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FA Cup

Here’s a look at the list of the candidates who have been nominated for this year’s awards.

The next player on this list is Ivorian striking legend Didier Drogba

The winner of the award has to be above the age of 28 and still playing. Awarded for a footballer’s outstanding sporting achievements, the winner gets to leave his footprints on the Champions Promenade overlooking the seafront at the Principality of Monaco. Just like the Hollywood walk of fame, only slightly less cool.

Liverpool v Chelsea - FA Cup Final

Full name: Didier Yves Drogba Tebily

DOB: 11 March 1978

Clubs: Levallois, Le Mans, Guingamp, Marseille, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua, Galatasaray

Why has he been included on this list?

Didier Drogba is the perfect example of the rags-to-riches African footballer story that the world has come to idolise and respect.

Most African footballers who make it to the big leagues come from very humble backgrounds. Impoverished parents and a large family to provide for means taking care of your loved ones comes first.

Drogba has beaten the odds and followed his passion. He is the embodiment of dedication, perseverance and hard work, having made it to the top and staying there for the majority of his career. At one point one of the best strikers in the world, he is feared by defenders all over the world for his penchant to create goals out of nothing, his power, his physical presence and his dedication.

At 35, he is still considered to be an influential striker who can turn a game on its head.

What has he won?

Drogba will most be remembered for his time at Chelsea for helping them lift their very first Champions League title at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich in 2012.

Drogba with the Champions League trophy

Drogba with the Champions League trophy

But that is just the icing on the cake of his career at Chelsea, with whom he won a plethora of trophies including three Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two League Cups and two Community Shields, all of which he had a major hand in.

He also won the Turkish Super Lig with Galatasaray in 2012 after joining them from Shanghai.

He has unfortunately never won a title with his country and time could be running out for the 25-year-old, who will definitely soon call time on his playing career.

He had 29 individual awards to his name including the African Footballer of the Year, the Premier League Golden Boot, the Onze d’Or and a Man of the Match award for his performance in the Champions League final in 2012.

Best and Worst moments

In the 2008 Champions League final, three minutes from penalties, Drogba was sent off for slapping Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic. His team went on to lose the game 6-5 on penalties.

He more than redeemed himself however when he powered home his team’s equaliser in the dying minutes of regular time at the Allianz last year after Thomas Muller had scored for Bayern and then converted the penalty that would see the Champions League Cup move to Stamford Bridge.

On the international scene, Drogba captained the Elephants to two separate African Cup finals in 2006 and 2012.

In 2006, His penalty was saved by Egypt goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadary as the Pharaohs won 4-2 on penalties. Six years later, he would face the same fate at the hands of surprise winners Zambia.

What’s he like off the pitch?

Drogba is internationally known for being a global ambassador for human rights, promoting the issue through the game.

His nation had been long engaged in a civil war for five years, but after the Ivorians had qualified for the World Cup in 2006, he sent an appeal to both sides to stop fighting. Shortly afterwards, both sides agreed to a ceasefire and moved an African Nations Cup to the rebel stronghold of Bouake, which was a confirmation of the start of the peace process.

His involvement in the process led him to be drafted into the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Committee to restore peace to his homeland.

In 2007, he was named a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. His charitable acts have had him named as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2010.

Drogba has a charitable organisation called the Didier Drogba Foundation that raises funds for construction and welfare projects in Africa. In 2009, he donated £3 million – his signing on fee for endorsing Pepsi – to his foundation for the construction of a hospital in the capital of his nation, Abidjan.

The Drog was also one of the Olympic Torch bearers when the sacred flame was travelling around Great Britain. He carried it through the town of Swindon.

On the 31st of October, he was named Chelsea’s greatest player by the club’s fans.

Could he win the Golden Foot?

Drogba is a model sportsman, one who has shown selflessness and dedication both on and off the pitch.

They say actions speak louder than words and Didier Drogba’s actions have surely made him one of the favourites to win the award. And having his footprints on the Promenade of Champions in Monaco would show just how far African football has come.

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– By Faisal Chishti

At the final whistle of yesterday’s game between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic, the dejected Latics got the tag which they would have never wanted – the first club in the history of English football to have won the FA Cup and get relegated in the same season. And suddenly, everyone feels some kind of sympathy for a club like Wigan, who have fought hard for so long with limited resources, only to go down just four days after winning the FA Cup.

Wigan’s decline in recent times was perhaps inevitable as they, by no means, are a big club and they have always fought hard for their place in the Premier League which certainly makes them one of the most memorable and notable clubs of the Premier League era.

Wigan Athletic earned their first ever promotion to the Premier League in 2005 when they beat Reading 3-1 in front of their home fans at the JJB Stadium. They played their first ever Premier League game against Chelsea which they lost 1-0 and went on to finish the season in the 10th place, which remains the club’s highest ever league placing.

The next season saw Wigan’s fortune drop a bit as they suffered eight consecutive losses in the Premier League, but the club managed to finish the season in the 15th place after they beat Sheffield United 2-1 on the final day of the season. The coming years had some ups and downs as Wigan suffered a humiliating 9-1 loss at the White Hart Lane in 2009 but a subsequent 1-0 win against Liverpool and a 3-2 win against Arsenal made Wigan’s intent clear as they kept battling for Premier League survival.

The Latics left the world stunned after they beat the previous year Premier League Champions’ Manchester City with a goal in the dying minutes of the game in the biggest FA Cup final upset in 25 years. Wigan will be not be forgotten after relegation anytime soon, as most of us expect them to climb up again.

– By Faisal Chishti

Wigan Athletic’s Ben Watson, who had come on as a substitute, stunned Manchester City with a goal in the dying minutes of the game to give his team a thrilling 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the biggest FA Cup final upset in 25 years.

1. Callum McManaman

The 22 year old put forward a superb performance as City failed to handle his movement throughout the game. He looked dangerous every time he got the ball and he induced Zabaleta in to a wreck-less challenge which saw the Argentine being sent off.

2. Martinez got his tactics right

Manchester City are one of the most attacking teams in the premier league and Martinez had decided to start with a 3-5-2 formation, a decision which proved to be correct. City love to play in the centre of the pitch and they never find enough width unless Milner is playing. Surprisingly, Tevez was removed in the second half while the Wigan boss brought on Ben Watson, who scored the winner in the injury time.

3. Ben Watson

Ben Watson has an exemplary FA Cup story as he missed out half of the season due to a broken leg. Watson came on as a substitute in the 81st minute and it was his brilliant header from Shaun Maloney’s corner that led to the winner in the dying minutes of the game.

4. $12million vs $250million

Roberto Martinez led a $12million team to success against one of the richest football clubs in the whole world. Players like Roger Espinoza, who has arrived to Wigan on a free transfer, got the better of Pablo Zabaleta until the Argentine was sent off.

5. Momentum

Manchester City might be done with their season but Wigan have still got some major work to do. They have two games left, and they need at least 3 points to secure a place in the premier league. They have to face Arsenal at the Emirates and then they face Aston Villa at home.

– By Faisal Chishti

Manchester City

Joe Hart (6/10): The City ‘keeper didn’t have much to do despite Wigan threatening throughout the game until a Watson’s injury time winner.

Pablo Zabaleta (4/10): Zabaleta was sent off in the second half after he got a second yellow for a reckless challenge on McManaman.

Vincent Kompany (6/10): The City captain put a good performance overall and blocked a few attempts from opposition well.

Matija Nastasic (6/10): Nastasic had a good game in the central defence as he took good positions at the back.

Gael Clichy (5/10): The Frenchman was troubled defensively throughout the game and hardly got forward.

Gareth Barry (6/10): A good performance in front of the back four but missed a good chance to score in the first half.

Yaya Toure (5/10): The Ivorian had a pretty quiet afternoon and his authority was fading as Wigan started having more possession.

David Silva (6/10): Set up Tevez brilliantly with a wonderful pass but didn’t do enough to open up the Wigan defence.

Sergio Aguero (5/10): The Argentinian put forward a quiet performance behind Tevez and never really had a real attempt on goal.

Samir Nasri (5/10): He was replaced by Milner in the 54th minute a lustreless first-half performance.

Carlos Tevez (6/10): Tevez created some problems for Wigan by creating some space but was let down by his poor finishing.

Substitutes

James Milner came on for Nasri early in the second half but he didn’t have much of an impact on the game. Jack Rodwell came on for Tevez and was beaten by Watson for the injury-time winner. Edin Dzeko came on very late after Wigan had scored but he did not get to touch the ball.

Wigan Athletic

Joel Robles (8/10): The Wigan ‘keeper put forward a good performance as he made some excellent stops throughout the game.

Emmerson Boyce (6/10): The captain looked sluggish but worked hard in battling at the back.

Paul Scharner (6/10): Looked strong as he covered Alcaraz and Boyce with some crucial interceptions.

Antolin Alcaraz (6/10): The Paraguayan centre-back put forward a solid performance as he stuck to Aguero and didn’t allow him any space.

James McCarthy (7/10): He was full of energy throughout the game and looked dangerous in the counter-attacks.

Jordi Gomez (6/10): Showed some moments of quality and didn’t allow City to overrun Wigan’s midfield in the first half.

James McArthur (7/10): McArthur put forward a good performance with some neat passes and gave away the ball very rarely.

Roger Espinoza (6/10): He offered some good balance on the left but the Honduran appeared to tire a bit as the game went on.

Callum McManaman (9/10): McManaman put forward a superb performance as City failed to handle his movement throughout the game.

Arouna Kone (6/10): Posed a regular threat to City with his pace in the first half but faded a bit as the game went on.

Shaun Maloney (7/10): Playing behind Kone, always caused problems from set-pieces and provided the corner for the late winner.

Substitutes

Ben Watson was bought in by Roberto Martinez in the 81st minute and then he produced a brilliant header for his match-winning goal in the dying minutes of the game.

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-By Nishit Nakar

Wigan will have their hands full when they take on big-money spenders Manchester City in their first-ever FA Cup final at Wembley. Heading on to this match, City are the clear favourites though, having not lost to the Latics since September 2008.

Having already lost the league title to arch-rivals Manchester United, they will be keen to win some form of silverware this season. Both managers will want to end season on a high with speculation surrounding Roberto Mancini’s as well as Roberto Martinez’s future at their respective clubs.

Stats that matter

The winning club will receive £1.8m and the runners-up £900,000.

The teams have only met twice before in the history of FA Cup, with City winning both games 1-0. The first match was a third round fixture at home in 1971, and the other in 2006, when City won a Fourth Round tie.

This will be City’s 10th appearance in FA Cup final; they have won it five times in their previous nine attempts.

In the last 25 meeting between the two clubs, Manchester City have won 14, drawn five and lost six matches.

This will be Wigan’s first-ever appearance in an FA Cup final. The last team to win the FA cup in their first final was Wimbledon way back in 1988.

Only Chelsea, who were beaten by City, with 17 goals, can better City’s tally of 15 goals in the FA Cup this season.

Manchester City have only conceded once on their way to Wembley this season.

Carlos Tevez has scored seven goals in 12 appearances against Wigan.

Jordi Gomez has scored three and assisted three goals for Wigan in the FA Cup this season.

No club has ever won the FA Cup and been relegated from the top division in the same season, but five clubs have reached the final and been relegated to the second tier: Manchester City (1926), Leicester (1969), Brighton (1983), Middlesbrough (1997) and Portsmouth (2010)

Who will win the coveted trophy?

-By Gautam Vishwanathan 

Today afternoon’s FA Cup clash sees a typical David versus Goliath match-up at Wembley Stadium. Manchester City, with Champions League qualification already in the bag, are in second place in the Barclays Premier League table.

Wigan, on the other hand, are engaged in a relegation dogfight and are eighteenth in the table. Currently three points from safety, they have two games to assure themselves another season the the EPL.

Form

Manchester City: WDWLW

07/05/2013: West Bromwich Albion, 1-0 (H), Barclays Premier League

04/05/2013: Swansea City, 0-0 (A), Barclays Premier League

27/04/2013: West Ham United, 2-1 (H), Barclays Premier League

21/04/2013: Tottenham Hotspur, 1-3 (A), Barclays Premier League

17/04/2013: Wigan Athletic, 1-0 (H), Barclays Premier League

For the talent that Manchester City have at their disposal, their recent form is slightly worrisome. What seems to be lacking throughout the season is a lack of desire to win, and that has only intensified since they now know that second place is as good as can get in the league.

What best encapsulates their season was their 3-1 defeat away at White Hart Lane. They took the lead through Samir Nasri, but then capitulated after they became complacent and allowed in goals from Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Defoe and Gareth Bale. Once Spurs had found their equaliser, City struggled to raise themselves.

Fatigue may be an issue here, but that is still no reason for not coming away with three points against Swansea, where City stuttered and spluttered but never crackled to life as the game ended goalless.

Wigan Athletic: LWDLL

07/04/2013: Swansea City, 2-3 (H), Barclays Premier League

04/04/2013: West Bromwich Albion, 3-2 (A), Barclays Premier League

27/03/2013: Tottenham Hotspur, 2-2 (H), Barclays Premier League

20/03/2013: West Ham United, 0-2 (A), Barclays Premier League

17/03/2013: Manchester City, 0-1 (A), Barclays Premier League

The Latics have only won one of their last five games. This means that the FA Cup will come as both a welcome distraction and a catalyst for Roberto Martinez’s men to win their remaining games in an attempt to save their Premier League season.

But Wigan have always been quite skilled at getting out of this rut. They usually turn up for games at the end of the season. At the same time last year, the DW Arena side beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates and threw a spanner in United’s title chase as they defeated the Red Devils 1-0.

This season, however, with two games remaining, Wigan are in a much more dire position than they were last season. Their performance in the FA Cup could change all that.

Team News:

Manchester City

With the exception of Scott Sinclair, who has a blood clot and will be out until August, everybody is available for the FA Cup final.

Squad (from): Hart, Maicon, Richards, Kompany (c), Zabaleta, Lescott, Milner, Nasri, Dzeko, Pantilimon, Wright, Kolarov, Garcia, Barry, Aguero, Clichy, Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure, Nastasic, Razak, Rekik, Tevez, Silva, Guidetti

Probable Starting XI: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Toure, Nasri, Silva, Aguero; Tevez

Wigan Athletic

In contrast to Roberto Mancini, Wigan boss Martinez has several players over whom question marks loom for this game.

Antolin Alcaraz and Jean Beausejour are both struggling with hamstring injuries. Maynor Figuroa (groin) and Albert Crusat (knee) and Ronnie Stam (ankle) are all out for this game.

Ivan Ramis (knee) and Mike Pollitt (thigh) and also unavailable.

Squad (from): Al-Habsi, Scharner, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Boyce, Espinoza, McCarthy, Watson, McArthur, McManaman, McArthur, Maloney, Kone, Robles, Beausejour, Di Santo, Gomez, Redmond, Henriquez, Fyvie, Jones, Campabadal

Probable Starting XI: Al-Habsi; Boyce, Caldwell, Scharner (c), Espinoza; Watson, McCarthy, McArthur; McManaman, Maloney, Kone

Prediction

There are some who say that the FA Cup is a relic of the past. Those who say that are unaware of the romance and magic the cup conjures. It is a playing field where all are equal as can be seen with the giant killings this competition has thrown up in the past. City looked more equipped on paper, but it is going to be played on that big green thing at Wembley.

Manchester City 3-0 Wigan Athletic