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Super Mario downs Wigan

Mario Balotelli opened his Premier League account for the season and James Milner lashed home a screamer as Manchester City remained hard on the heels of Manchester United with a 2-0 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Last Updated: 29/11/12 at 09:50 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli helped fire Man City to victory over Wigan

Mario Balotelli helped fire Man City to victory over Wigan

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Balotelli, who had earlier headed a glorious chance wide of the target, broke the deadlock in the 69th minute as he seized on a fumble from Ali Al Habsi following Gareth Barry's shot to rifle home at the second attempt.

And substitute Milner, who had only joined the fray just before the hour mark, made sure of the victory three minutes later as he arrowed an unstoppable effort into the top corner of the net from outside the area after Barry's square ball, only for the England midfielder's goalscoring cameo came to an unhappy end soon after as he limped out of the action and straight down the tunnel.

Aroune Kone had missed a great opportunity to give the home side the lead when the game was still locked at 0-0 and Wigan will feel the final score was harsh as they more than matched the visitors for long periods with Roberto Mancini's men looking short of inspiration and penetration until the breakthrough.

Wigan made two enforced changes as Adrian Lopez and Franco di Santo came in for Shaun Maloney and Ivan Ramis, while Balotelli returned to the City starting line-up for the first time in six matches.

Maicon and Javi Garcia also played as Mancini made three changes with Aleksandar Kolarov, Milner and Edin Dzeko dropping to the bench. Joleon Lescott was again left out of the squad.

There were early chances at both ends, with Kone firing straight at Joe Hart after being released by Di Santo, while Maicon lashed wide of Al Habsi's goal after rampaging from full-back into the Wigan area and being found by David Silva.

There was a moment of concern for City as Maicon went down in some distress after taking a ball in the throat from Di Santo, but the defender was able to continue after treatment and was a continual threat with his forward runs.

City were rarely testing Al Habsi and were grateful to see Vincent Kompany block Jean Beausejour's shot before Kone's near-post header after a superb surge down the right flank from Ronnie Stam went over the bar.

Jordi Gomez felt he should have a had a penalty as he went down under a challenge from behind by Pablo Zabaleta on the edge of the area as half-time approached but Mark Halsey was not interested, with the Wigan man booked soon after for a nasty and late challenge on Barry.

City then had an equally strong claim for a spot-kick waved away early in the second period as Stam was pulling Barry's shirt from his back at the far post as they battled for Yaya Toure's cross, but again referee Halsey gave nothing.

Balotelli and Kone then traded examples of how not to head the ball after being found by Maicon and James McCarthy, respectively, before the Italy international justified his place in the starting XI by breaking the deadlock and then celebrating with substitute Carlos Tevez, with Milner's rocket making the game safe soon after.

Wigan AthleticTeam StatisticsManchester City
0Goals2
01st Half Goals0
1Shots on Target6
5Shots off Target10
3Blocked Shots1
6Corners6
13Fouls13
1Offsides1
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
85.9Passing Success88.4
19Tackles21
73.7Tackles Success85.7
45.6Possession54.4
46Territorial Advantage54
411Total Passes502
28Total Crosses23
126Lost Balls119
52Recoveries56
43.61st Half Poss.56.4
46.52nd Half Poss.53.5

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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