Wigan Athletic made the short trip down the East Lancs road seeking their first ever point against Manchester United in 15 league meetings between the two sides and following last season’s meeting at Old Trafford also seeking to retain eleven players on the pitch. Again they failed on both accounts and like last season Wigan were left to rue some controversial refereeing decisions
Martinez opted to retain the same starting line up as had performed so admirably against Chelsea and Liverpool, the only change being the return of flu victim Steve Gohuri onto the bench in place of Adrian Lopez.
United as befits of a team of their stature and playing in front of 75,000 fans started brightly andWigan’s defence, placed under pressure looked competent and continued to attempt to play the ball out from the back.
Wigan’s defence didn’t hang out for too long however and when a cross from Evra wasn’t cleared by the Wigan defence, Park left Al Habsi with no chance as he blasted the ball into the net from inside the area and Wigan were behind.
In previous years,Wigan may have buckled but this side playing with more confidence, continued to try and play their way back into the game. United continued to exert all the pressure and Wigan were forced into many last gasp clearances.
Conor Sammon continued to plough a lone furrow up front and a tussle on the half way line between the big Irishman and Michael Carrick resulted in a harsh red card for Sammon when referee Phil Dowd who was not Latic’s fans favourite referee prior to the kick off judged that Sammon had used an elbow and Wigan were down to ten men and facing a mountain to climb.
Wigan continued to try and create chances but with no recognised striker on the pitch against a resurgent United it was only a matter of time before United got their second. The goal when it came was from forgotten man Dimitar Berbatov who mis- kicked his first touch from a cross by Gibson but managed to regain control under pressure from Alcaraz and double United’s lead.
Wigan opted to change things around at half time eschewing damage limitation by leaving on Gomez and replacing the more defensive minded Diame with striker Franco Di Santo.
Wigan continued to look at scoring their first goal from open play at Old Trafford but the best they could offer was a free kick from Jones which narrowly went the wrong side of the post.
United are known for taking advantage of other sides failings and increased their lead when former Wigan player Valencia was allowed to run unchallenged from inside his own half and crossed for Berbatov who doubled his tally for the game, turning Caldwell and punting the ball into the net.
United continued to put further dents into Wigan’s goal difference when Valencia got onto the score sheet himself when a Rooney cross eventually found Valencai who shot an unstoppable shot into the net.
If the Wigan fans thought it couldn’t get any worse then they were wrong when Mr Dowd compounded his earlier error awarding Manchester United a penalty when the free kick appeared to be just outside the penalty area. Berbatov completing his hat trick.
United eased up on the pressure then and the result keeps Wigan in the bottom three with the most inferior goal difference in the division.
Wigan Team (3,2,4,1)
Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa
Moses, McCarthy, Diame, Gomez,
Subs used Di Santo, Rodallega, McArthur
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