Premier League champions Manchester City travel to the DW Stadium to play Wigan Athletic in a midweek Premier League match, after a dour goalless draw in the weekend game - a high-profile clash against Rafael Benitez's Chelsea. Wigan, meanwhile will prepare to face the champions on the back of a thrilling 3-2 home win over Reading.
The points table after Tuesday's fixtures shows Roberto Mancini's side second, with 29 points from 13 games and only one behind leaders Manchester United. Roberto Martinez's side, meanwhile, are struggling in the 15th, with only 14 points from 13 games and three points outside the relegation zone.
The same fixture last season, played in January, resulted in a narrow win for the visitors, with Bosnian international Edin Dzeko scoring an early goal.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 8 pm GMT and live coverage starts a half-hour early, on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2.
Wigan rode on a superb hat-trick from Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez to beat the Royals over the weekend. The win was only the third in the last eight games for Martinez; a run that includes a defeat, on penalties, to Bradford City in a Capital One Cup tie. All in all, the Latics have won only four league games this season and lost seven others... a run of form that is only marginally improved at home, with two wins and three defeats in seven games.
It won't help the manager (linked strongly with a move to Liverpool at the start of the season) that the club is in the midst of an injury crisis, with up to three centre backs likely to be unavailable for the City game. The 39 year old Spanish manager pulled off a fabulous escape from relegation last season, winning five of the last seven games, including a 1-0 win over Manchester United at home and a win over Arsenal at the Emirates. And unless their form improves dramatically right now, Martinez may have to rely on a similar miraculous run from March or April, to ensure another season in the Premier League.
City, meanwhile, have had a topsy-turvy season. Domestically, they have been as champions should, unbeatable. In fact, Mancini's men are the only side to remain unbeaten in the league so far and that is an impressive feat, considering cross-town rivals United have already lost thrice and European champions Chelsea twice. And, on paper, Wigan are hardly likely to change that fact.
In Europe, however, the Premier League club's shortcomings have been exposed. They may have been drawn in a tough group - containing Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, champions of Spain, Holland and Germany respectively - but to be in danger of finishing at the bottom, without a win and one of the worst group stage records this season, is catastrophic.
City need to keep winning strongly in the Premier League to keep pressure of Mancini. The goalless draw at Stamford Bridge was a pragmatic performance that succeeded in its aim - to not lose the match. However, far more attacking flair will be expected against Wigan.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W L L W L
- Last Match: Wigan 3 - 2 Reading
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D W W D
- Last Match: Chelsea 0 - Manchester City
Wigan have major defensive problems ahead of this game, with central defenders Ivan Ramis, Gary Caldwell and Antolin Alcaraz all facing fitness battles. Caldwell may be passed fit to play, after undergoing late tests but his participation is by no means confirmed.
Martinez may be forced to return to a three-man central defence of Maynor Figueroa, Adrian Lopez and Emmerson Boyce, as used in the win over Reading.
The Latics also saw attacking midfielder Shaun Maloney limp off the field against Reading and Martinez has since confirmed the injury may keep the 29 year old Scot on the sidelines for quite some time.
On-loan Japanese midfielder Ryo Miyaichi is another player who faces tests before being passed to play, with the 19 year old injuring his ankle in the Latics' 3-0 defeat at Anfield.
The good news for the hosts in midfielder James McArthur is ready for action, after a dead leg. He played a few minutes as a substitute in the win over Reading.
Other injured players are midfielders Albert Crusat and Ben Watson.
Probable Line-Up: Al-Habsi; Figueroa, Lopez, Stam, Boyce; McCarthy, McArthur, Jones, Gomez; Di Santo, Kone
The good news for City is club captain Vincent Kompany will play. The Belgian international left last week's midweek fixture - a Champions League home tie against Real Madrid - on crutches but managed to play the full 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge to allay any fears over a long-term injury.
The bad news for Mancini is French international Gael Clichy is unlikely to recover from an ankle injury in time for this game, or indeed, before mid-December, ruling him out of the crucial final Champions League group stage tie in Germany, against Dortmund.
Other injuries include England right back Micah Richards and midfielder Jack Rodwell.
Expect Mancini to rotate his large squad as the traditional pile-up of fixtures that is the holiday season in English football begins. City will play seven games in December, with the luxury of a week-long break only once.
Probable Line-Up: Hart; Zabaleta; Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Javi Garcia, Y Toure; Nasri, Tevez, Balotelli; Agüero
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