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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Manchester United Vs. Wigan Highlight


Manchester United Vs. Wigan Post Match Talk

Ferguson was happy with the way his team coped with the problems.

'Going top (is most pleasing) but we had to win to get there,' he told Sky Sports. 'Considering all the things that happened I think we've done fantastically well.

'I was very pleased with the football in the second half. We had 10 players missing in the end but great credit to all the players who played today.

'We speeded the game up in the second half, the flow of the game was much better.

'There was excellent interplay (between strikers). It's coming together, the understanding comes with that I think.'

On the injuries, Ferguson said: 'Vidic has been taken to hospital with concussion, O'Shea has a dead leg and Louis felt his knee in the warm-up. You can't risk that.'

Wigan counterpart Chris Hutchings was left to rue a second-half collapse.

'We had a game plan and it worked very, very well in the first 45 minutes,' he said.

'But as soon as they got the first goal they upped the tempo and could probably have had a couple more.

'It's always difficult but while it's 1-0 you have always got a chance. I'm disappointed that as the game went on, we lost our shape.' Read more...

Manchester United Vs. Wigan Report

United moved to the top of the Barclays Premier League with an emphatic, irresistable second half display against Wigan Athletic.

Goals from Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo (2) and Wayne Rooney after the break brushed off the physical challenge posed by Chris Hutchings' Latics.

United lost Nemanja Vidic and John O'Shea to injuries in a bruising first 45 minutes, while Louis Saha was a late withdrawal from the squad after injuring himself in the warm-up.

A patched-up Reds defence saw Gerard Pique and Danny Simpson included alongside Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, and the two youngster turned in outstanding performances.

While United's attacking verve was too much for Wigan in the second half, the visitors had managed to keep the Reds at arm's length for the majority of the first half.

Visiting goalkeeper Chris Kirkland had to be at his very best inside the first five minutes, as he reacted brilliantly to claw away a header from Salomon Olembe, who inadvertently diverted Carlos Tevez’s cross goalwards.

In the ensuing melee, Ronaldo was denied a strong shout for a penalty, as he was seemingly wrestled to the ground by Michael Brown. Referee Mike Riley quickly waved away the claims, however, much to the chagrin of the Portuguese winger.

After 20 minutes Nemanja Vidic, who had earlier been dazed by a clash with Marcus Bent, needed to leave the field of play. After a lengthy touchline discussion with Sir Alex, Carlos Queiroz and club Doctor Steve McNally, the Serbian was eventually replaced by Anderson.

John O’Shea took the Serb’s place at centre-back, but the big Irishman was one of three defenders to take a knock in the next few minutes. Patrice Evra took a kick to the face, Pique was limping heavily after having his foot trodden on, while O’Shea seemed to be struggling with a dead leg, and was replaced by Danny Simpson.

Another reshuffle saw Pique moved to centre-back, with Simpson taking the Spaniard’s place on the right side of defence. After such an unsettling period, it was little surprise that Wigan had their first meaningful effort, with Josip Skoko forcing Tomasz Kuszczak into action with a long-range strike.

United responded with another decent shout for a penalty, with Brown again involved. The former Fulham midfielder appeared to block Evra’s run into a crowded area, but again the Reds’ appeals were in vain.

Ronaldo saw a long-range shot palmed away by Kirkland, but United found clear chances hard to come by, until the final five minutes of the half. First Rooney saw his shot blocked after a winding run, then Tevez fired over after a superb flowing move.

In a half when Wigan’s physical approach led to the substitution of two United defenders, it was ironic that the only booking had gone to Rooney, for catching Titus Bramble with his studs.

The second half began with United well on top, and forcing a flurry of corners, and only the woodwork prevented the hosts from taking the lead, when Giggs volleyed Ronaldo’s half-cleared cross against the crossbar.

Moments later, United finally took the lead. Rio Ferdinand carried the ball out of defence and fed Rooney, whose superb clipped pass freed Anderson. The Brazilian slipped the ball in turn to Tevez, who calmly held off the attentions of Kilbane and Bramble, circumnavigated Kirkland and lashed home a left-footed shot.

Almost immediately Wigan survived another strong penalty claim, as Scharner slipped and took Evra down with him, but Koumas almost produced an equaliser out of nothing, firing just past the post with a long-range effort.

That close-call with parity was long forgotten after 59 minutes, when United doubled their lead. Giggs’ cross was headed towards his own goal by Kilbane and, although Kirkland brilliantly kept the ball out, Ronaldo was on hand to head home the rebound.

The two-goal deficit prompted Latics manager Chris Hutchings to introduce Antonio Valencia, and the substitute almost pulled a goal back with his first touch. It took a fine reaction stop from Kuszczak to keep out the Ecuadorian’s fierce shot, as the Pole sought to prolong United’s long run of league clean sheets.

At the other end, only a saving interception from Kilbane stopped Ronaldo from poking home his second, while Kirkland was alert enough to clutch the loose ball before Tevez could double his own tally.

A third goal was forthcoming shortly afterwards, and it was Ronaldo who was on hand to give United added breathing space. Anderson nicked the ball off the toes of Brown, and Pique strode onto the loose ball before releasing Rooney down the left wing. The England striker slid an inch-perfect ball into the box, and Ronaldo was on hand to apply an emphatic finish.

Three should have been four straight away but Ronaldo, released by a brilliant pass from the highly impressive Anderson, blazed over the bar from close range when Tevez was an unmarked option in the centre.

Wigan were comfortably beaten, offering little by way of resistance to United’s incisive attacking play, and it was no surprise when a fourth goal came.

Simpson was released on the right, and the young full-back swung an inch-perfect cross onto the head of Rooney, who powered the ball into Kirkland’s top corner and registered his second goal in successive games, following Tuesday’s strike against Roma.

Substitute Nani spurned the chance to add a fifth, just mis-timing his pass to release Ronaldo, while Simpson was denied a first senior goal by Kirkland's legs.

But four was enough for United, particularly after a start to the season in which goals had been at such a premium. They would come, Sir Alex had assured the media before the Latics' short trip across the North-West, and he was spectacularly validated.

The tension of such a goal-shy start to the campaign, married to an equally frustrating first 45 minutes, was finally released in a scintillating second half display of first-class attacking play.

Team line-ups

Manchester United: Kuszczak; Pique, Ferdinand, Vidic (Anderson, 21), Evra; Ronaldo, Scholes, O’Shea (Simpson, 28), Giggs; Rooney, Tevez (Nani, 80)
Subs not used: Heaton, Nani, Eagles.

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland; Melchiot (Hall, 51), Boyce, Bramble, Kilbane; Skoko, Brown, Koumas, Scharner, Olembe Valencia, 66), Bent.
Subs not used: Pollitt, Landzaat, Aghahowa.

Attendance: 75,300