Manchester Utd 2 Wigan 0
Manchester United 2 Wigan Athletic 0, Old Trafford, English Premier League, November 20, 2010. Manchester United comfortably defeated Wigan Athletic by a 2-0 score at Old Trafford where Three Lions international Wayne Rooney received a mixed welcome from the home supporters when the prodigal son entered the field as a substitute in the 56th minute of the clash to make his return to the first team from an ankle injury after his contract row.
Manchester United had kicked off the 2010-11 Premier League campaign with a highly promising 3-0 triumph against recently promoted Newcastle United at The Theatre of Dreams, followed by a hard-fought 2-2 away draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Sir Alex Ferguson´s title contenders then defeated West Ham United 3-0 at Old Trafford before they drew 3-3 against Everton at Goodison Park. After edging out Liverpool by 3-2 at home in mid-September, Manchester United went on a three-game drawing streak which was followed by a three-fixture winning streak, which in turn was followed by a two-match drawing streak. In the corresponding meeting of the 2009-10 season, United had trashed Wigan Athletic 5-0 at Old Trafford and they were clear favourites to claim all three points against The Latics. As for the injury list, Manchester United had to make do without the services of key players Oliveira Anderson, Owen Hargreaves, Antonio Valencia, and Michael Owen, but England striker Wayne Rooney was back after recovering from an ankle problem.
French international defender Patrice Evra opened the scoring when he headed The Reds in front from an excellent cross by Ji-Sung Park a few seconds before the break. While Wigan enjoyed the better of the first half opportunities, Manchester United saw much more of the ball after the restart. As referee Mike Atkinson was either filled with Darwinism or else had got his whistle choked up with mud, Antolin Alcaraz finally received his second booking after a foolish challenge on Darren Fletcher in the 59th minute, while Hugo Rodallega was ordered off after a mindless attack on Rafael da Silva a few moments later. Javier Hernandez eventually came on for Michael Carrick midway through the second half, and the lethal striker sealed the points for Manchester United as he headed home a good cross from Rafael after 77 minutes of action. His fellow second half substitute Wayne Rooney should have scored in the dying moments of the match, but his effort went straight at away goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. After defeating neighbouring Wigan 2-0, Manchester United were now level on points with fellow Premiership title challengers Chelsea, who remained top on goal difference. Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, Rafael da Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Luis Nani, Michael Carrick, Federico Macheda, Ji-Sung Park, Gabriel Obertan. Substitutes: Jonathan Evans, Wayne Rooney, John O’Shea, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Javier Hernandez, Tomasz Kuszczak. Wigan Athletic Team: Ali Al Habsi, Antolin Alcaraz, Maynor Figueroa, Steve Gohouri, Steven Caldwell, Ronnie Stam, Jordi Gomez, Charles N’Zogbia, Mo Diame, Hugo Rodallega, Hendry Thomas. Substitutes: Mike Pollitt, James McArthur, Ben Watson, Callum McManaman, Victor Moses, Mauro Boselli, Franco Di Santo.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United defeated Wigan Athletic 3-1 on Boxing Day 2006. Following a goalless first 45 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo scored two early second half goals, including a penalty, before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added a third goal in the 59th minute of proceedings. The Latics, for their part, eventually had late consolation when Leighton Baines netted from the penalty spot in the final minute of the tussle.