London: Wigan Athletic will have to defy recent history as well as shrugging off the spectre of relegation if they are to cause one of the biggest FA Cup final upsets for years and beat Manchester City on Saturday.
City, FA Cup winners in 2011 and Premier League champions last season, start as the overwhelming favourites for the match at Wembley (5.15 p.m.) but Wigan have shown at times this season, especially in their 3-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton, they can spring a surprise.
However, not only are Manchester City better in every position than Wigan, they have won the last seven matches between the sides without conceding a goal, outscoring Roberto Martinez's men 13-0 since March 2010.
The last time Wigan beat City was nearly five years ago when goals from Antonio Valencia and an Amr Zaki penalty gave them a 2-1 league win in September 2008.
A few weeks later the billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi bought City and nothing much has been the same since he began ploughing his wealth into the former serial under-achievers.
While Wigan, third from bottom in the league, go into their first FA Cup final with two matches left to save themselves from relegation to the Championship, Manchester City head to Wembley Stadium with nothing to fear.
Having relinquished their title to Manchester United two weeks ago, they ensured they will qualify for the Champions League next season by beating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on Tuesday.
It seems all that can stop them from adding more silverware to their recently acquired collection is a return to the listlessness that damaged their title defence or a sudden collective loss of form.
After the two sides won their semi-finals last month, City struggled to beat Wigan in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on April 17 until an excellent late winner from Carlos Tevez.
However, since then Wigan have been hit by injuries. Those, plus some poor defending in a 3-2 defeat to Swansea City on Tuesday, do not augur well for their chances in the final.
Wigan will be without the authoritative Maynor Figueroa in midfield while centre back Ivan Ramis is still out with a knee injury. Antolin Alcaraz is a doubt after missing the midweek match and Ronnie Stam suffered a suspected broken leg against Swansea.
Martinez though, aiming to become the first Spanish coach to win the FA Cup since Rafa Benitez in 2006 with Liverpool, believes his team can save their season.
Talking about Wigan's chances of Premier League survival, he said: "We will never give up and we will never throw the towel in. We have a lot of injuries at the back and it showed."
Wigan can produce neat, incisive football and in Shaun Maloney have a fine player capable of creating chances and openings from midfield.
Ivorian international Arouna Kone has shown an eye for goal in his first season at the club with 13 strikes.
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, Wigan are guaranteed a Europa League spot next season.
City boss Roberto Mancini made eight changes to the side that drew with Swansea last weekend for the game against West Brom. Even so, City were too strong and won with a first-half goal from Edin Dzeko, who may have played his way into the starting line-up for Saturday.
Mancini is attempting to become the first Italian manager to win the FA Cup twice after City's success two years ago, and will be hoping his club, unlike rivals Manchester United, will not be looking for a new boss at the end of the season.
There has been widespread talk for months that Mancini is on his way out of City, but a second FA Cup win and the chance to regain the league title next season from what will be a United team in transition following Alex Ferguson's retirement, will give him a strong hand in any negotiations with the club's owners.
City's 2011 Cup triumph ended a barren 35 years for the club and Mancini may be entitled to believe a third trophy and guaranteed Champions League soccer next season, will buy him more time.