Saturday, October 06, 2007

Shell shocked Wigan blown away 4-0 as the Reds finally get into the groove...

The Red Devils went into this league fixture on the back of many in the media asking questions about the lack of goals so far this season. Ferguson had an overnight central midfield selection headache due to injuries to Hargreaves and Carrick, as if to compound matters Saha then picked up an injury prior to kick-off in the warm-up so he missed the game.

In the end Ferguson opted to start with John O'Shea in midfield. However early in the first half Vidic sustained a head injury after colliding with Paul Scharner who later had another similar clash of heads with Patrice Evra. After much discussion the United manager eventually took off Vidic and replaced him with O'Shea, with Anderson coming on to shore up the midfield alongside Scholes.

Not long after the reshuffle O'Shea picked up an injury and he too was taken off and replaced by Danny Simpson, with Gerard Pique who'd started at rightback moving to the centre of the defence with Rio Ferdinand.

The net result of the re-shuffle and all of the changes was that United who'd started the game brightly enough became a bit disjointed and with Wigan parking their proverbial pie stall on the edge of their penalty area in a bid not to get beaten heavily the first half ended without too much goal action, though the recalled and on the day much improved Ryan Giggs created one great chance for Tevez to score only for the Argentine's effort to be blocked.

The Reds also had a decent shout for a penalty turned down when Brown made no attempt to play the ball when bundling over Ronaldo early in the game but ref Mike Riley seemed to be giving the visitors a little too much benefit of the doubt on the decisions.

As an attacking force Wigan did not offer that much, but the visitors nearly had a great chance to score when Paul Scharner was found lurking beyond Evra at the far post from a raking crossfield ball, but the Frenchman atoned for his positional error by making an unbelievable last-ditch chest-high recovery tackle clearance.

The second period started much like the first with United starting to pass the ball about with plenty of control. Giggs hit the crossbar with a good effort after being found at the far post. New boy Anderson at last started to show us the fans exactly why Fergie had paid a kings ransom to acquire him.

The little Brazilian looked much more at home than in any of his previous, albeit limited appearances so far, his passing was quick and incisive and he hit both long and short accurate passes. When the former Porto star lost the ball, which wasn't often, he was quick to try and win it back and he was nearly always there when the Reds needed him when defending.

When the breakthrough finally came it was a goal of the highest quality. Rooney received the ball just over the halfway line and his quick pass inside found the on rushing Anderson who dissected the Wigan back four with a lovely ball down United's right which found the feet of Tevez who raced in behind a defender, the Argentine held off the attentions of two defenders before he rounded keeper Chris Kirkland, only then could he fire home into the corner. It really was a fabulous opening goal.

It wasn't long before Ronaldo made it two-nil, Ryan Giggs crossed the ball from a short corner only for Wigan defender to deflect a header goalwards, Kirkland saved it initially but Ronaldo pounced to score with relative ease at the far post.

The Reds were starting to look rampant and Anderson, Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo all scented blood as they upped the tempo in a bid to end any further questions about the Reds ability to score goals. Wigan for their part didn't have a lot to offer, apart from when substitute Valencia brought out the very best in stand-in keeper Tomas Kuszczak when he made a great one handed save diving low to his right and then pushing the ball to relative safety.

United kept the visitors on the rack and deservedly scored another well worked goal, this time defender Gerard Pique played a lovely ball down United's left flank for Rooney to run onto and in turn his cutback found Ronaldo who hammered home his shot giving the keeper no chance to make it three-nil.

Rooney who'd worked hard all game long finally got the goal that he deserved when fullback Danny Simpson's beautifully weighed cross found the England striker unmarked inside the box and the former Everton man's powerful bullet headed finish did not disappoint the adoring Stretford End.

Ferguson will be especially delighted with Anderson and Tevez who worked like Trojans and really started to look at home at the club. There was other big plus points, Pique and Simpson did very well too. The fans and the media will talk about the goals, but importantly now Fergie knows he has plenty of genuine options regarding his squad, because much has been made about the lack of quality strength in depth at United. The revisionists are going to be busy says I in the weeks that lie ahead.


  1. Just got back from the match. First half was disappointing. I will put that down to the two enforced substitutions although when Vidic went off he appeared be talking for an age to the backroom staff, but not getting any treatment.

    Tevez was man of the match for me. He just didn’t stop. He reminds me of a Jack Russell. If that’s the sort of work rate we will be able to expect then I can see why he earned the reputation of singularly saving West Ham.

    Anderson looks strong & quick. This was his first real opportunity & he certainly played a valid role. Another impromptu performance came from Danny Simpson. He didn’t have a lot to do defensively but he wasn’t shy about getting forward & asking for the ball. In fact he was in Gary Neville type positions on several occasions when Ronaldo could have passed the ball but chose not to. Whether that is a “don’t trust the new boy” thing or just Ronaldo being Ronaldo I don’t know. All in all I was impressed with all three of the new kids.

    & the boy Rooney, well I just love him. Class.


  2. I agree with all of that, the score-line could have been much worse as far as Wigan are concerned. All in all an excellent day for United.

  3. Astounding game, I have to concede, the only question is whether this sort of form can be consistent.


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