Manchester United was able to preserve their seven point lead at the top of the Premier League table by comfortably beating Wigan away from home. Goals from Chicharito and Robin van Persie assured all three points for the Red Devils.
It would be safe to say Wigan never really showed up for this game but it did take United a little while to find their feet and get going at the DW Stadium. Nemanja Vidic was rested but Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed Rio Ferdinand and Rafael back into the starting lineup. The defense played solidly, albeit never really being tested in any meaningful way. A sluggish start by the visitors may have given plenty of teams the impetus to bomb forward and try and nick a goal but Wigan appeared just as lethargic, as if they expected to lose before the ball was kicked. Chicharito proved he was in goalscoring mood with the Mexican striker flagged offside after finishing on a number of occasions.
The breakthrough finally came after 35 minutes after Hernandez finally finished his first goal on the night after being in a good position to tap the ball home after a bumbling save from Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. United had finally shifted into gear and there was no stopping them as, not to be outdone, van Persie rounded a defender and cooly curved a ball past Al Habsi and into the net for United's second. United went into the break deservedly ahead 2-0 and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez knew it could have been much worse for his struggling side.
Very little changed in the beginning of the second half as United continued to press forward and it was all Wigan could do to keep United out. Some inspired substitutions by Martinez saw Wigan begin to enjoy more of the ball and create chances. Arouna Kone had thought he pulled one back for Wigan after 59 minutes but the linseman called the forward offside. United knew they needed another goal and Chicharito was happy to oblige when in the 63rd minute, the striker added his second of the match. At 3-0, the match was over as a contest and damage limitation must have entered Martinez' mind. Van Persie was able to add his second of the match in the 88th minute and United ran out of the DW as 4-0 winners and their seven point lead intact.
Man of the Match: Chicharito. The Mexican striker was champing at the bit to score goals and took his brace as well as any striker in Europe. Much has been made of the partnership between Wayne Rooney and van Persie but Chicharito is a vital part of United's team and is a major reason why the England forward has not been missed.
Wigan: Ali Al Habsi; Gary Caldwell (Ronnie Stam), Ivan Ramis, Maynor Figueroa: James McCarthy, James McArthur, Emmerson Boyce, Jean Beausejour; Arouna Kone, Franco Di Santo (Jordi Gomez), Shaun Maloney (Callum McManaman)
Manchester United: David de Gea; Rafael, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand (Chris Smalling), Jonny Evans; Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick (Shinji Kagawa), Ashley Young (Danny Welbeck), Tom Cleverley; Chicharito, Robin van Persie
Manchester United Next Match; West Ham (FA Cup) Away Saturday January 5Tags: Chicharito, DW Stadium, Manchester, Manchester United, Premier League, Roberto Martinez, Robin van Persie, Soccer, Wigan