This was just the type of match City needed to welcome the boys from international duty and sandwich between that and the first foray into the Champions League against Napoli on Wednesday.
Mancini rang in a couple of changes which included leaving in-form striker Edin Dzeko on the bench along with new-boy Nasri.
Tevez was restored to attack as he didn’t have to play in midweek and Milner started in midfield in place of Barry, Johnson standing in for Nasri.
From minute one this match had ‘cricket score’ written all over it as City took command of the ball with a series of passes and moves that would not have looked out of place in the Camp Nou. Early chances came and went with Tevez going close together with Kompany and Lescott. Johnson could have opened the scoring in almost the first attack but his attempt at the delicious fell a bit flat when it stuck to the ceiling.
After 13 minutes, enter the maestros. Silva to Tevez, he toiled his way past a couple of defenders, ball back inside to Silva was passed it on to Aguero. There was a meat and potato pie wall between him and the goals. He created himself some space got sight of the goal, before squeezing an exquisite shot into the bottom corner across the keeper.
Immediately on the attack again the unplayable Silva popped up on the right, took on the defense and was promptly chopped down, penalty.
So Tevez’s big opportunity to get on the scoresheet. We will recall that last season his new style run up caused him to miss two. Same run up same outcome. Although the shot was tame and he probably scuffed it, Al Habsi was almost on the six yard line before using his gigantic frame to save inside the post.
City were in irresistable form, but they did allow a game Wigan side into the match and a couple of chances fell their way. Moses looked dangerous, although at times well marshalled by Clichy. Rodallega is a known threat and could have generated blushes for the Blues had he been more productive with an excellent opportunity.
With the South Stand bar rattling from Richards miss and the post from Kompany’s miss and Lescott having assisted Wigan with an unprompted goal line clearance from a Kompany effort it was somewhat surprising that Wigan were still in touch at only 0-1 at half time.
So it was vital that City came out for the second half on the front foot and they duly did. Continuing to produce football of top quality all of which involved Silva (how long have we been saying that now?), the Blues continued to search for the next opening. Moses and Rodallega were still issuing reminders at our end, but when the second goal came, just after the hour it was a joy to behold.
Nasri had just replaced Tevez when Clichy made a marauding run down the left, taking on two Wigan defenders. He played the ball in to Nasri who brought in Yaya. Silva showed, back to Nasri and through into the inside left channel and Aguero was clean through. He had time to check with the linesman, drew the keeper and slotted the ball inches inside the far post.
Six minutes later a similar combination started with Aguero finding Yaya and him finding Silva on the half way line, but surrounded by three men. A jink here, a dropped shoulder there, clever use of the outside of the foot and he was off. Once again there was space in the inside left slot and once again Silva spotted Aguero’s clever delayed run and once again Silva delivered the football right on time and right on the pennies. Once again Aguero drew the keeper and once again he slotted it inside the far post. 3-0.
And it could have gone on from there. But it didn’t and Aguero was given his ovation as the game closed out when Mancini sent on Balotelli who could have scored himself had he been more active and followed in a cross from the right. If he is to make any progress this season he has got to have the work ethic to get on the end of those passes, especially when they are in striker territory.
As I said after this fixture last season, I am pleased that Roberto Martinez, a very engaging young manager, has not sacrificed his footballing beliefs and sends out his team to play football. He has some good players at Wigan and they have probably come a long way in footballing terms, much further than when Bruce was there and his attitude was to prevent the opposition from playing by brute (or Bruce) force. It was his teams that intimidated City and it was his teams that City just couldn’t beat. This has now turned, to the detriment of Wigan in this instance as far as the result was concerned, but their fans must be enjoying the brand of football being played.
Today showed that they might have won 2-1 or lost 10-0, but at least they showed and tried to play.
City were simply delicious. Players that were short-changing us last season like Milner, Richards and Johnson have started to step up. Richards is in the best vein of form ever, Milner had started to understand the importance of playing well at every opportunity and Johnson has started to look as though he has some appetite, although there is still some tuning to be done there. He could have had a hat trick himself in this match had he been more deadly then indulgent.
The back four do still allow chances especially when no-one challenged Moses who in turn set up Rodallega with an acceptable chance that wasn’t taken. No doubt this will be tightened especially with Kolo back in the fold and itching to get in on the fun alongside his brother.
But this City team looks potent. It looks as though it can score every time they get the ball. It looks as though they know that. Dare I say it, it looks as if they know that they have gelled.
There will be sterner examinations than Wigan no doubt starting on Wednesday and indeed at our banana-skin fixture next week against Fulham, but this squad looks capable of taking the club to a different horizon and I’m sure that our blue-tinted spectacles are starting to see trophies coming into focus.
We are witnessing football that we have never before seen at Manchester City. The new Etihad era is delivering us a new era in the football being played. Mancini has let his dogs off the leash and we can hardly believe what we are seeing. The stadium was full except for the unsold tickets in the away section and it will be full again on Wednesday when Napoli come to town.
Similar performance? Similar result? Yes please!!
all times GMT+1
We 14 September 19:45 Napoli, The Etihad, CLGS1
*Su 18 Sep 15:00 Fulham, Craven Cottage, PL
We 21 Sep 19:45 Birmingham, The Etihad, LC3
Sa 24 Sep 12:45 Everton, The Etihad, PL
Tu 27 September 19:45 Bayern Munich, Allianz Arena,
* Date Change
VMC ON YOUTWITFACE:
VMC is now available on both Facebook and Twitter, so if you are that way inclined and more importantly understand all this new fangled dangled stuff, feel free to watch us, poke us or whatever else you are meant to do there!
It’s easy to REGISTER HERE, simply click the link and enjoy getting involved!