Premier League – Deadly United blitz Wigan
A second-half goal blitz saw Manchester United put their Premier League campaign back on track with a 5-0 win at Wigan Athletic.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson’s side coasted to victory, nerves were starting to build after 56 goalless minutes, coming hot on the heels of a 1-0 defeat at Burnley in midweek.
The perpetrators of Wednesday’s worst misses, Owen and Michael Carrick, were dropped from the first team – Carrick did not even appear on the bench.
Berbatov replaced Owen and displayed energy and imagination in an encouraging performance. He backheeled to Paul Scholes in the seventh minute, but the normally deadly midfielder blazed a glorious chance over from the edge of the box.
The visitors continued to make all the running, with Rooney turning his man before shooting at Chris Kirkland, and Berbatov also heading straight to the Wigan goalkeeper.
However, they could not get over their impotence in front of goal, which was characterised when Rooney ran on to a sumptuous long through ball, but shot low at Kirkland’s legs when clean through.
No sooner had the second half started than another chance went begging as Valencia headed down for Rooney, who miscued his volley.
Just as the familiar arguments were being rehearsed about the impossibility of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo‘s goals, Rooney struck.
On 56 minutes, Antonio Valencia clipped in a right-sided cross against his former club, and Rooney rose to direct a firm header into the top-left corner and score his 100th goal for the Reds.
A minute later Wigan nearly levelled when Hugo Rodallega‘s looping header was saved well by Foster following a fine diagonal cross by Koumas.
Undeterred, United marched down the other end and made it two in breathtaking fashion.
Rooney found Scholes with a first-time ball and Scholes clipped a lob over the top for Berbatov. The Bulgarian lifted the ball over the onrushing Kirkland, met it on its way down and finished from a few yards.
There was still time for substitute Owen to net his first goal for United, running on to a Nani through-ball and clipping a deft left-foot shot in off the far post.
Nani himself scored the fifth, curling a 25-yard free-kick past the statuesque Kirkland.
Alex Chick / Eurosport