12th Man – Dreamland

Pitch Invasion v City

DW Stadium pitch invasion after a famous FA Cup victory. Photograph by Michael Feeney.

Am I dreaming or did Latics really knock Manchester City out of the FA Cup?

It is still hard to believe that City’s quadruple chasing team were beaten by League One Latics. The Premier League Champions elect have had an amazing season so far and they looked destined for all the major trophies.

The FA Cup favourites came into the game expecting to progress into the quarter-finals but they came up against their nemesis in Wigan Athletic.

Latics have now incredibly beaten City on three successive occasions in the FA Cup, first winning the trophy in the final in 2013, then quarter-final in 2014 and now in the fifth-round in 2018.

The enormity of the achievement is given perspective when you consider the statistics about Manchester City.

City will confirm the Premier League title in the next few weeks; they are in the League Cup final on Sunday and have practically qualified for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after beating FC Basel 4-0 in the first leg.

They have scored a remarkable 114 goals in all competitions this season.

City are the fifth richest club in world football with a turnover of £453.5m.

The current squad is estimated at costing over £770m. They have some of the highest rated and most costly players in world football with Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, Kyle Walker, Danilo, John Stones and the list goes on.

City have broken and set several new club and English football records during this season. They established national records in consecutive away (11) and overall (20) victories in all competitions; set a new English record for consecutive league wins (18); equalled the Premier League record for consecutive away league wins (11).

They set club records by achieving 28 consecutive games unbeaten in all competitions; 30 consecutive games unbeaten in the league; and 19 consecutive home wins in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola is one of the best manager’s in world football but on the night he was outwitted by Paul Cook and his coaching team.

Given the current discrepancy in resources and the level of the two teams at the time of the game, it is surely the greatest FA Cup shock of all time.

The result will give hope to other smaller clubs that they can defy the odds and achieve something amazing. It was a night of superlatives and those who experienced it will never forget it for the rest of their lives.

Latics may have ridden their luck at times but it was an awesome effort by the team. Immense concentration was required as they had to defend in depth and make some great blocks, last ditch tackles, and there were a couple of excellent saves from Christian Walton.

Paul Cook prepared his players psychologically and tactically to perfection. Despite all the hype around City, he got the message across that City’s players were in fact only human and could be beaten.

Overall Cook’s team showed great spirit, work ethic and a determination to win. That spirit and determination was epitomised by striker Will Grigg who despite having only two chances in the whole game was able to execute a superb finish to deliver the knock out blow and send Latics into dreamland.

This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 23rd February 2018.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in FA Cup, Manchester City, Wigan Athletic, Will Grigg and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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