Wigan vs Man Utd: Preview, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
Reds Slid To All Three Points In November
Coupled with the fact that the R…
Manchester United makes the short trek to the DW Stadium to take on lowly Wigan Athletic, but this Barclays Premier match has the billing to be a potential stumbling block. Coupled with the fact that the Reds have just traveled back from the south coast of France following a tough goalless draw with Olympique de Marseille, United has not played glittering football away from Old Trafford in the league, so focus and killer instinct will be key as complacency is something that could come into play at this stage of the season.
Although the Lactics are currently in the relegation zone, United needs to make sure that they take a minimum of three points from this fixture, because their lead at the top of the table was cut to just a solitary point following Arsenal’s win over Stoke City. History is most certainly not on Wigan’s side, because the Reds have completely owned the Latics in all of the 12 matches, by scoring an impressive 37 goals while only conceding four.
The last times these Greater Manchester rivals met up was in November, and the match was congruent of how the previous 11 games have gone – but Wigan helped lead to their own demise in their 2-0 loss at Old Trafford.
United eventually won very comfortable, but storyline of the match was the two, almost inexcusable red cards by very experienced Wigan players. On the stroke of halftime, Patrice Evra, who just signed a contract extension to remain at United, scored his first goal for the club in nearly three years, but the drama did not start until after the interval.
Antolín Alcaraz, who was already on a caution, picked up a needless second yellow card and was sent for an early bath by Martin Atkinson, however, just two minutes later, Hugo Rodallega had a rush of blood to the head as he went in with his studs showing, and the referee, correctly, brandished a straight red card for the center forward.
In the 77th minute, Javier Hernandez, who came on second half substitute, slotted the ball home to not only calm the nerves around, but to also put the nail in the Wigan coffin.
Wigan will becoming into the match full of confidence as they are riding a three game unbeaten streak in the Premier League, but they lost 1-0 in their Fourth Round replay against Bolton.
What is so impressive about Wigan’s mini run, is that all three of their results have seen them fight back to get either a point against both West Bromwich Albion (2-2) and Liverpool (1-1) and take all three points against Blackburn Rovers (4-3). To be fair, Wigan is deserving of their 18th place in the league standings, because they are tied for 19th with only 27 goals scored – just nine more than Dimitar Berbatov’s own personal total this season.
Roberto Martinez’s two best attacking players are Rodallega, who leads the team in goals with seven, and Charles N’Zogbia, who is second with four goals and leads Wigan with three assists. Defensively, the Latics fair a little better as their 45 goals against rank fifth worst, however, 26 of those goals have come in their 14 games at the DW Stadium, which is the worst in the league.
Wigan’s defense is anchored by Alcaraz, Maynor Figueroa, Steve Gohouri and their captain, Gary Caldwell, which should be tested by the United attack.
The best piece of news about United’s result against Marseille was that there were no fresh injuries to report, which will see Sir Alex wipe his brow. Seven first team players missed the trip, but according to the Gaffer Ryan Giggs should be fit for the match against Wigan, but many of the others may not return until the Chelsea match next Wednesday.
One would be hard pressed to bet against Ferguson retaining the central defensive partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling, because the young defender has been immense in the last few games.
Even though Manchester United’s squad is being ravaged with injuries, the Reds should have enough quality to see off Wigan Athletic and restore the daylight between them and trailing pack in the Barclays Premier League standings.
Out: A. Valencia (leg), O. Hargreaves (hamstring), Anderson (knee), R. Ferdinand (calf), J. S. Park (hamstring); Doubtful: J. Evans (leg), M. Owen (groin)
E. van der Sar; Rafael, C. Smalling, N. Vidic, P. Evra; R. Giggs, P. Scholes, D. Fletcher, Nani; D. Berbatov, J. Hernandez
Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester United 2
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