Fortune didn’t favour the brave as Latics lose at Old Trafford
MANCHESTER UNITED 4
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
The hoodoo couldn’t be broken as three slices of luck and a thunderbolt from outside the area sent Latics to a defeat against Manchester United.
A Paul Scholes tap in opened the scoring, followed by another by Javier Hernandez and then an in-off Ali Al Habsi made it three from Alexander Buttner, with Nick Powell rounding of the game from range.
It wasn’t an easy start to Latics’ eighth trip to Old Trafford and after just four minutes after Danny Welbeck looked to not have been touched, referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot.
Al Habsi was judged to have taken Welbeck down and turned himself into a hero just seconds later.
Hernandez tried to place it and the Omani stopper guessed the right way before Maynor Figueroa hacked away with Nani breathing down his neck on the rebound.
Latics held their own for long spells in the game and really got in United’s faces with counter attacks looking to provide the breakthrough.
England international Welbeck was causing problems and creating chances but, it was nothing Gary Caldwell and co. at the back couldn’t deal with.
Latics’ best chance of the first half fell to Arouna Kone at the back post.
The Ivorian had made a smart run as Jean Beausejour advanced down the left, his curling cross sailing through box but, Kone went with his side foot and found only the side netting.
The second half started with maximum Latics pressure and it was again Kone and Beausejour pushing forward with the Chilean’s cross headed over by the striker.
Beausejour was causing problems down the left and Latics looked like they were going to push through but, against the run of play it was Man United that capitalised.
Portuguese winger Nani can be praised for his patience but, Scholes can thank a hint of luck.
Nani took his time in taking the ball past Shaun Maloney down the right and his low cross caused the problem as Al Habsi could only push it away into the path of Scholes.
2-0 followed on 63 minutes when another slice of luck had Latics reeling.
Latics looked to be quelling a period of pressure and Buttner’s shot from the edge of the area looked to be sailing wide but, Hernandez jumped in the path of the ball and from the penalty spot side footed it home.
Just three minutes later it was Buttner on the score sheet himself.
A crazy run by the Dutch full-back beyond two Latics defenders was finished off when hit struck the ball of Al Habsi’s shoulder as he came towards the post on the by-line.
It was another display of the powers that be being on your side.
As the game began to look ominous, substitute and former Crewe youngster Powell wrapped up the points.
It was again a chance that could have been denied as Caldwell’s excellent tackle on Welbeck on the edge of the area wasn’t cleared.
Powell was teed up 20 yards out and lashed the ball beyond Al Habsi into the top corner.
Latics will take many positives from the game though as they matched United all over the pitch for very long spells.
The defeat is just Latics’ fourth in the space of 13 games, showing the form of the side at the moment.
Man Utd: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic (Evans 77), Buttner, Nani, Carrick, Scholes (Powell 71), Giggs (Van Persie 71), Hernandez, Welbeck
Subs: De Gea, Valencia, Cleverley, Kagawa
Latics: Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Ramis, Beausejour (Jones 68), McArthur, McCarthy, Maloney (Gomez 58), Di Santo, Kone
Subs: Pollitt, Watson, Crusat, Boselli, Miyaichi