REPORT: LATICS 0 MAN CITY 2
A confident display from Wigan Athletic was met by goals from Mario Balotelli and James Milner as Manchester City ran out 2-0 winners in a game which saw Latics have large spells of possession and some clear-cut chances.
Roberto Martinez was forced into two changes as Adrian Lopez and Franco Di Santo stepped in for the injured pair of Ivan Ramis and Shaun Maloney.
Latics started the game strongly as they coolly played the ball around the pitch, waiting for an opening to show itself.
Ronnie Stam and Jean Beausejour caused the City full backs all sorts of problems with their direct wing play.
Stam created the best chance of the first half when he ran down the touchline from inside his own half, reaching the by-line and crossing to Arouna Kone.
The powerful Ivorian beat Joe Hart in their air as the England stopper came out to try and claim but, the ball nestled onto the roof of the net.
At the end of the first half Latics had a penalty claim turned down when Jordi Gomez went to ground in the box but, the Spaniard saw his cries waved away by referee Mark Halsey.
In the second half Kone had another great chance, this time much more clear-cut than his first.
James McCarthy received the ball from Ronnie Stam on the right side, before curling in a beautifully timed cross into the box.
Kone lost his marker and had just Hart to beat to make it 1-0 but, his header was directed wide from 10 yards out.
Latics huffed and puffed but the goal just wasn't coming and on 69 minutes City made them pay.
Gareth Barry was given space on the edge of the area to shoot and with the shot flying towards him Ali Al Habsi could only parry straight to Balotelli.
The Italian's first attempt was again saved but it fell to him again and with a second try he put the ball beyond Al Habsi and Beausejour on the line.
A three minute spell settled the game when James Milner netted the second on 72 minutes.
After neat build-up play in and around Latics' area the England midfielder was given too much space 25 yards from goal and let rip as he fired the ball past an outstretched Al Habsi.
Latics tried time and again to clinch a goal and force City in to a late panic but, their gallant efforts came to nothing despite the huge positives that Martinez can take from his teams performance.