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Rupert Wyman 28th Mar 2010 - 15:21

Mancini is feeling the strain

It has been a turbulent week, in many ways for Manchester City. Roberto Mancini has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association (FA) after his touchline clash during the midweek Everton match with David Moyes.

Mancini believed that Moyes was deliberately wasting time by holding the ball on the touchline. He barged into Moyes' in the final minutes of the 2-0 loss to Everton, in an attempt to grab the ball off the Scottish manager.

There was also a post match row in the boardroom and Bellamy's conduct is being looked into by City officials after the stormy game. He implied in the tunnel that Moyes' was in the right concerning the fracas. However, he could pick a fight and stir controversy in an empty room and probably saw it as another opportunity to cause controversy post Mark Hughes era.

For Mancini, not only must he contest an improper conduct charge but he must also cope with the rumours surrounding Mourinho's potential summer arrival at Eastlands.

Rumours have surfaced in the media that negotiations are already underway and Jose is known to be frustrated at the passionless Italian fans, empty stadia and media hostility towards him in Italy.

However, these revelations tend to surface whenever City struggle and were not uncommon in Mark Hughes' City reign. It is easy to ask, could it be the pressure from above at City that led to his unnecessary, ungentlemanly spat with Moyes?

The pressure is building on Mancini, as Tottenham are beginning to pull away in the titanic battle for fourth place. There is a prestigious place in the Champions League at stake and with it, his future at City. City have a game in hand on Spurs and sit five points behind them, so it is essential Mancini wins against Wigan.

On paper Wigan could be potential cannon fodder for Man City. However, they hold an element of surprise, Wigan have stunned Aston Villa, Liverpool and Chelsea this season. They are a Jekyll and Hyde side that perplex themselves at times.

They play possession football that can be enjoyable to watch, unless they are playing on a mud bath at the DW stadium.

Bellamy may play for City, but it depends on Mancini's feelings towards him. Emmanuel Adebayor has returned from a four-game suspension but Lescott, Petrov, Bridge and Johnson are all out injured.

N'Zogbia is not fully fit and unlikely to feature for Wigan, so Victor Moses could start.

Wigan are certainly on the up after that 1-0 defeat of Burnley last weekend and I believe their Premier League status is almost safe.

However, I fancy Man City to have the upper hand on Monday and the 13/8, for them to score in both halves is a fair price. If I was a Wigan fanatic, the signing of Gary Caldwell would not be a trump card, he was culpable for all four of Wigan's goals in a recent defeat to Bolton. Bolton's attack are not in the same league as the likes of Adebayor and Bellamy, Caldwell could be in for a frantic evening.

City know the importance of winning and after the loss to Everton, they will be focused on increasing this seasons goal tally and putting pressure on Tottenham. I fancy City to win but there is no value at 1/3 for the 90 minute victory. If I was to back City for the win, I would back them in the Match x Goals market, it is 11/5 for a Man City Win and Under 2.5 Goals. Neither team has scored many goals of late and the reverse fixture was 1-1 earlier this season.

It is unlikely City will lose back-to-back league games and Mancini may not belt Martinez at the end of the match. Money will prevail in this Manchester derby but as for the Manchester City PR bandwagon, it can only improve after a long, tedious and testing week for all involved.




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