Manchester City’s bid for a historic quadruple rolls into Wigan for Monday’s FA Cup fifth round tie, with avenging a shock defeat to the Latics in the 2013 final also in mind.
Pep Guardiola’s side have blown away any suggestion injuries and fatigue could derail their quest to win the Premier League, Champions League, League and FA Cup by scoring nine goals in their last two matches.
A 5-1 victory over Leicester last weekend extended City’s lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points, and that was followed on Tuesday with a 4-0 victory at Basel in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
Even more good news for Guardiola in Switzerland was the return from injury of Leroy Sane, David Silva and Fabian Delph.
Silva’s substitute appearance was proof that he is over a hip problem, while England utility player Delph, a midfielder used largely as a left-back by his club this season, made his return after six matches out with a knee injury.
Sane’s reappearance as a second-half substitute came well ahead of schedule as ankle ligament damage suffered in City’s last FA Cup outing at Cardiff on January 28 was expected to keep the German out for six weeks.
City can deliver the first trophy of Guardiola’s reign in charge next Sunday against Arsenal in the League Cup final.
However, Guardiola has warned against complacency at League One promotion chasers Wigan, who have beaten two Premier League sides in Bournemouth and West Ham to get to this stage.
“Of course I am concerned because I saw the game against Bournemouth,” Guardiola said. “Bournemouth are one of the teams I like to watch the most in the Premier League and Wigan were able to beat them.
“I think in the FA Cup there are a lot of surprises, not just this season or previous seasons, but all throughout history you always have these kind of situations happening.
“It would be good for my players not to think too much of the final next Sunday; they think about the final next Monday.”
Wigan were relegated from the Premier League four days after upsetting City to win the FA Cup with a Ben Watson goal in 2013, and have endured a turbulent five years since, with two further relegations and a promotion.
Paul Cook’s side have led League One for most of the season, but ceded first place to Shrewsbury after successive defeats against Southend and Blackpool.
Wigan do pose an attacking threat, though, thanks to former Manchester United forward Nick Powell and Northern Ireland international Will Grigg, who have 27 goals between them this season. It was Grigg who scored twice as West Ham were beaten 2-0 in round four.
“Football has a funny way of sending out shock results and our belief on Monday night must be that we can win the game,” said Cook.