FA Cup: Dem's no gem, Man

FA Cup: Dem's no gem, Man
Manchester City's Argentinian defender Martin Demichelis (L) climbs above Wigan Athletic's French striker Marc-Antoine Fortune (R) to head the ball during the English FA Cup quarter-final

QUARTER-FINAL

MAN CITY 1 (Samir Nasri 68)

WIGAN 2 (Jordi Gomez 27-pen, James Perch 47)

Martin Demichelis and Manuel Pellegrini share a long, professional history.

But so do Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber.

At the moment, Manchester City might be better off with those two.

At least Carrey and Daniels got it together long enough for a happy Hollywood ending. City could be heading for a disaster.

Only the intervention of a Uefa ban sidesteps another potentially embarrassing sideshow against Barcelona in the Champions League clash against Barcelona on Thursday morning (Singapore time).

Demichelis' suspension denies his inexplicably loyal manager the option of selecting him for the second leg.

When he fills in his weekly team-sheets, Pellegrini appears to suffer footballer Tourettes, screaming out "Demichelis" whenever he picks up a pen. The 33-year-old Argentina centre back is fast becoming a swear word around the blue half of Manchester.

The red half of Manchester must be considering adopting Demichelis as a lucky mascot.

City's much maligned defender has proven to be a perennial source of punchlines, particularly in recent months, but his regular appearance in the starting 11 is a growing cause for consternation around the Etihad.

STRENGTH

Pellegrini favours calm, assured, ball-playing centre backs and Demichelis ticked all the right boxes for his principled coach at both River Plate and Malaga.

The only drawback is the defender is no longer particularly adept at defending, at least in the Premier League... and the Champions League... and now the FA Cup against Championship opposition.

In an interview last week, Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez praised Pellegrini's positive philosophy, stressing Demichelis' qualities in being able to "bring the ball out well from the back".

That's all rather commendable in possession.

When the ball is turned over, however, Demichelis spins with the grace of a hippo dancing Gangnam style.

Container ships dotting the East Coast shoreline turn quicker than the defender's slow-motion effort against Wigan's Marc-Antoine Fortune on Monday morning (Singapore time).

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