Returning from Europe after a tough game, Sir Alex still had some injuries to contend with. He resorted to a full strength attacking squad with Chicharito getting one of those rare starts. He opted for a 4-4-2 clearly indicating nothing below 3 points will be entertained
Wigan started bright, in fact as always the bottom 3 teams play with a lot of vigor against United. United were struggling to get hold of the game when a string of opportunities from Moses and Mc Carthy were beautifully denied by Van der Sar who just doesn’t seem to age.
An off the ball incident in the middle of the park where Rooney elbowed Mc Carthy in the face , was a blatant red, which even as a MUFC fan, I find it appalling how Mark Clattenberg could award JUST a free kick. This incident marked the start to a multitude of poor decisions in the first half for the referee who didn’t do his reputation any good amongst the home or away fans.
A brilliant back flick at 12’ released Mc Carthy one on one on the right wing, but VdS was alert and quick to smother an attempt which surely should have been in the back of the net. A couple of careless passing by Scholes and Smalling exposed VdS but he was the pick of the United players in the first half.
At 17’, United broke forward with Rooney and Nani on the left exchanging a 1-2, which released Nani to the edge of the box from where he sent a nice low cross for Chicharito to slot in at the near post. As always, Chicharito’s composure in front of goal is fantastic and he made the goal look a stroll in the park.
Nani continued to revel in the latter stages of the first half creating few opportunities, once finding the keeper, the side netting and the upright!
46’- 90’ +3min
The game ebbed and flowed with equal possession, both teams playing open football, the irony where was Wigan all this season.. if they continue to play like this they will survive.
As we neared the final quarter, the closing stages of the game – I was biting my nails with NZogbia’s drives and Rodallega’s energy always a threat! However a wonderful 1-2 between Rooney and Chicharito released him one on one with the keeper with only one outcome.
This goal opened the floodgates as Gibson who came on for Scholes, sent a long ball to find Berbatov running in open ground behind Alcaraz, sending a soft cross for a tap in for Wazza. The icing on the cake was for Fabio, who came on in the final few min and managed to get himself at the end of a Fletcher cross, totally unmarked, and slotting well past Al Habsi – making it a rout eventually.
- Turning point: Red card for Rooney – didn’t happen, so the turning point is Van der Sar’s brilliant block of Mc Carthy’s 12’ attempt which would have turned the game on its head.
- FA wont take any action considering Mark already dished out a freekick and didn’t deem it a foul worthy of even a yellow.
- Spirited performance from Wigan is what is needed for them to survive and ofcourse a bit of luck.
- Crucial win for United with 2 big fixtures away at Stamford and Anfield. 3 points at the former will mount immense pressure on Arsenal to fight back.
- Van der Sar 9.0 Evra 8.5 Vidic 8.5 Smalling 8.5 O’Shea 8.5 Nani 8.75 Scholes 8.5 Carrick 8.75 Fletcher 8.5 Rooney 9.5 Chicharito 9.25
- Subs: Fabio 8.5 Gibson 8.5 Berbatov 8.5