Lately, being a fan has become a panicky affair for those who swear by the Red Devils. There are some moments in the match when you are watching and suddenly you see a wide open patch of grass in front of Vidic and Ferdinand. Sometimes an opposition player is running into it, bursting into this strangely-vacant midfield area with the ball, and you can see the likes of Scholes and Giggs turning and trying to catch up. This is where the panic sets in.
Sure enough, Rafael is looking around aimlessly, somewhere on the halfway line. He is not going to save the day, because he has run too far forward, probably trying to catch a butterfly that looked at him in a funny way. On bad days, things sometimes don’t go your way and somehow after giving the ball away less than a minute ago, Manchester United have conceded a goal and Vidic and/or Ferdinand are looking around for answers.
Against Wigan though, the only difference was that Lindegaard never had to pick the ball up from the net. Unfortunately for the away fans, Wigan did not have that last bit of trickery and skill to score a goal. Manchester United were hardly tested with Martinez’s men only managing only 1 shot on target .Victor Moses certainly would have made a difference as Wigan fired blanks.
Scholes on the other hand was on target, and took out 3 different Wigan players during the course of the match, those unlucky mortals who dared to venture into his area. Words cannot do justice to those “tackles”, so judge for yourself with these pictures below.
And he has been doing that for nearly all of his 700 games for Manchester United, and has picked up over 90 yellow cards and has been sent off 10 times. Some things never change, and Paul Scholes will never change. Thank god for that. He also managed a goal to mark the occasion, as it was business as usual in that department for Man United.
Without Valencia, Van Persie and Kagawa, much of the attacking onus was to fall on Welbeck and Chicharito. Aside from being heavily involved in the goals, the most noteworthy aspect of their game was how frequently the duo looked to switch positions. There were times when Hernandez and Welbeck were trading one-two’s in front of Wigan’s defense. Welbeck is already used to being involved in the build-up play, and he has the physique and ball-control to pull it off.
Hernandez looked awkward, but it’s possible he may have been instructed by Sir Alex to start helping out in attack and not just look to run behind the defense all the time. The comparisons with Solskjaer may be true to some extent, but Solskjaer was more than just a poacher. Hernandez’s all-round abilities are severely lacking when compared to Welbeck who had the license to roam about, so we might see the Mexican do this more often in the coming games.
No report on last night’s win would be complete without Alex Buttner’s mention. He has the fly-like temperament of Rafael, constantly in motion and always looking to do something. Buttner’s goal was a classic case of bumbling your way through defenders with sheer bloody-mindedness. A scrappy, unconvincing goal, but a convincing performance from the new man. Evra should be worried.
Nick Powell was apparently on the field amidst all the chaos, and managed to score a crisp goal. It first appeared to be a training ground drill, as Hernandez calmly teed up the ball for the debutant. A little swivel and a clean drive later, Powell had his first Man Utd goal.
Around the same time, Luis Suarez received a yellow card for diving in Liverpool‘s match against Sunderland. Danny Welbeck will feel left out as he did not get one for his superlative performance as well. He went down like a house of cards in the penalty box when Al Habsi charged out of his area to clear a loose ball. Order was restored as Al Habsi saved a weak penalty by Chicharito, and hopefully Danny Welbeck will be joining Ashley Young in the “Stop Diving” therapy group.
In between all this, Nani had one of his classic “bad days” at the office. It seemed as if he felt his team was playing too well, and presumably feeling sorry for Wigan, he decided to destroy all chances that came his way, just to level the playing field. As soon as the ball went to the Portugese winger, you could sense that it wasn’t going to stay with United for long. A lazy cross here, a half-hearted corner there, and after cutting in from the right wing, a customary left-footed shot that either gets blocked or goes way off target. When he is good, he is brilliant, and when he is bad he is awful.