Wigan 0-4 Man Utd: Match Report, Player Ratings & Video Goals
In a potential hiccup Barclays Premier League fixture, Manchester United scraped to a 4-0 over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. Javier Hernandez scored two goals of the highest quality, and Wayne Rooney and Fabio, who scored his first-ever senior goal for the Reds, added the other goals for good measure for United.
The flattering result sees United not only restore their four point advantage over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League standings, but almost as important, the Reds increased their lead in goal difference to six goals over the Gunners as well. Without any real surprise, Sir Alex Ferguson only made two changes from the starting XI that played in the stalemate against Olympique de Marseille as Paul Scholes and Chicharito replaced Darron Gibson and Dimitar Berbatov, respectively.
The United manager went with a 4-4-2 formation, but continued to play John O’Shea and Chris Smalling on the right side of the United defense to counteract the level of experience by each, which may seem a bit harsh given the fact that Rafael has been one of the best performers this season.
Up front, Hernandez was handed a rare start, but the young forward should be able to cause the Wigan back-line, which has given up the most league goals at home, 26, a real problem with his blinding pace.
With just a minute off the clock, Wigan won the first corner of the match, but, thankfully, Charles N’Zogbia’s cross was too hard for Steve Gohouri at the far post. The home side were full of confidence pinging the ball around with ease, and it took a terrific tackle from Nemanja Vidic to deny N’Zogbia from breaking clean through on goal.
Paul Scholes gave the ball away cheaply, and Hugo Rodallega attacked down the left, but his cross was cut out well by John O’Shea with Victor Moses lurking behind him. There was an off the ball moment involving Wayne Rooney and James McCarthy, and the United center forward looked to have gotten away with one as he caught the Wigan player with an elbow.
United’s best chance of the match when Hernandez got on the end of long ball, which Fletcher raced onto, but the midfielder’s cut-back cross missed everyone. Scholes, on the right side of defense, again gave the ball away and Moses was one-on-one with Edwin van der Sar, but the United goalkeeper made himself large and blocked the Wigan shot.
The ensuing corner was cleared and allowed Chicharito to attack Maynor Figueroa, but the Wigan defender, like van der Sar did seconds earlier, stood his ground. Wigan were not discouraged about that and broke forward themselves just seconds later, and Moses chip to the middle of box was well cut out by a Vidic diving header for a corner to the home side.
In the 17th minute, United got in front following a very clinical counterattack down the left-hand side, and it was pure class from the three players involved. There was excellent combination between Rooney and Nani, and the latter supplied a wonderful near post cross, which Chicharito clipped into the net passed a stranded Ali Al Habsi.
United’s defense looked suspect just moments after the goal, and it another fantastic block by van der Sar, who quickly scampered across the entire face of the goal to deny a wide-open chance James McCarthy at the far post. Wigan were not shying away, and they looked as though they were the Premier League leaders as they were creating all of the chances and threats.
There were two challenges by Mohamed Diame and McCarthy on Michael Carrick and Scholes, and it is amazing how Mark Clattenburg let either one of them get away with a booking, because it would have completely changed the complexity of Wigan’s approach.
Another fantastic build up from United completely carved Wigan apart and they were within a millimeter of increasing their lead, however, Nani’s left-footed near post blast caught the inside of the post and ricocheted out of harm’s way. A few minutes later, United had another chance to test the Wigan goalkeeper, but Nani’s next left-footed shot went well wide of Al Habsi’s right-hand post.
For the last quarter of an hour, clear cut chances for either side were few and far between for the best part, however, if Wigan, which was certainly creating more than United, had a better final ball the scoreline would have been different. Clattenburg’s halftime whistle came, and Sir Alex will be looking to get more out of his players in terms of organization and make sure that United is more decisive with the ball, or it could lead to even more dropped points in the second half.
The second half got underway, and the first chance came from a long range bomb from Figueroa, but, again, van der Sar dealt with it expertly well and was able to parry it out for a Wigan corner kick. A very good cross from the left flank saw a chance for Rodallega to out leap Vidic, but his header was directly at van der Sar and the United goalkeeper held on the effort with ease.
A great turn by Rooney left Gary Caldwell in his wake, and he sprayed the ball out to Chicharito, but Figueroa block his shot and then cleared the effort. Nani broke down the left flank and burst into the Wigan area, but instead of squaring the ball to a teammate, he went for goal and his deflected shot was well saved by Al Habsi.
In a span of 20 seconds, United had two chances to increase their lead, but no one could get on to Chicharito’s cross, and then when the ball came back in, Nani cut inside his marker, and went for placement at the near post and his shot skimmed the net on the wrong side of the post. A long ball over the top created a chance Rodallega to use his pace against Vidic, but he was always going to be stretched, and his shot went into the side netting.
United should have doubled their lead, but Nani’s shot was weak and Al Habsi spilled into the path of Rooney, but he was again caught flat footed and forced to lay the ball back to Fletcher, whose shot was blocked by Caldwell. Roberto Martinez made the first change of the match bringing Franco Di Santo on for Moses to add more strength to the Wigan attack.
United hit Wigan with a counterattack, but the crosses were to high and Wigan were allowed to counter themselves. Some great passing saw Rodallega get behind the United defense and cut a pass back for Di Santo, who slid the ball into the net, but it was correctly ruled out for offsides by the linesman.
Chicharito earned a very cheap yellow card for not giving the required 10 yards on a free-kick that he conceded against Antolín Alcaraz. Wigan began to get on the ball more, and they earned a free-kick in a very dangerous area on the left flank, but N’Zogbia’s inswinging effort was headed away by Smalling.
A great ball from Scholes to O’Shea down the right-hand flank, and he laid his cross on a silver platter from Rooney, but he was unable to generate any power or direction on his header. A great combination between Rooney and Hernandez saw the young Mexican get behind his marker and slotted the ball passed Al Habsi to give United a two goal advantage.
Sir Alex decided on a double change bringing on Dimitar Berbatov for Hernandez, and Gibson came on for Scholes for the last quarter of an hour. Wigan continued to get on the ball, and it made its way to Rodallega, but his powerful shot took a deflection off Vidic and out for a corner kick.
With Wigan pushing everyone forward in search of getting a goal back, United hit them with a two pass, 80-yard counterattack. Gibson played a great ball to Berbatov who was most certainly onside, raced forward with just the Wigan goalkeeper to beat, but instead of shooting he served the ball to Rooney to tap it in the net.
To add insult to injury, United netted a fourth, and it was Fabio, who just came on as a substitute for Nani, as he scored his first-ever senior goal for the Reds. Martinez sent both Jordi Gomez and James McArthur on for Watson and N’Zogbia for the last couple of minutes.
O’Shea had a chance to put his stamp on the match, and he roasted his marker with nutmeg, just like he did against Luis Figo, but he missed the top corner with his shot. Manchester United did well to see out the win over Wigan Athletic, but it was another nervy away performance against a team fighting for its Barclays Premier League life.
Nemanja Vidic is without question the most accomplished defender in the Premier League, and without him and his timely blocks and clearances there is no way that United would have their lofty league position.
E. van der Sar – 8; J. O’Shea – 6, C. Smalling – 7, N. Vidic – 8, P. Evra – 7; D. Fletcher – 6, M. Carrick – 7, P. Scholes – 7 (D. Gibson – 6), Nani – 6 (Fabio – 6), W. Rooney – 7; J. Hernandez – 7 (D. Berbatov – 6)
J. Hernandez (17′), (74′), W. Rooney (84′), Fabio (87′)
Shots (On Target): 17 (8)
Fouls Conceded (Suffered): 10 (13)
Bookings: J. Hernandez
Watch The Goals Here
Submitted by The United Religion
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