Wigan v Manchester City: Red hot Aguero can strike early

Sergio Aguero has been in red hot form for Manchester City of late
Sergio Aguero has been in red hot form for Manchester City of late
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The final FA Cup tie of the weekend sees League One Wigan host Premier League champions elect Manchester City in a repeat of the 2013 final, a game in which the Latics produced a huge shock. Is Mike Norman backing a repeat on Monday night?

"Man City have scored within 15 minutes in three of their last five games and inside 22 minutes in all of those last five matches."

Back Sergio Aguero to score inside 15 minutes @ 15/2 (Odds Boost)

Wigan v Manchester City
Monday, 19:55
Live on BBC 1

Cook confident of a bold showing

Just under five years ago Wigan caused one of the greatest FA Cup Final shocks by beating Manchester City to lift the famous trophy. A similar result on Monday night against the same opposition would represent arguably one of the competition's biggest ever shocks.

Three days after their 2013 FA Cup success Wigan were relegated from the Premier League. Another relegation followed, and it's only now that the Latics are in a good place, currently second in the League One table with games in hand and red hot favourites to win promotion.

However, Paul Cook's men go into Monday night's home tie against the Citizens on the back of two consecutive defeats, a 3-1 loss to struggling Southend and a disappointing 0-2 home defeat to Blackpool. To make matters worse they will be without captain Sam Morsy (suspended), while Devante Cole, James Vaughan and Donervon Daniels are all cup-tied.

Cook is drawing inspiration from his side's home wins over Premier League outfits Bournemouth (3-0) and West Ham (2-0) in rounds three and four respectively, and is fully confident of a good showing against the best team in the country, saying this in his pre-match press conference, "Football has a funny way of sending out shock results and our belief on Monday night must be that we can win the game."

But make no bones about it, Wigan face a huge task.

Strong line-up expected as City chase the quadruple

The City bandwagon continues to roll, the quadruple is most definitely on. Pep Guardiola's men have an unassailable lead in the Premier League table, they've virtually booked their ticket into the quarter-finals of the Champions League following Tuesday night's 4-0 away win at Basel, and they don't play their next game - the EFL Cup final against Arsenal - until next Sunday.

That's all bad news for Wigan as it means Guardiola can give his full attention to Monday night's cup tie at the DW Stadium and I don't think any of us will be one bit surprised if he names a full strength starting XI.

Even the players who have recently returned, or could return, from injury and therefore could be given more game time - the likes of David Silva, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus for example - just add more strength. Jesus is unlikely to feature in this game however, but City don't have any fresh injuries and we should see a star-studded line-up.

The Citizens go into the game in excellent form too, winning six and drawing one of their seven games in all competitions since their only league defeat of the season. They've scored at least three goals (and 33 in total) in eight of their last 11 outings. Phenomenal.

Routine City win the obvious call

Manchester City are available to back at [1.17] to win the game, and with the expectation that Guardiola will name a strong side then that's a completely fair price.

Wigan are enjoying a fabulous season, eliminating two Premier League clubs from this competition and recently going on a 16-game unbeaten run. And former Manchester United midfielder Nick Powell - 12 goals to his name this term - would love nothing more than to beat City. But with inspirational caption Sam Morsy missing, plus the huge gulf in class, then quotes of around [24.0] tell you all you need to know about the prospects of seeing a home victory.

This is a no-bet market for me to be perfectly honest, for the simple reason that I can't see anything other than a Manchester City win, and that I'm not in the habit of putting up [1.17] shots.

You can enhance those win odds however by backing Man City/Man City in the Half Time/Full Time market at around the [1.7] mark come kick-off, and/or by backing Man City -2 on the handicap at 6/5 (Sportsbook).

Take a punt on Aguero remaining hot

It's always difficult to put up bets when you fancy a team to win comfortably; correct score wagers are difficult to nail down so backing teams on the handicap is my preferred choice, so we'll go with the Man City -2 bet. But the Sportsbook have some interesting odds boosts, and the one that I like the most revolves around Sergio Aguero.

Should he start - and I don't see why he won't - then we can back him at 15/2 (boosted from 6/1) to score within the first 15 minutes. I think that's worth a punt.

The brilliant striker is arguably in the form of his life, scoring 14 goals in his last 11 appearances, and with City in such blistering form and capable of getting on the scoresheet early - they've scored within 15 minutes in three of their last five games and inside 22 minutes in all of those last five matches - then I can see this bet giving us a good run for our money.

Another bet that catches my eye on the Sportsbook is for Man City to score a goal and have at least three corners in each half at 2/1 (listed in the #OddsOnThat market).

Guardiola's men should be dominant in this match and Wigan will be defending for long periods. Shots and crosses will be blocked and saved, hopefully resulting in enough corners to land that part of the bet, and I just can't envisage City getting on the scoresheet at least three or four times - fingers crossed for at least one in each half.

Mike's Individual Match Preview P/L (all competitions)

Staked: 41 pts
Returned: 61.26 pts
P/L: +20.26 pts

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