United brushed aside Wigan with a high-scoring display to keep the pressure up on Manchester City at the top of the table this afternoon.
It was a result made even sweeter when news filtered through that City had only drawn, 0-0, against West Bromwich Albion.
Team News – Sir Alex made numerous changes for the visit of Wigan. Jones failed to recover from his head knock so Carrick started at the heart of the defence alongside Evans whilst up front both Rooney and Welbeck were rested. In midfield Gibson and Giggs were selected to play in the centre of the park.
United – Lindegaard, Valencia, Evans, Carrick, Evra, Park, Gibson, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov, Hernandez
Subs – De Gea, Rooney, Welbeck, Rafael, Macheda, Diouf, Fryers
First Half – United got off to the best possible start, scoring as early as the 8th minute through Park. The goal came after Evra was allowed to get to the by-line and his cutback was swept into the net by the advancing Park from seven yards out.
United 1 Wigan 0 (Park – 08 minutes)
Wigan were, understandably, struggling to match United but almost created a chance to get level when a Stam cross from the right almost found Sammon at the far post.
Pushing forward United`s claims for a penalty were turned down by Phil Dowd when Hernandez went down under a challenge from Alcaraz. Fate conspired to smile on us when Evans received only a yellow card for a studs-up challenge on Jordi Gomez, similar tackles made by others this season have produced straight reds.
Wigan, to their credit, showed their resilience and as the half progressed were pushing United back with Stam able to get in behind Evra almost at will. Unfortunately, any chances they had of capitalising on their good work were hampered by a red card for Sammon with the offender penalised for backing into Carrick and then raising his hand to Carrick`s face.
Almost immediately United doubled their lead, through Berbatov with the goal coming after Gibson`s cross had been helped on by Hernandez for the Bulgarian to turn and score, with his left foot, from close range.
United 2 Wigan 0 (Berbatov – 41 minutes)
Half Time – United 2 Wigan 0
Second Half – Both side made a change at half time. United took off Evans and introduced Fryers whilst Wigan withdrew Diame and brought on Di Santo. The United change saw United field an improbable central defensive partnership in Carrick and Evra.
United could have increased their lead in the early stages of the half but a good save from Al-Habsi thwarted Park. United did increase their lead though when Berbatov got his second of the game, the goal coming after Hernandez had been pulled down in the area and the Bulgarian collected a pass from Valencia before toe-poking the ball home.
United 3 Wigan 0 (Berbatov – 58 minutes)
Three goals to the good Sir Alex decided to unleash Rooney on the beleaguered Wigan defence. At the same time Macheda was also introduced with Giggs and Nani talking well-earned rests.
Pushing for more goals, goals that would see the goal-difference between us and City reduced, Hernandez saw a shot blocked, but a fourth goal was forthcoming when Valencia netted against his former club. Wigan fiale dot clear a corner properly and when Carrick played the ball back in Valencia was on hand to thrash it home.
United 4 Wigan 0 (Valencia – 75 minutes)
Three minutes later United scored five for the second game on the trot when Berbatov claimed his hat-trick from the penalty spot. The spot kick being awarded when Alcaraz tripped Park and Berbatov stepped up to pass it into the corner of the net.
United 5 Wigan 0 (Berbatov pen – 78 minutes)
Game, set and match to United.
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