the side that had
denied City a win, but this game ought to be valued for its proof
that diversity remains in a competition that is supposed to embody
the highest standards of football on our continent.
Man City Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy
75), Toure Yaya, Barry, Silva, Aguero, Nasri (Johnson 75), Dzeko
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Richards, Savic, Toure.
Goals: Kolarov 75.
Napoli De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio,
Inler, Gargano, Zuniga, Hamsik (Santana 89), Lavezzi (Dzemaili 57),
Cavani (Pandev 83).
Subs Not Used: Rosati, Fideleff, Dossena, Fernandez.
Booked: Maggio, Cannavaro, Aronica, Inler.
Goals: Cavani 69.
Att: 44, 026
Ref: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).
Manchester City 3 Wigan Athletic 0
Aguero Treble Strike
Saturday 10th Sept 2011 : GYKO at the Etihad
Four straight wins, 15 goals, another hat-trick and a Champions
League debut around the corner, Manchester City seem to be short of
nothing except a new chief executive, and Garry Cook's shoes will
surely be filled quickly as the job description must rank as one of
the most attractive in the country.
Perhaps the only other thing City lack is a happy, smiling Carlos
Tevez, for the deposed captain failed feebly with a first-half
penalty here, and his second-half departure was the signal for City
to finally cut loose and score the goals they had been threatening
against a Wigan side clinging on more by good luck than sound
City left Edin Dzeko on the bench, a fine reward for his four-goal
haul at Spurs in his last league game, though Roberto Mancini does
have Napoli to think about on Wednesday. Tevez would not be thrilled
to be left out of the Champions League lineup, though the
possibility exists that Dzeko provides a more straightforward, less
complicated focus for the attack. Whatever permutation Mancini comes
up with, as long as they have David Silva to supply the mercurial
Sergio Agüero, City will cause problems for most opponents. Agüero
could hardly be denied the man-of-the-match award after scoring all
three goals, though Silva's performance was arguably the game's most
"Carlos Tevez is not at 100% fitness at the moment," Mancini said,
ominously. "He needed this game, it was important to play him and he
did well, but he will need maybe two or three more games to get back
to 100%. David Silva is a top player, but so is Sergio Agüero and
Yaya Touré. For them it is easy to play football. We could have made
this game easier for ourselves, I think we must have had 15 chances
in the first half and scored one goal, but now we can look forward
to Napoli. That will be another hard game, because the first game is
Wigan do not possess the sort of defenders who could easily cope
with Silva and Agüero's tricky control and imaginative passing, as
was shown when Adrian López unapologetically barged the former over
for the clearest of penalties mid-way through the first half. City
were already a goal up at that point, Tevez, Silva and Agüero having
combined for an early strike of elegant simplicity, and the way
Wigan were playing the floodgates appeared likely to open at any
moment. Yet in keeping with the careless manner in which the home
side completed the first half, as if they were finding it so easy
they could hardly be bothered to concentrate, Tevez stroked his
penalty tamely towards Ali al-Habsi and one goal was all that
separated the sides at the interval.
Silva had already had a shot saved and Vincent Kompany had seen a
goal-bound header bizarrely diverted over the bar by Joleon Lescott
before Agüero scored. Agüero was narrowly wide twice before
half-time but City should have increased their lead when Micah
Richards stayed onside to reach Tevez's perfectly weighted pass,
only to flick a shot against the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Kompany also hit the woodwork with a header from a corner and Yaya
Touré rolled the rebound right across the face of goal. As all Wigan
had to offer was a Franco Di Santo half chance that the striker
poked wide, the visitors must have been mightily relieved to begin
the second half still in the game.
Tevez and Agüero went close early in the second half but when Victor
Moses and Hugo Rodallega combined neatly on the hour for the latter
to force Joe Hart's first real save of the afternoon it was a
reminder that the game was not yet won. Mancini responded by sending
on Samir Nasri for Tevez, who while effective in parts had not
really combined with Silva and Agüero as devastatingly as might have
been hoped. Nasri underlined the point with his first contribution,
delicately slipping the ball forward to leave Agüero a simple finish
for the second goal.
That acted as a pressure release, and within minutes the superb
Silva was wrongfooting almost the entire Wigan defence and sending
Agüero through for City's second hat-trick in four matches.
"City have gone to a different level, they can be regarded as title
contenders now," a glum Wigan manager Roberto Martínez reflected. "I
think we could have been a little wiser, we were capable of causing
City a bit more trouble than we did, but mentally we were defeated
almost before the game began. We never believed we could get a
result here, against all City's big names, and that is
Martínez has a right to be disappointed, Wigan have not always been
overwhelmed or overawed against City in recent seasons, but the way
things are shaping up he is unlikely to be the only manager to come
here and suffer the same sense of frustration.
Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner,
Toure Yaya (Razak 80), Johnson, Silva, Aguero (Balotelli 71), Tevez
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Toure.
Goals: Aguero 13, 63, 69.
Wigan Al Habsi, Boyce (Stam 60), Caldwell, Lopez, Figueroa,
Rodallega, Diame, Watson (Crusat 70), McArthur, Moses, Di Santo
Subs Not Used: Kirkland, McCarthy, Sammon, Jones.
Att: 46, 509
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).