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Wigan 1-3 Man Utd

As the expression says, football is a game of two halves. At the JJB stadium this was certainly the case for United, who took a bunch of miserable supporters and gave them delight by full time.

Going 220 miles up north without a ticket in hand is a bit risky, but we took our chances and it all worked out ok. After a delightful breakfast as Wigan’s finest, ASDA, we made our way back to the stadium. I noticed that this was a friendlier place to come than most, and even the money we paid for the car park was for charity. Most of their supporters have come a long in the last few years only, unsurprising and understandable when you look at where they have come from, and many even wear shirts for other teams (namely Liverpool). For many Wigan may have always been their second team.

The stadium itself was good; steep stands, a large away allocation, close to the pitch and slightly more unique in design than the Boro, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Leicester, Deby style bowl shapes. United had the whole end behind one goal and the other stands were not at all full, with gaps at the sides of each.

The line up was announced and instantly it seemed lacking in width due to the injuries to Ronaldo, Giggs and Park. Relying on full backs for crosses is always risky, as is trying to play every attack down the middle. This was true from the kick off, with United lacking in ideas, unable to dominate midfield, and generally appearing poor. Baines scored a stunning free kick for Wigan after 4 minutes and United offered very little in return. Rooney continued to look weak, Saha’s first touch let him down, and the support in the away end started to become a little concerned. Rooney did manage the best effort of the half, with a stunning twisting run and shot than smashed off the crossbar, but that was about all there was to see. Wigan continued to ask questions of United and it certainly looked closer to becoming 2-0 than 1-1. The half time whistle sounded and the home fans celebrated as if they had won the world cup, having booed the ref in the count down the whistle sounding.

The second half, and the entrance of Ryan Giggs. Queue hope and expectation from the Reds, and Giggsy did not disappoint. The 4-4-2 system adopted and all of sudden the game changed. Within a minute Ole, superb for the whole game incidentally, cut inside and shot over the bar. Minutes later a scramble in the box nearly lead to a goal, and moments after that Saha shot wide following a stunning outside of the boot cross from Rooney. Game on.

Ten minutes later and we all felt a lot better with a 2-1 lead. Vidic powered in a great header from a Giggs corner and Saha latched on to another Rooney cross 5 minutes later to give United the lead. The United end was buzzing, people jumping all over each other, whilst the home fans hung their heads as if the inevitable had happened. From this moment on United never looked in danger of losing their lead. More chances were fashioned, the scoreline could have been a lot higher, and the style was really turned on. It was surely supposed to be in the script when Rooney of all people found Solskjaer of all people to smash in another in the dying seconds. Rooney’s passion was a big factor in the game turning, and Ole had looked truly horrified when Wigan scored. The final whistle sounded and Ole came over to the United end, arms raised and saluting our support. The response was deafening.

Wigan turned a little bitter and a few Munich arms and Scouse ‘5 times’ expressions were thrown in our direction. No doubt they will be as upset at the Scousers drawing as their second team losing to ‘Man U.’

Meanwhile, the Reds go marching on, on on! Bring on Liverpool. I’m off on holiday but will be reporting back next from Copenhagen away.

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1 Comment

  1. ayo :: January 3rd, 2009 8:36 pm

    i love the team expecially Ronaldo my best player.

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