Writer: David McGrath
Date:Sunday September 16 2012
Wigan went into the game at Old Trafford with a record of seven defeats at the ground. The previous seven games saw a show of shocking refereeing decisions, bad performances and sloppy play and today`s game was no different.
Manchester United were there for the taking today. They were forced to make five changes due to niggling injuries and the forthcoming Champions League game on Wednesday. Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones missed the game through injuries, Robin Van Persie and Patrice Evra were relegated to the bench. Manchester United have encountered a shaky start to the new term, losing to Everton and narrowly beating Fulham and Southampton, looking a shadow of their former selves.
Wigan came into the game on the back of some good results and form and if ever there was a time to take points back to the DW then this was it.
However a tradition is not to be broken and this was evident from the start. Four minutes in and Danny Welbeck surged towards the byline. Al Habsi stormed out and slid on his knees towards Welbeck who made a theatrical dive. No contact was made, but the referee judged that Welbeck was fouled and pointed to the spot.
Hernandez stepped up and justice was served as Al Habsi chose correctly and threw himself to his left, palming away the strike. This seemed to have created some confidence in the Latics as they became comfortable in defence and kept possession for long periods of the first half.
Chances came for Wigan but Ramis, Boyce and Kone all struck marginally wide. Half time came and the deadlock was yet to be broken. Martinez would have been happy with the display and would have wanted to build on it, but it was Manchester United who came out after the break on a mission.
Five minutes into the second half and the first goal came. Al Habsi made a mistake and palmed a low cross straight into the path of the oncoming Paul Scholes who calmly put the ball into the back of the net.
Wigan began to look lacklustre and ineffective, making sloppy passes and allowing the opposition too much time and space. In the 63rd minute of the game this proved to be the case once again as Boyce didn`t get out in time and left Hernandez onside to tap in the second goal from close range.
A shocking 15 minutes of play ended in another goal for the home side as debutant Buttner was allowed to stroll through the Latics defence, evading challenges, and hitting the ball off Al Habsi into the net. Another howler for Al Habsi summed up his afternoon. He went from hero in the first half to villain in the second making these two errors.
On 82 minutes more sloppy play saw McCarthy turn into a United player on the edge of the box, the ball was laid off to debutant Powell who scored from outside the box
This game was definitely a tale of two halves. Wigan looked confident and composed in the first half, yet fell apart straight after half time. The second half was a contrast to how we`ve been seeing Wigan play over the last few games, even the ever strong Al Habsi had a bad day at the office. It was hard to single out any player for Wigan who had a good game, Figueroa looked decent whereas McCarthy looked good apart from the couple of mistakes he made, one allowing the fourth goal. It is clear that Martinez needs to have a look at the formation and players from today and have a think about a few things before the home game against Fulham next week
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Date:Sunday September 16 2012
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