As Sir Alex Ferguson has a habit of saying “We can tick off another one” and after the 4-0 defeat of Wigan, he has only eleven more matches to scratch out. The victory, only United’s fourth away from home in the league this season, wasn’t straightforward as the scoreline suggests, but restores the Red’s four point lead at the top of the table. With United next in action on Tuesday evening at Stamford Bridge, he has a chance to stretch that lead to seven by the time title rivals Arsenal play again. And that gap could prove psychologically damaging to a Gunners side that haven’t won the league since 2004.
Ferguson was delighted with his side’s response in the second half and praised their display after the break. “Getting the goal settled us down a bit but after that we did play well. Second half we really did play well. It was an exceptional performance we could have had a few goals” he said. “There are big games ahead and it is a good start to the week. To win 4-0 away from home at a place like Wigan is very good. We were very pleased with the result but it is an acid test this week, going to Chelsea going to Liverpool. Hopefully I will have one or two players back but I was delighted with my players today.”
Wigan Athletic 0 v Manchester United 4
BBC Sport – League leaders Manchester United tightened their grip on the title race as they pushed aside lowly Wigan to move four points clear of Arsenal. Relegation-threatened Wigan shone early on but Edwin Van der Sar stood firm. Javier Hernandez cleverly clipped in rampant Nani’s cross after 17 minutes as the visitors gradually took control. Mexican striker Hernandez slotted a cool second 15 minutes from time before a Wayne Rooney tap-in and substitute Fabio’s simple shot added a late gloss.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s team came into the match off the back of a disjointed goalless draw at Marseille, but added attacking cohesion to their characteristic defensive stubbornness against a Wigan team who did test them until the killer second goal from Hernandez. And the confident display sets them up well for Tuesday’s trip to reigning champions Chelsea, who they are now 15 points clear of. Full Report
Wiganlatics.co.uk – A Javier Hernandez brace denied Latics their first Premier League result against Manchester United, despite a spirited performance. Enjoying good spells of possession the home side created some guilt-edge chances but were denied by superb goalkeeping from Edwin Van Der Sar on no fewer than three occasions. A feisty start had Man Utd on the back-foot early-on and when Victor Moses charged down Paul Scholes’ pass the winger found himself through on goal, but could his shot was blocked by the Dutch ‘keeper’s outstretched leg.
A game that slipped away from Latics then, despite their bright start and a promising first-half performance out-done by the visitor’s clinical finishing in-front of goal. Full Report
Manchester Evening News – Javier Hernandez made it a lucky 13 goals for the season as Manchester United charged four points clear of Arsenal with a clinical victory at Wigan. Sir Alex Ferguson declared yesterday the Premier League title battle was now a straight fight between his own side and the Gunners, and with trips to Chelsea and Liverpool looming, United could not have made a better start to their week on the road.
Preferred to Dimitar Berbatov, Hernandez justified the faith of his manager, turning home Nani’s first-half cross before finishing Wayne Rooney’s brilliant second-half through ball. Full Report
Manchester United – van der Sar, O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes (Gibson 76), Nani (Fabio 84), Rooney, Hernandez (Berbatov 76) GOAL – Hernandez (17m, 74m), Rooney (83m), (Fabio 87m)