Sunday 15 January 2012
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez says Manchester City will still be tough to beat when the sides meet on Monday, despite the Barclays Premier League leaders missing three key players.
City will be without Yaya and Kolo Toure, who are on Africa Cup of Nations duty, while defender Vincent Kompany is suspended.
But Martinez says City have the resources to cope with the absences.
"The football they played in the first third of the season was breathtaking."
- Roberto Martinez
"All the big teams can lose two or three players without being weakened and Manchester City are so strong, and they deserve the label of being title favourites because of what they have done in the first half of the season," said Martinez.
"The title race is going to be a really close affair. Spurs are up there and Manchester United with their experience and know-how are contenders but I think City are favourites.
"The football they played in the first third of the season was breathtaking and they have the strength to keep it going to the end of the season."
Manchester City, who are ahead of rivals Manchester United in the League table on goal difference, have suffered defeats in their last two games but first-team coach David Platt has dismissed suggestions of a crisis.
"No one expected us to continue winning games without having a difficult moment," said Platt.
"We can't accelerate the season by four months to see how it is going to turn out.
"But we are still in the Carling Cup semi-final and our players are quite capable of turning the situation around, and 19 clubs would like to be where we are in the championship.
"It is not a bad position to be in some crisis."