On Saturday, Sir Alex’s men take on Roberto Martinez’s Wigan Athletic, in a match that promises to be of a high attacking standard. In the previous fixture at Old Trafford, United ran out 5-0 winners in a merciless rout that preserved their 100% record against the Latics, in games where United found the net frequently. However, in April, it was Wigan who emerged victorious, outplaying their lacklustre opponents by combining attractive football with an abundance of desire to emerge 1-0 winners. It was a deserved result and a defeat that will live long in the memory of the Red Devils, who will not want a repeat score-line this time around.
Neither team has got off to the best of starts this season, but they will be looking to gain momentum at the Theatre of Dreams and kick-start a vain of good form. The bookies will have United down as firm favourites, but Roberto Martinez is a gifted manager with an adept knowledge of how to play tactical, intelligent football, and he will not be ordering his players to shut up shop and spend the entirety of the match in their own half. Defence is not the primary ethos of either manager, so expect a few thrills and hopefully some goals too.
Despite the anxiety initiated by certain newspapers this week about the fitness of Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, Ferguson has confirmed that the pair will be fit for the match. On another positive note for United fans, Darren Fletcher is in the squad after spending a frustrating period on the sidelines, suffering from a chronic bowel condition. Additionally, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand are on the brink of making another career milestone, as both are due to make their 400th and 700th appearance in the red jersey. Long term absentees Phil Jones and Chris Smalling remain injured.
For Wigan, a near clean bill of health ensures that their ranks will be sufficiently bolstered, but they will be without Antolin Alcaraz and Jean Beausejour, who are not expected back until later this month.
A Few Match Facts
- United have won all but one of their Premier League fixtures against Wigan
- Ali al-Habsi has saved more shots (19) than any other keeper this season
- In their last two visits to Old Trafford, Wigan have had three players sent off
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This article was first posted on September 15, 2012