Wigan travelled to Manchester United today with a specific game plan to defend and frustrate Manchester United . This was the same game plan as the last two seasons that we have visited Old Trafford and the same result of a good hammering has occurred.
As with last season the policy worked for the first half with both teams drinking their half time cuppa on equal terms.
Wigan had dropped Agahowa from last weeks team but whether this was punishment for a poor performance last week or merely tactical isn`t known, Olembe replacing him as an extra midfielder.
Wigan therefore played 4-5-1 when attacking and 5-5 when defending but were nearly exposed as early as the third minute when a mis-directed back header by Olembe was brilliantly tipped away for a corner by Chris Kirkland.
A couple of minutes later Ronaldo was bundled over in the penalty area by Brown. Mike Riley ,the referee with a clear line of sight waved play on. Replays show that it was a penalty.
For the rest of the first half Man Utd had overwhelming possession but created little. Latic`s main tactic appeared to be high clearneces by Kirkland for Scharner to head on to Bent but this didn`t seem to be working.
Manchester United were not helped by losing O Shea and Vidic to injuries but Wigan seem unable to take advantage of this disruption.
Latics had two chances in the first half, the first a shot by Skoko following a poor clearance which was easily saved by Kuszczak and then Scharner got behind Evra but as he was shaping to fire past the advancing goalkeeper Evra brilliantly cleared the ball away.
United`s best chance came just before half time with Tevez narrowly missing after a good buit of play.
At half time Wigan were clearly the happier although Tevez`s chance before the break gave a hint of things to come.
As with last season Man Utd looked a different team as they came out in the second ahlf and quickly spread the ball around testing our midfield and defence.
Latics were disrupted when Mario Melchiot who had passed a fitness test before kick off limped off in the 50 minute to be replaced by Fitz Hall.
Tevez quickly took advantage of the re-organsied defence with a brilliant run turning defenders inside and out before firing past Kirkland.
Ronaldo headed in from close range a couple of minutes later and Latics were all but dead and buried.
To their credit Wigan continued to play the ball on the ground but with an over populated midfield and only one forward it was very unlikely that they were going to get back into the game.
Olembe who contributed very little to the game was replaced by Valencia who immediately showed the fans what we had been missing with a superb shot that Kuszczak did well to save.
This only proved a momentary respite Rooney leaving Hall for dead before crossing for Ronaldo to score his second.
Indeed it could have been more United hitting the woodwork with Kirkland looking beaten
United further opened the wound slipping Hall his marked and scoring United fourth.
Wigan slpipped further down the table due to this result and if results go against us tomorrow we could find ourselves in the botton three.
The lack of goals and injuries to Siberski, Landzaat, Heskey and now Melchiot only serve to draw attention to how small the squad is and the honest truth that some of the rpelacements are not good enough at this level.
It is to be hoped that several of the injured palayers are fit for the next game against Pompey at home
Pulled off some superb saves and yet picked the ball out of the net four times. Couldn`t be faulted for any of the four goals.
Led by example, was missed when he went off
Killer is a revelation at left back, covered every blade of grass and never let his quicker opponents get away from him. Was out muscled by Tevez for the first goal but other than that played well again
Worked hard against quality strikers,
Worked hard against quality strikers
Not his best game, seemed determined to take the whole team on on his own, on several occasions Scharner and Kilbane made overlaps but he didn`t see them.
A fizzer of a shot had the keeper scrambling across his goal as it went narrowly wide
Should have given a penalty away early on, tried to get up in support of Bent but didn`t impose himself on the game like last week
Best of the starting midfielders, would have scored but for Evra.
One shot but otherwise spent the afternoon chasing around in an overcrowded midfield.
A left back playing on the left wing. Not a place to make your debut. He will have better afternoons.
In fairness he saw very little of the ball and when he did was marked by two men. Made some good clearences form set pieces in our penalty area which sums up the game.
Very slow and was exposed for the third and fourth goals
Provided a creative spark lacking until he came on