Date: 30th March 2010 at 7:01pm
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On Monday evening Wigan Athletic travelled 15 miles up the East Lancashire Road to Eastlands where they faced Manchester City in a game that was televised on ESPN, any way prior to the meeting of the two North West clubs Vital Latics and Vital City got together for a quick brew, half a packet of chocolate hobnobs and chat about the two teams and the season in general, in one chair we have worbo from the Latics and in the other, with his hand firmly in the hobnobs we have Tom Birtwistle City, from lets see how it all went:

worbo – Hi Tom, I hope all is well, you lot haven`t had a bad season so far but what happened the other night with Everton?

Tom – Thanks, we were hopefully trying to forget the result last Wednesday and were trying to put that firmly behind us. I felt Everton were well drilled and organised and put their chances away on what was a disappointing night game. Any positives from the game was that Carlos looked in top form again and we put them under a lot of pressure. However, we just couldn’t cut the mustard.

worbo – I see that Mancini has got himself into trouble with the FA for showing a bit of passion after his ‘bumping` into Moyes on the touchline, the Everton boss in all fairness just brushed the incident off but it obviously means something to your manager and I thought it was good to see him displaying his feelings, he also wears his City scarf at most interviews after games, I thought that was just a gimmick but again its good to see, what are your thoughts on the two points I`ve brought up there?

Tom – I’m shocked and saddened that our manager has been reprimanded, but that’s the flimsy FA for you. In fairness, Moyes responded well after the game and he was right in his comments. As everyone will know we are very passionate about our club here, so in my opinion Mancini’s scarf wearing is excellent, it show’s his own passion and determination to do well for the club, something that has become rare in the modern day.

worbo – At Wigan we`ve got our own Roberto in Martinez, I believe he is building something special at the Latics but needs to be given time to achieve his ambitions for the club, some fans though are a little impatient or just don`t like what he is doing and there have been some signs of discontent amongst a small section of supporters, how as Mancini gone down with the City fans and do you think he will be at City for the long haul?

Tom – Most fans, myself excluded, wanted too see the back of Hughes so a new manager was appreciated, however, when we sealed the deal i think a few were left a bit disappointed we hadn’t gone for Hiddink/Mourinho etc. Then he started very admirably and got us playing some good football as well as steadying the ship at the back. Since then he has been criticised and in some circumstances rightly so, we struggle to set high tempo’s at the beginning of most games, but as we saw in the demolition of Chelsea we do it have it in us. At the moment i’d say it’s more positive to Mancini and he really has a tough job to pull off if we are going to get in the top 4. As for his contract that was a huge debating point, was it 6 months 3 years or 3 years 6 months. There is a hint of sympathy for Mancini because i don’t think many believe he will be around at the end of the season, however, where do we find a new manager that could take us where we wanted? I think we have to just let him have a go, have it his way and let him make his own mark on the situation rather than jumping the gun.

worbo – This season we have witnessed the emergence of Charles N`Zogbia as a fantastic talent, he has been electrifying at times and opposing clubs have struggled to cope with him this season also Hugo Rodallega has made his mark on the Premier League and he`s scored some really important goals for us but I suppose you have probably heard of both and are aware of their threat.

Now we have another emerging young player who has just broken through into the first team that you might not have heard of James McCarthy, he is just 20 but don`t let his youth fool you, he plays with a maturity that belittles his age, he`s full of energy and a super talent, observers have likened him to a young Steven Gerrard and they`re not far wrong.

Who in the City side has been good for you this season and which unsung hero should we look out for?

Tom – Obviously Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy have been grabbing all the headlines and rightly so. Them two have been potent, a real difficult test for the opposition and Carlos’s goal return is outstanding. Bellamy, i’m more surprised with, i didn’t feel he would have much luck this year with all the players who looked to be ahead of him, but i have great respect for his work ethic and determination and it looks like his pre-season training has paid off. There are also some great players who many outside the club don’t give credit to. Vincent Kompany and Nidel De Jong have been outstanding all season and were two excellent pieces of businesses from Hamburg (our feeder club). Consistency is what you will get from these four and long may that continue.

I also feel Zabaleta is very under-rated and deserves more credit for his determination and ability, i feel he has also helped Tev.

worbo – For us staying up this year with all the changes at the club would be a great season, to be honest I think we will easily achieve this, next season though I expect us to push on and challenge for the top half, maybe even flirt with the Euro places and have a good cup run. What would you consider to be a successful season for City, does it have to be 4th or would you settle for top 6 with a challenge for the title promised for next year?

Tom – I think for Hughes to be sacked with us 6th shows our ambition. We’re not happy around there, we want the top four and with the money spent i think we probably deserve a return from it. Who knows next year, we must not flaunt money non-stop and expect a sudden return. I feel we have spent the bulk and a few sound, well considered acquisitions are all we need. If we improve on this season we should be reaching top four again, but more consistency against the lesser teams is needed.

worbo – After seeing what`s happened at Portsmouth do you worry in case your current owners jump ship and leave you in financial trouble?

Tom – At times i do wonder where we would be without them and what would happen if they disappeared. I don’t think we need to worry too much about our position if they left because we are in no debt and thankfully Sheikh Mansour and his people have helped dramatically. The only money impact would be the wages at the moment, is there going to be a wage cap? who knows, eh. But, as far as were concerned, as sad as it is for the Pompey faithful, we won’t go that way.

worbo – I have a feeling that Arsenal may just sneak the title this season, they seem to have the easier run in of the top three at the moment, 4th spot is a little difficult to call bit City could snatch it, so I`ll go for Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea, City

The bottom is a little easier and I think it will be an as you are scenario with the current bottom three all going down, Pompey, Burnley and Hull

How do you see the top four finishing up Tom, will your big mates from Old Trafford win the title and who do you see getting relegated?

Tom – Sadly I do feel United will win the title. They never fail to disappoint us and continue even though there not as strong as they used to be. There game against Chelsea at home is pivotal and a feel they will have too much for the team we did the double over. I then feel Chelsea will finish runners up with Arsenal third. The top four debate is certainly a tough one to call, i feel it is now between us, Spuds and Liverpool. Hopefully we will get it but in a pessimistic way i see Spuds just clinching it.

My mind has been firmly been made up on the bottom three for a long long time. I think the teams in there now, as you rightly say, are too weak to stay in the Premier League. West Ham could possibly go down as there in desperate need of points, but as i see it, it will remain the same.

worbo – Right then lets get down to some predictions, I hope you are having a little sticky patch, I don`t want us to be catching you on the rebound of the Everton result, so I am going for a repeat of the score line at the DW Stadium earlier this season 1-1, how do you see it Tom?

Tom – We certainly need a big win to shake off Wednesday’s defeat and no offence but i’m delighted we have this fixture. I’ve gone for 4-0 Gareth Barry last goal, with Tev and Bellers too nip 1 or 2.

Match prediction was taking before the fixture and i’m gutted he didn’t bring Barry on at the end to secure me £100. Never mind, a win is a win and thanks to Worbo for his excellent in depth questions.


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