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Wigan result is music to Roberto Mancini's ears

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Phil McNulty | 06:36 UK time, Thursday, 12 April 2012

At The DW Stadium

The soundtrack to survival accompanied Sir Alex Ferguson as he marched down the tunnel at The DW Stadium. What awaited Manchester United's players may not have been quite so melodic.

As Roberto Martinez enjoyed what he labelled "a historic performance" with Wigan's first win against United after 14 successive defeats, the significance of the victory was celebrated in song.

Wigan's DJ captured their mood with The Great Escape" theme and - just in case anyone missed the message - The Monkees' "I'm A Believer", "Let's Hang On" by Frankie Valli and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

It may now be a good idea to start spinning these tracks in August to convince Wigan that the season does not actually start when they are in dire trouble in the final weeks of the campaign. On the evidence of how they outplayed United, mid-table should be more familiar territory.

Shaun Maloney

Wigan's Shau Maloney scores his side's winner at DW Stadium. Photo: Empics

For Ferguson, this was a night when even the fire and fury he brought to bear in the technical area had no impact. Few were spared his anger, including Wayne Rooney when he was given a verbal and visible illustration of his manager's displeasure after coughing up possession tamely in the first half.

The importance of Wigan's win spread far and wide, from giving Manchester City hope where there appeared to be none to pushing themselves out of the bottom three for the first since 2 October and leaving Lancashire rivals Bolton and Blackburn deeper into trouble.

If the result was greeted ecstatically in Wigan, then the joy would have been just as great at Etihad Stadium as it afforded Manchester City the opportunity to close the gap on United to five points, while bolstering their goal difference with a 4-0 win against West Bromwich Albion.

It is still advantage United and while, as far as the title is concerned, Wigan may not have blown the door off its hinges they have pushed it slightly ajar for City.

After defeat at Arsenal on Sunday left Roberto Mancini's side eight points adrift, they needed something from somewhere to help them at least cling to the hope that the meeting with United at Etihad Stadium on 30 April could have something riding on it.

David Silva and Carlos Tevez

David Silva and Carlos Tevez scored in Man City's rout of West Brom. Photo: Getty

The night started with an examination of a possible sequence of results that could have seen United win the title this weekend but ended with just hope for Mancini and City that they will greet their neighbours with the big prize still on offer.

Much of this was down to a Wigan performance that made a nonsense of their status this season. If manager Martinez had been asked to describe a performance to fit his philosophy, this would have been it.

Wigan played in the passing style so beloved of their manager, but showed spirit, fight and steel that restricted United to one serious attempt on goal, a shot from substitute Danny Welbeck blocked by keeper Ali Al Habsi.

Martinez praised the "arrogance" of his players. He said: "We played eye to eye with United. It is a fantastic credit to this football club."

Ferguson was measured in his post-match analysis, accepting Wigan were worthy winners and lamenting an off night for his team - perhaps forgivable after eight straight Premier League wins.

We can only guess at what Ferguson's reaction was in the privacy of the dressing room, but out in open view he was as angry with his players as he has been for some considerable time.

Ferguson stood, clad in black, in his technical area for almost all of the first half. He was a study in frustration as arms waved, hands were stuffed into his pockets, fingers pointed. On occasions he crept out of his designated zone to inch closer to his players, irritated that his message was not getting across.

Rooney has been superb as United have reeled in City, but this was a night to forget. From that public rebuke from Ferguson to another from his team-mates following slack work at the corner that led to Shaun Maloney's 50th- minute winner, this was listless-looking Rooney.

It was a sign of his struggle that Ferguson felt the need to remove his talisman with 25 minutes left, despite United seeking inspiration for an equaliser. It was not a decision Rooney was minded to contest as he departed with a meek, resigned, touch of the hands with his manager.

United are still in a wonderful position to win the title and it will take some losing from here, but from the start they looked slack, almost complacent. This was in complete contrast to the team that faced them and the team they have been themselves in recent times.

Paul Scholes has been at heart of their move to the Premier League summit, working well in tandem with Michael Carrick in central midfield. He was rested here, so maybe it was no coincidence United lacked tempo, composure and someone to dictate terms when Wigan took control.

Perhaps, even subconsciously, some of United's players felt the job was done. Ferguson's demeanour, the fact that his players appeared suspiciously early for the second half and the menacing spring in his stride at the final whistle suggested they were about to receive a reminder to the contrary.

For enigmatic Wigan, this was a performance such quality that is should stand them in good stead for their final five games. The question is - why wait until these last few weeks to perform?

In a week when refereeing decisions have been questioned, both sides suffered. Wigan looked to have a goal harshly ruled out when Gary Caldwell was adjudged to have fouled United keeper David de Gea as Victor Moses headed in and United had a clear penalty ignored when Maynor Figueroa handled Phil Jones' cross late on.

United also had a complaint that the corner that led to Maloney's goal should not have been given - but Ferguson could have no complaints about the result and said so. The battle is still on.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    All good points; although I think the next two games will dictate where the title goes. City have two aways games on the bounce and United two home games. I don't think United's players have ever thought for a second that the title is over - I don't think SAF would allow that - but United were shocking!!

    As a United fan I have to say though credit must go mainly to Wigan for a terrific performance last night AND to Man City who were superb and clinical. Both teams could have put their heads down and felt sorry for themselves but they were both so good last night!! Is Aguero the best forward in the Premier League?!?! Possibly on last nights showing.

    Either way I cannot wait for the game at the Etihad - loving this seasons run in!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Great performance from City and Wigan. I have said it before and will say it again, this United side is not a great one. They have a manager who can almost turn water into wine and will probably see them over the line....but unless big investment is made in the summer I feel next seasons race will turn into a one horse race with City winning it by at leats 10 points. In Bobby we trust!

  • Comment number 3.

    Great result for Wigan and it looks like they'll perform another 'great escape'. If City are to reel in United further then they have to start performing away from home like they were between August and October. Norwich is a toughie at Carrow Road but they can do it.
    Both the disallowed Wigan goal and the non United pen cancelled themselves out so the result was fair. At least it might make for an exciting end to the season at the top of the league.
    By the way great to see Arsenal pull clear of the chasing pack for third. Ten points behind Spurs at one point - 'are you watching Tottenham'?!

  • Comment number 4.

    This is all quite interesting, but isn't 4th the new 1st in what we all appear to have signed up to..?

  • Comment number 5.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 6.

    Well, that was painful viewing. Wigan were by far the better team, I don't understand why more teams don't press us like that, it seems to be our main weakness. Still fancy us for the title but a few more performances like that and Man City could still nick it.

    I hope the game finally puts to bed the ridiculous notion that United get all the important decisions, denied a stonewall penalty and conceding from a corner that was a goal kick. About the only thing Phil Dowd got right was the obstruction on De Gea for Wigan's disallowed goal. Still, we shouldn't need to be moaning for penalties when playing Wigan and can't let a couple of bad decisions take away from the fact that we performed awfully. Hope Scholes is back for Villa at the weekend, he is our best midfielder by a country mile and he's 37 years old and was retired for half of the season!

  • Comment number 7.

    Utd should still get over the line but the fact that City played their best football in months when both the pressure was off them and that Tevez started shows how the have allowed the pressure to stifle their game and also that Mancini has been too stubborn in not playing Carlos more often since his return.

    Utd's next few aren't easy and the last game at Sunderland won't be the gimme that it would have been if 'ol pal' Bruce had still been in charge. The strangest thing about this season is that I do agree that this is merely a decent Utd team in comparison with previous years, however they can still rack up a very impressive points total. Does this illustrate Fergie's ability to maximise his teams performances or the weakness of our league?

  • Comment number 8.

    @ 6 Evans pushed the defender into De Gea, the goal should of said and your the first that has said this was the correct decision. Take the blinkers off.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    6.At 08:43 12th Apr 2012, The awkward facial hair of David De Gea wrote:
    Well, that was painful viewing. Wigan were by far the better team, I don't understand why more teams don't press us like that, it seems to be our main weakness. Still fancy us for the title but a few more performances like that and Man City could still nick it.

    I hope the game finally puts to bed the ridiculous notion that United get all the important decisions, denied a stonewall penalty and conceding from a corner that was a goal kick. About the only thing Phil Dowd got right was the obstruction on De Gea for Wigan's disallowed goal. Still, we shouldn't need to be moaning for penalties when playing Wigan and can't let a couple of bad decisions take away from the fact that we performed awfully. Hope Scholes is back for Villa at the weekend, he is our best midfielder by a country mile and he's 37 years old and was retired for half of the season!

    ----------------------

    I am the most ardent United fan; BUT we were just as lucky as we were unlucky last night - Wigan's goal should have stood and Evans should have seen Red.

    What was suprising last night was, once again, our lightweight midfield. But I think it was a blip. We have one 8 on the bounce; the way United often react to things and how badly we have played the last two games and 'got away with it' (Fulham & QPR), I think this loss to Wigan COULD be a blessing in disguise.

  • Comment number 11.

    When watching Utd I can usually see a tactical discipline. This means there is always someone pressing the opposition player in possession.

    Last night this was not the case, mostly, I think, because of Wigan's 3-4-3 formation. Their two wing-backs pegged back Valencia and Young, breaking the link between the wide areas and the strikers - hence Hernandez's complete anonymity.

    Utd were terrible, worse than against Bibao, and thoroughly deserved to be beaten.

  • Comment number 12.

    Wigan were excellent last night and both teams were lucky and unlucky...one of those games with lot's of mistakes that pretty much evened out, City were good but needed to be really! Villa at home is probably going to be the easiest 3 points of the season, only points way I can see back for us is Sunderland away on the last day of the season...could be all over by then though!

    Oh well at least my depression has temporarily lifted...fat ladies not singing just yet but she's warming up!

    UTD wont play that badly again so not getting any hopes up!

  • Comment number 13.

    7. At 08:50 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:

    He's not been match fit, not playing him and using him sparely was a no brainer!

  • Comment number 14.

    @6

    not really no I'm afraid and i doubt very much if af would have been so philosophical about it had he not have still been 5 points clear.

    Now on to a proper match:

    Well done The Arsenal, it was like Cats toying with Mice. but Ramsey yet again, oh dear me!

  • Comment number 15.

    Let's not all start arguing about whether or not things were fouls or penalties or corners or whatever.

    Wigan were the better team, they pressed United and without Scholes we didn't look able to retain possession which is a worry.

    I don't fully understand why Fergie persisted with Giggs he looked uncomfortable all night.

    My one concern is HOW ARE WE GOING TO REPLACE PAUL SCHOLES - STILL?!

  • Comment number 16.

    PHIL

    Wigan deserved it, no doubt. Pity WBA were so pathetic at Etihad, but they have nothing but pride to play for-Norwich are unlikely to roll over in front of their own fans as easily.

    However, not only was the Wigan goal rightly ruled out(Standing in the keeper's face went out with Jack Charlton, mate), their goal was from a corner that never was AND three Wigan players were offside as Maloney shot.

    Not to mention the handball AND Welbeck being pulled back by shirt and arm in the area, so in fact two clear pens missed for us.

    All in all, highly interesting a couple of days after Wigan get an apology from Mike Riley which blithley ignored the two pens Chelsea weren't awarded or the offside goal wrongly disallowed for them.

    About time we had four assistant refs in a game-aren't two pairs of eyes at all these incidents better help to whoever the ref is that just one? Also, wouldn't interrupt the flow like a 4th official video replay would.

    Finally, as Fergie said, we WOULD drop points, and we did. We are still in pole position and you wouldn't swap positions with Citeh, would you?

  • Comment number 17.

    16. At 08:59 12th Apr 2012, kickoutthejams wrote:

    HAHA brilliant! when Beckham scored from half way most of the team would have been off side, perhaps read the rule book!

    As for the disallowed goal...if you though that was a foul then I just don't know what to say! At least you got the corner that wasn't right I suppose!

  • Comment number 18.

    Here we go again!
    The press have been besotted with United's ability to dig out results throughout the season and especially during City's recent dip in form. The Lovefest for Fergie and his team has blinded everyone to their utter mediocrity; they have been living on the edge all season, getting one break after another to haul themselves through and relying on the self-made myth of invincibility. Foreign teams don't have that sense of psychological inferiority and insecurity that English teams bear when they play United. Last night, Wigan had nothing to lose and played in the manner of Bilbao, Basel or Benfica - fearlessly. If only Villa and Everton would do the same but I think we know the awe that their compatriot managers feel for Fergie and one of them probably thinks he is the natural successor. They will roll over.

    Nauseating to hear Fergie complain about the referee when Wigan actually scored two goals! But strangest of all was Hansen desperately identifying a SECOND penalty claim - even United fans don't know what he was on about!

    Mancini's mock innocent observations on the title race last night were extremely funny; it is amazing that much of the press this morning apparently still don't get it: he was merely mouthing back precisely their OWN words on Monday after the Arsenal/QPR fiasco! And then to say that he didn't realise that United were playing last night .....brilliant!

  • Comment number 19.

    However, not only was the Wigan goal rightly ruled out(Standing in the keeper's face went out with Jack Charlton, mate), their goal was from a corner that never was AND three Wigan players were offside as Maloney shot.

    Not to mention the handball AND Welbeck being pulled back by shirt and arm in the area, so in fact two clear pens missed for us.

    -------------------

    The Wigan goal should have stood and Evans should have seen red. Wigan were by FAR the better team and deserved a little luck after the farce that was the Chelsea match.

  • Comment number 20.

    This match really highlighted the fact United still need an experienced world class midfielder to replace Scholes. We looked hopeless without him, we could hardly string together 3 passes. Cleverley, while having a bright future will not be it for a while.

    Modric, Silva, Iniesta, Xavi, or someone in the mould. If this is Scholes last season, Modric looks like the most likely replacement.

  • Comment number 21.

    Tevez may not have been match fit but surely 45-60mins from a man with a point to prove would have been preferable to Balotelli & Dzeko's recent form. I don't like Tevez as a man but as a player he is the sort who will chase everything on drive others on within the team.

  • Comment number 22.

    20. At 09:05 12th Apr 2012, McK wrote:

    I think he'll go one more, don't you?

  • Comment number 23.

    Wasn't able to see the game last night but I always fear the worst when I see Giggs as part of a two man central midfield. Lightweight and doesn't contribute enough to play that role in my opinion. When he does get involved he occassionaly produces moments of brilliance but more likely to give the ball away. Anyway, hope we take this as a warning and get back on it for the remainder of the games. Well done Wigan - I hope you do manage to stay up.

  • Comment number 24.

    The only thing that can stop United winning this title is their own arrogance and complacency. They have a much easier run-in. Even if they lost at City it would take some shocking performances not to get 12 points from the other four games.

  • Comment number 25.

    Frankly just fed up with the overhyping of these so called passing teams - Wiganalona, Swansealona, even the mighty Barcelona all have one other thing in common - an absolute cycncism in allowing the opposition to play the same flowing football - how many times last night did a Wiginista leave a foot in or blantenly pull back a breaking opposition player ? We also see it at Camp Nou - it seems if we get the flowing football tag all hystrionics and downright cheating with have a blind eye turned to it. A couple of bookings early on from Referee Dowd would have put a stop to it.
    Don't get me wrong I thought Wigan were magnificent last night totally dominated and bullied Man Utd off the park. Let's be objective though, what Mr McNulty refers to as "steel" and "fight" in any other book would be classed as cheating
    (And they say the big clubs get all the decisions...LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL)

  • Comment number 26.

    21. At 09:05 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:

    No I do agree there but how can you drop Dzeko for Tev given whats gone on...bet he's secretly delighted that Balo has been banned so he can use Tev without having to drop someone "for Tevez the elusive"

  • Comment number 27.

    Phil
    How refreshing for a manager to have no complaints after a defeat.
    The incompetent ref excuse was wearing thin along with the conspiracy theories.
    Wigan were desperately unlucky last week with decisions.

    It's almost that as long as a team finishes in the top 4 its success. The title is not as sought after as previously.

    'First is everything second is nowhere' no longer applies.

    A poor/wrong decision probably affects the finances of the relegation scrappers more than the top 4. Or should I say top 8 to be mindful of L'pool paranoia.

  • Comment number 28.

    Or should I say top 8 to be mindful of L'pool paranoia.
    ----------------------
    Oi leave it out, top class "top ten" team they are!

  • Comment number 29.

    Man Utd's passing has been awful for quite awhile now. If they don't beat Aston Villa convincingly then I can see Everton getting a result. And if there are only 2 points in it come the derby, I'd put money on Man City getting the result they need, after that I don't see them making the same mistake twice. Man Utd also have two very tough games after the derby - Swansea, who were unlucky last time the teams met and Sunderland away, which will not be an easy game! The only tests left for Man City (aside from the derby) are Norwich and Newcastle away.

    Ryan Giggs in the middle just doesn't work for me, he gives it away far too easily and only occasionally produces something to create a goal - he's better putting in the crosses but sadly he doesn't have the legs to play on the wing anymore. Man Utd need Paul Scholes from now until the end of the season or a fit and in-form Cleverly... midfield is once again the major problem area.

  • Comment number 30.

    Man Utd's passing has been awful for quite awhile now
    --------------

    Disagree with that. Against Blackburn we passed them to death and at QPR we actually overpassed it - it was like watching Arsenal at times; we were scared to shoot.

    Wigan just didn't let us have time on the ball and with our wingers not playing well (Valencia & Young last week were world class - what a difference a week makes hey?!) we just couldn't assert our authority on the game.

  • Comment number 31.

    We were very poor last night, didnt deserve a thing out of the game. Ok, their goal came from a false corner but then again, there wasn't anything wrong about Moses' disallowed goal! We could've got awarded a pen for the handball but it would've been very harsh.

    The title race IS NOT over yet. 'City were emphatic last night and if they repeat them in the next 2 weeks, we need to be alert. I fully expect us to beat Villa on Sunday as well as 'City beating Norwich. The Everton game will be very difficult. ppl talk about the Derby on April 30th but the Everton game is very crucial!

    @15.... this brings me to my final point!
    Scholes was sorely missed last night and it's a pure coincidence that our brilliant form from mid-January has been down to him. Fergie made the right decision to get him back again instead of wasting £35 mill on Sneijder who has been really poor this season in Serie A. However, we DO need to replace Scholes 1 day and also boost the central midfield! That area arguably cost us the game last night. Giggs is not a proper central midfielder and Carrick had an off night. Some1 like Javi Martinez or Yann M'Vila would've imposed on the game and not let Wigan over-run us. It's just purely amazing that we haven't bought any central midfielder since the summer of 2007. It's been obvious that our midfield is unpractical and many Red Devil fans have been screaming about it for a long time!
    We need 2 central midfielders and preferably an attacking midfielder! Martinez/M'Vila who can provide strength and nastiness. Some1 like Modric who is more than capable of doing what Scholes does best! We also need more creativity in and around the box, Hazard, Kagawa or even Ronaldo would help us. Leave the strikers as it is, we have promising players coming up from the youth i.e Will Keane and Joshua King! I can sense a possible treble next season IF.... we pull our finger out and improve the engine room drastically!

  • Comment number 32.

    Everyone keeps talking about United's games totally forgetting City have to go to Norwich and win as well as the Geordies.

    There away form has been shocking and now the pressure is back on.

    If United go into the derby 5 points ahead and lose they only need to beat Swansea at home to win the league and City are at Newcastle that week. United win next 2 games and title will be done

  • Comment number 33.

    Kicboy, remember only a couple of years ago people were bemoaning the monopoly the "big 4" had on the Premier League. If someone that had not been following the league came in now, they'd have trouble identifying who those 4 clubs were. Whilst United, Arsenal and Chelsea are still there or thereabouts, Liverpool have fallen away to mid-table and Newcastle, Spurs and City have muscled in. Arguably Everton would be a threat if their owners were as ambitious as the manager. For the likes of Wigan, Swansea and Norwich, they aspire to simply survive, but they have all shown exceptional entertainment. Stoke City have been very effective and fully deserve to be knocking on the door of the top 10. Most seasons once or two clubs start to pull away towards the end of the season, exactly as now. This has been one of the most fascination Premier League seasons ever, more great goals, more shocks, and some great football. Yes money does make a difference but nobody broke any existing rules, and the rules in place were accepted by the clubs in the competition. So why pick now to make your comment, Arguably there are 5 or 6 clubs capable of winning the Premier League next season, and expand that to 8 or even 10 who might squeeze in for a CL place. I think that is great for the game.

  • Comment number 34.

    United's luck ran dry, but at least the penalty/corner decisions last night should serve to at least slow the 'United get easy ride from refs' bandwagon. Nut no arguing with the result...wigan were outstanding. Giggs not the same as Scholes in the middle, fantastic though the Welshman is...Villa game crucial now

  • Comment number 35.

    #17

    You just keep taking the pills, pal.

    There were actually five Wimbledon players between the nearest United player and Segers that day. You do actually know the difference between football & rugby's offside laws, I trust.

    #29

    It doesn't matter how Villa are beaten, as long as they are beaten. Everton, meanwhile, will be playing us the week after a Cup Semi, so will either be trying to pick themselves up after defeat by their bitterest rivals or starting to think of a Wembley date.

    #25

    You are quite right-but only the so-called little teams are allowed to do this with impunity-that's probably how they define a level playing-field! So, as soon as Wigan get a perceived injustice highlighted, the officials give them every single decision in the next match.

  • Comment number 36.

    Well it's not exactly "music to Mancini's ears" Phil when the headline on the same web page says, "Mancini admits race is over, five points is too much". I am begining to have serious doubts about Bobby's managerial skill. The Tevez and Balotelli stuff was badly handled with too many public pronouncements. In the case of Tevez, going back on what he said, "he is finished with Man City". A few days ago he was saying publicly the same sort of things about Balotelli but does he mean it. I also read this morning that he didn't realise that Man Utd were playing Wigan last night, he said that he thought it was on Thursday. What is going on? He seems to have no control over what comes out of his mouth and he will need to address this problem before next season. He can learn from Fergie who was visably angry with his team last night players and God knows what he said to them afterwards, but that is the point it's not public and stays within the dressing room.

  • Comment number 37.

    @32 Don't kid yourself, City fans are going to enjoy the rest of this campaign no matter what, OK if we lose 7-1 at home to United the Poznan might go missing. United have been affected by the media's assumption that it was all over, I suggest the fat lady needs to rest her voice for a couple more weeks at least. No pressure on City, but we'll be there ready to pick up on one more slip up before the big one. Personally I think the games City have with Newcastle and United with Sunderland might be as crucial as the derby, but who knows?

  • Comment number 38.

    Looking past the end of this season (and i really hope Wigan stay up-not only is Martinez a good manager but he's a good bloke too and its good to see a chairman sticking by a manager for once-Wolves take note) I think its is high time Utd bought big for their CM-its like seeing an episode of Last of The summer wine with Utd's central MF when are they going to renew. they need a Keane type player and another Scholes. For Scholes they should go all out for Modric but for Keane there isnt a ready replacement.

    Also need to replace Wellbeck-if hes the answer i dont know what the question is-a very poor striker.

    city have lost it cos of injuries, key players go off the boil, poor manager decisions and tactics and 2 players in the ranks who should not be part of any title push next season (Balotelli and tevez).

  • Comment number 39.

    Bad night for us, good night for City. Shows all the 'title race is over' suggestions from some people were very hasty, despite Mancini's latest primary school standard attempts at mind games (8 points behind - title race isn't over. 5 points behind - it's over?!) City's home form is not their problem, they've got a tricky away game at an in-form Norwich now so we'll see what happens on Sunday.

    The pressure has been massively increased on both teams now.

  • Comment number 40.

    35. At 09:26 12th Apr 2012, kickoutthejams wrote:

    So what your telling me is (let's use Scholes as an example) A corner comes in....is headed away to the edge of the box and Scholes drills one in to the back of the net at his usual 300mph but someone is in an off side position...then it should be flagged for off side? - Brilliant!

  • Comment number 41.

    33> Nobody broke any rules - but the rules are made by the Premier League and whilst this is dominated by clubs with money - the rules on curbing the spending power of the bigger clubs will never change. The title race this season has not been refreshing in my opinion - simply because Man. City have bought themselves their chance. The same as Chelsea used to - when they had a manager who knew how to spend it wisely.

    I really miss the days when given a good manager, with an eye for the right player, a fair wind and a bit of luck the smaller clubs could challenge at the top of table and give the so called BIG clubs a run for their "bags of" money. That would be truly refreshing.

  • Comment number 42.

    36. At 09:29 12th Apr 2012, SonofSyd wrote:

    Open a dictionary and look up the word sarcasm! (he's settling in to England after all) did you not see the stupid grin on his face?

  • Comment number 43.

    I have to admit I was happy to see Whelan(?), the Wigan owner, happy at the end of the match. Wigan deserved to win last night. Besides their unjust demands for that goal to be allowed - it was obstruction to the keeper - and the fact that their goal should be a free kick and the penalty not given to United (rubbing it to the anti-United bandwagon claiming United get all decisions), United weren't at the races last night.

    Wigan were the best performers and won on merit. They applied pressure to United from start to finish and restricted United to one(?) real threat against their goalkeeper.

    In any case, it does justice to them. Many decisions, blatant, went against them this season. Good luck to them.

    In addition, I was glad to read Mancini realised the title race is over this season. He surely isn't given his first essay on mindgames because I couldn't stop laughing with his latest statement. Funny man.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's time for an independent investigation into the big decisions United constantly get.

  • Comment number 45.

    We have a £30 million striker who goes by the name of Dimitar Berbatov who hasn't even made the bench in the past few weeks. He would have suited this game down to the ground. Where is he?! Anyway, still no excuses for that pathetic performance. Fairplay to Wigan.

  • Comment number 46.

    @37 No pressure on City? Maybe not the fans but clearly Mancini's comments were said to take pressure off. Facts are if you want to win the title you have to beat Norwich away and probably Newcastle and the away form has been shocking.

    Last night there was no pressure hence the free flowing football. If that continues between now and end of the season fair play but recent form suggests otherwise.

    If United win next 2 games then they can lose to City and win league following week at home to Swansea hence next 2 games crucial

  • Comment number 47.

    Wigan win gives Man C a chance but Mancini said title race is over. How on Earth can Mancini say that…why is he still content playing mind games with SAF? 5 points in 5 games is achievable so Manchester derby should be all but fireworks!!!

    Arsenal v Wolves was a no contest after 10 minutes. We were 2-0 up and they were a man down… we just passed the ball around without any real urgency. We are in same boat as United... 5 points above Spurs, Newcastle and 7 above Chelsea… cannot afford slip ups against weak teams…they can surprise anybody on their day.

  • Comment number 48.

    15 said it, scholes was missed last night. He would have changed the pace and calmed things down and give Wigan less of the ball.

  • Comment number 49.

    Didn't watch the game, wasn't expecting the result. Credit to Wigan, but we're still 5 points clear.

    We don't deserve to win the league if we can't hammer the awful villa side.

    Surprise, surprise the Bertie's will be creeping out of the woodwork again!

  • Comment number 50.

    44.At 09:35 12th Apr 2012, dogeared wrote:
    It's time for an independent investigation into the big decisions United constantly get.

    ------------------

    *slaps forehead*

  • Comment number 51.

    Whats going on here, this thread is turning into a sensible discussion!!! Oh i've just realised Soul Patch isn't on here yet, where is he double maths...........

  • Comment number 52.

    Fair play to Wigan they deserved it, again no scholes and we drop points!!! says alot for scholes.

    im hoping all these city fans that have disappeared over the last couple of weeks arent going to show up today..........

  • Comment number 53.

    Thanks for all the early replies. Think most would agree it was a deserved win by Wigan. Such a puzzling side - only seem to really get going late on in the season.

    Wigan fans - do you think you can escape relegation now?

    And United fans - you're still in a great position but did anything worry you last night? I thought United looked listless and complacent from the start. How much did they miss Paul Scholes.

    All thoughts welcome here on all aspects of the title and relegation issues. Manchester City fans feel free to join in. Do you have hope again after last night?

  • Comment number 54.

    44.At 09:35 12th Apr 2012, dogeared wrote:
    It's time for an independent investigation into the big decisions United constantly get.
    =============================================================
    you should really get a hobbie

  • Comment number 55.

    52. At 09:40 12th Apr 2012, King Red wrote:
    --------------
    Um.. I've been on holiday guv :)

  • Comment number 56.

    41.At 09:34 12th Apr 2012, rogerbold wrote:
    I really miss the days when given a good manager, with an eye for the right player, a fair wind and a bit of luck the smaller clubs could challenge at the top of table and give the so called BIG clubs a run for their "bags of" money. That would be truly refreshing.

    Those days never really existed. When the likes of Nottingham Forest were winning titles and European Cups they were as big as anyone else (remember the first million pound player). The difference between then and now is that in those days wealth came from ticket sales, not some rich foreign owner. You could argue that these days small clubs like Chelsea and City have more chance, they just needed to be lucky enough to be in the right place when a billionaire stuck his pin in the PL table.

  • Comment number 57.

    And United fans - you're still in a great position but did anything worry you last night? I thought United looked listless and complacent from the start. How much did they miss Paul Scholes.

    ------------------------

    I don't think they did. I think the problem was our wingers. When our midfield gets pressed we always spread the ball out wide and we just didn't do that last night. Carrick and Giggs were not allowed to get into their passing game and, when we did, our final ball just wasn't good enough.

    I think it was a blip - but as I said before, I think we have been fairly lucky against the likes of QPR, Fulham and Blackburn to a certain extent so I think this loss could be a blessing in disguise!!

  • Comment number 58.

    What happened with the corners/penalties? i didnt see any of the match.

  • Comment number 59.

    39.
    At 09:32 12th Apr 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    Bad night for us, good night for City. Shows all the 'title race is over' suggestions from some people were very hasty
    _________________________________________

    No hasty at all.
    City will drop at least 4 more points ( not taking the game into account at the Etihad) , that means Utd will have to lose 3 more games.
    I dont think anyone can see Utd losing 3 of their remaining games.

  • Comment number 60.

    59. At 09:48 12th Apr 2012, repo wrote:

    -----------------

    Blimey, know that as fact do you?

  • Comment number 61.

    11.At 08:54 12th Apr 2012, Daniel Thomas wrote:
    When watching Utd I can usually see a tactical discipline. This means there is always someone pressing the opposition player in possession.

    Last night this was not the case, mostly, I think, because of Wigan's 3-4-3 formation.
    ______________________

    They should have just pinged the ball out in the wide areas and got the two full backs to double up. This would have caused the central midfielders for wigan to track back thus opening up space in the centre. There's a reason why few teams employ wing backs these days.

    It's worrying we're sometimes tactically out-thought by something basic, or simple to counter. We had the same problem v city in 2nd half of the FA cup.

  • Comment number 62.

    Ablsolute rubbish from us yday, cant believe how devoid of ideas we were. Wigan fully deserved the win, well done i hope they stay up

    another shocking refereeing perforance though
    -disalowed goal should have stood
    -evans should have seen red
    -no corner for the goal
    -penalty not given
    -wellbeck pulled back when in on goal

    the decisions pretty much evaned themselves out last night as we and wigan both benifited

  • Comment number 63.

    58.At 09:45 12th Apr 2012, King Red wrote:
    What happened with the corners/penalties? i didnt see any of the match.

    ---------------

    Wigan had a goal disalllowed for obstruction on the keeper (the Wigan player didn't move and De Gea did some sort of Matrix style-bullet motion lean back to make it appear like obstruction. Very harsh on Wigan).

    Wigans goal came from a corner which was actually a goal kick.

    United should have had a penalty - Wigan player flung out his arm to stop a cross. It was so blantant and the officials were so poor that I wondering if he had just simply caught the ball and ran away with it, it wouldn't have made any difference.

    Evans should have been sent off for two bookable tackles.

    Cannot emphasise how poor United were, but credit to Wigan - they were superb last night!! As were City *grumbles*

  • Comment number 64.

    Those days never really existed. When the likes of Nottingham Forest were winning titles and European Cups they were as big as anyone else.

    Really. Norwich City, West Ham, Spurs have all challenged at the top of the league in the days when money didn't dominate. You probably can't remember it because football only probably started for you when Man. Utd won their first title for an age back in the early 1990s.

  • Comment number 65.

    as a gunner myself im delighted the title race is still open(though man u are massive favourites,they cant play that horribly every week can they)

    it was just deserts that man u have had calls go against them as most man u fans will admit deep down refs favour them in the important moments year single year for the whole premier league era.and im delighted for wigan at the mid point of the season i wanted bolton,wigan and wolves to go down just for the fact that bolton and wigans stadiums are under half full for the whole season and teams like southhampton and west ham fill theirs every 2nd week with passion and unmatched enthusiasim.but the drive this wigan team is showing is unreal 4 wins out of 5 and the one they lost the ref and assisants robbed them.i hope they stay up now,but im torn between blackburn and qpr

    proud of the gooners 9 wins in 10,where are the 5pur2 fans now,crawlinmg under thier rock i think after being put in their place,always below arsenal,lol

  • Comment number 66.

    58.
    At 09:45 12th Apr 2012, King Red wrote:

    What happened with the corners/penalties? i didnt see any of the match.
    _______________________________________________

    1.Legitimate goal from Wigan disallowed
    2.Corner given to Wigan incorrectly
    3.Handball for a penalty not given to Utd
    4.Johnny Evans very lucky not to see red.
    5.Phil Jones also not booked for a handball before he was later booked for a foul.

  • Comment number 67.

    I got 4 hours sleep last night as a result of last night's game. I hate title races! Still think United are in much the better position, however, the safety net has now gone.

    If United win their next two (very winnable) home games, it will ensure United can afford a loss at the Etihad. But now it's got very tight, suddenly, I can't see Norwich getting anything from City on Saturday.

    Hoping otherwise!

    http://doug-elder.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/why-cant-i-support-port-vale.html

  • Comment number 68.

    56.At 09:44 12th Apr 2012, SeeDubya wrote:

    "You could argue that these days small clubs like Chelsea and City have more chance, they just needed to be lucky enough to be in the right place when a billionaire stuck his pin in the PL table"

    Do I detect a hint of jealousy there?

  • Comment number 69.

    60.
    At 09:49 12th Apr 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    Blimey, know that as fact do you?
    ________________________________

    That is an assumption on the most probable outcome, the only thing certain in life is death and taxes.

  • Comment number 70.

    No one has mentioned nearly 10 mins of Fergie time at the end ! Extraordinary.

    Wigan's first disallowed goal should have stood. The goalie made no attempt to get get clear plus Evans pushed the player onto him.
    Evans should have had a red card. Cannot believe he stayed on. As he was easily United's worst player, they may have improved if he had gone off.
    The corner that wasn't. Well it took a dozen replays to see that so you can't exactly call it a ref blunder.
    The handball. Yes, that was a huge mistake from the ref but Wigan should have been 2 goals up and cruising against 10 men.

    Either way, even though I am City to the core, I can't see us winning the title this year even though we will beat Man U . Their run in is just too easy. Everton will roll over as instructed to do by their manager, SAF ;) Swansea appear to have gone on their hols a month early and M. O'Neill is never going to put one over his best buddy and future employer.

  • Comment number 71.

    What happened with the corners/penalties? i didnt see any of the match.


    well wigans goal came from a corner which never was, the wigan player kicked it off himself

    and the penalty claim was from when valencia croosed it in and i believe diame who was about 15yards away just seemed to fall over and the ball clearly struck his arm preventing the cross in

    however take nothing away from wigan we got favourable decisions aswell when they had a goal disalowed for basically nothing and evans got away with a 2nd yellow after a really bad challenge from behind

  • Comment number 72.

    proud of the gooners 9 wins in 10,where are the 5pur2 fans now,crawlinmg under thier rock i think after being put in their place,always below arsenal,lol

    -----------------

    Yea credit to Arsenal!! Funny how before Christmas lots of Gunners were calling for Arsene to be sacked :) Great manager - great team. You NEED to hold onto RVP!!

  • Comment number 73.

    united will still win, this just adds a bit more drama. (from an arsenal fan)

  • Comment number 74.

    @9 Could not agree more about your comment on Liverpool

  • Comment number 75.

    No one has mentioned nearly 10 mins of Fergie time at the end ! Extraordinary


    you mean 5mins and 20 secs from a minimum of 5mins? behave yourself, wigan were time wasting from about the hour mark( which they were perfectley entitled to) aslong as it gets added on at the end

  • Comment number 76.

    A result that typified this season. Its a poor, mundane league basically. Utd should still limp over the line though. The sad thing is that Man C will win it one day, next season probably.

  • Comment number 77.

    44.At 09:35 12th Apr 2012, dogeared wrote:
    It's time for an independent investigation into the big decisions United constantly get.
    __________________

    Like the two penalties they got?

  • Comment number 78.

    If Utd do go on to claim another title this season do you think much work needs to be done on the side and if s which positions? Seems strange to think that a side that is looking good for another title needs work but I think Rio's legs are gone, the right-back position isn't sorted and centre midfield remains a problem.

    Do Utd fans agree?

  • Comment number 79.

    @69.At 09:53 12th Apr 2012, repo wrote:

    "That is an assumption on the most probable outcome, the only thing certain in life is death and taxes"

    Tell that to Rangers.

  • Comment number 80.

    69. At 09:53 12th Apr 2012, repo wrote:

    I do hate taxes! - Think we'll maybe drop points at Newcastle (am loving them this season)

  • Comment number 81.

    64. At 09:51 12th Apr 2012, rogerbold wrote:
    You probably can't remember it because football only probably started for you when Man. Utd won their first title for an age back in the early 1990s.

    Since I am an ageing Liverpool supporter that statement couldn't be more wrong!

    @68. No jealousy at all, just a statement of fact. I hate United as much as anyone but at the end of the day their success is due to their own efforts, any success City have, like Chelsea's, will not be.

  • Comment number 82.

    78. At 09:59 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:

    If I were Fergie I'd buy Walker from Spurs and M'Villa

  • Comment number 83.

    Evans should never have received a 1st yellow so talking about a red is hilarious.

  • Comment number 84.

    The reality now is that if Man City can win their next three games, the gap will be just two points with two matches remaining. Very exciting and who would have thought that just a few days ago.

    As ever with City though, their next two games are away from home so they could easily drop more points themselves. Neither United or City have been playing to their potential in recent weeks, the difference is that United have been efficient and clinical where City have just been poor.

    City have a massive game next away to Norwich. Win that and heap the pressure back onto United as they play the day afterwards. Everyone says United have the experience yet last night, without Scholes and with Rooney largely off-form, they were outplayed by Wigan.

    The key here is that it isn't enough for City to win all their matches. They need another favour from an Everton or a Sunderland. Factor that in with the thought that City have three tough away games in their final five fixtures, and it still looks like United's title to lose.

    Ferguson has always been the master of the run-in. But last night the Scot was helpless as his team fell apart. It is a sign of weakness that will encourage City in a big way. United should still win the league, but with City's big players finding their form, it will certainly be far more interesting than many thought it would be....

  • Comment number 85.

    75.
    At 09:57 12th Apr 2012, united_kaz wrote:
    No one has mentioned nearly 10 mins of Fergie time at the end ! Extraordinary

    you mean 5mins and 20 secs from a minimum of 5mins? behave yourself, wigan were time wasting from about the hour mark( which they were perfectley entitled to) aslong as it gets added on at the end
    ____________________________________________

    The confusion occurred because the game finished at 9:41 pm which was displayed on the stadium clock.
    Some people mistook this for 9 minutes and 41 seconds of extra time

  • Comment number 86.

    Now watch us win it! Genuinely believe that if we win our 5 remaining games ManUre will slip up again! Believe

  • Comment number 87.

    81. (SeeDubya) Anybody who wins the league deserves too. That holds true whether you have spent millions on buying the best players or you are a small provincial club from nowhere. If Man. City win it they deserve it. Same applies to United.

  • Comment number 88.

    13.At 08:56 12th Apr 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    7. At 08:50 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:

    He's not been match fit, not playing him and using him sparely was a no brainer!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I disagree. The best way for a player to become match fit is by playing games. Being thrown in for 10-20 minutes in tough games which are not going for your team are not the answer.

    An unfit Tevez would have been of far more use to start than Balotelli in recent games, who has been shocking since that late Friday night.

  • Comment number 89.

    What exactly are Man City's chance? I still don't see it. Yes the title is not mathematically impossible but what would you attribute a colossal mental breakdown (which is what is required) of United to? It just isn't going to happen. And talks about next year. Well we've all heard that before haven't we? Rememeber this #20 is coming home with the worst injury list of any campaign in the last 20 years. So if anything "this worst United side in living memory" (as some bitter fans like to repeat) is going to win the title convincingly while crippled, in decline, being outspent and not even helped by refs!!!

    Let's have a blog about the relegation battle now.

  • Comment number 90.

    In answer to swindonbluearmy @42
    No I didn't see the grin on his face, I did say that I READ the comment. However, thank you for pointing out that Mr Mancini has added satirical eloquence to his undoubted sartorial elagence. I wish I had seen him make the comment, probably as good as Martin Jol's attempt at a ephemism a few years back. "It's just not my piece of cake".

  • Comment number 91.

    78.At 09:59 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:
    If Utd do go on to claim another title this season do you think much work needs to be done on the side and if s which positions? Seems strange to think that a side that is looking good for another title needs work but I think Rio's legs are gone, the right-back position isn't sorted and centre midfield remains a problem.

    Do Utd fans agree?

    ---------------------

    Completely. Althought Rio has been pretty good the last few games so I don't think he is done yet; Rafael is a liability up that side, our midfield has needed work for a few seasons now. I also think we need a striker I think; with Berbatov and Owen going (will anyone notice?!) and Welback inconsistant - we need someone so we are not relying on Rooney the whole time.

    I think the basis for another United team to dominate is their - it needs work though as it is probably isn't even the second best team in the premiership man to man.

  • Comment number 92.

    @waltham united

    i was 1 of them to be brutally honest,i thought he took us as far as he could and he was being strangled by the board and the owner/owners who knows.i still have doubts but if he can buy well in the summer( i say well not being ripped of and outmatched by man city,etc,etc) and keeping van the man,i have a slight feeling that he might stay,if i've jinxed it,fml

  • Comment number 93.

    78.At 09:59 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:
    If Utd do go on to claim another title this season do you think much work needs to be done on the side and if s which positions? Seems strange to think that a side that is looking good for another title needs work but I think Rio's legs are gone, the right-back position isn't sorted and centre midfield remains a problem.

    Do Utd fans agree?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    To suggest otherwise would be papering over the cracks. The league is the bread and butter yes, but they can't afford to perform like they have done in Europe next season. The fact that they have been dismantled in Europe by the likes of Basil and Bilbo suggests that their impressive points total is largely down to (a) the team being well geared to take care of Premier League sides and (b) the overall poor quality of the EPL.

  • Comment number 94.

    I've read some biased, idiotic posts in my time on these blogs, but post number 16 is a different level. As Waltham United said, he/she is a big United fan, but knows Wigan's goal should have stood. Jonny Evans pushed Caldwell into De Gea, even then he only just tickled him. I don't even think De Gea complained did he? Either way, as most people are saying, well done Wigan, great win, and I for one hope this opens the title race up again. United draw once and lose against City...one can dream.

  • Comment number 95.

    92.At 10:14 12th Apr 2012, adrenilenepotato wrote:
    @waltham united

    i was 1 of them to be brutally honest,i thought he took us as far as he could and he was being strangled by the board and the owner/owners who knows.i still have doubts but if he can buy well in the summer( i say well not being ripped of and outmatched by man city,etc,etc) and keeping van the man,i have a slight feeling that he might stay,if i've jinxed it,fml

    -------------------

    I think Arsene's problem is the same as Ferguson; they are old sKool managers (I spelt school like that as I am 'wak' and 'down with the kids') - they are never going to be told what to pay and whom to buy; they both get stubborn and want to do things on their terms (look at Fergusons lack of recruitment in our midfield!!).

    I think RVP is absolutely key to Arsenal; be great to watch him play this season and not have it broken up by injuries. It would be a disaster to Arsenal (and United to a certain extenet) if he turned up at City.

  • Comment number 96.

    91.At 10:13 12th Apr 2012, Waltham_United wrote:
    ________________

    Hernandez has been absolutely awful of late! The boy needs to put his head down and work on his movement and link up play.

  • Comment number 97.

    @94 most hopeful Man City fans produce posts of a different level. Such is their anti-United bias. Hard to swallow that so much money bought you only a ticket to next year's CL (group stages).

  • Comment number 98.

    78.At 09:59 12th Apr 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:
    If Utd do go on to claim another title this season do you think much work needs to be done on the side and if s which positions? Seems strange to think that a side that is looking good for another title needs work but I think Rio's legs are gone, the right-back position isn't sorted and centre midfield remains a problem.

    Do Utd fans agree?
    ________________________

    Two new midfielders please!! Rafael is ok at RB, plus we can have jones or fabio filling in there. It's not a priority.

    Rio's legs have gone a bit, but with evans & smalling in the wings, I fully expect to see vidic partner one of them more often than not, and rio starting to get less games.

  • Comment number 99.

    I think it's hilarious that United consider they have an easy run in - I guess they included the Wigan game in that list.

    Lose to City and draw one of the others? Nah, they're gonna win them all aren't they?!

  • Comment number 100.

    @96 I saw this at the beginning of the year. Hernandez at times really doesn't look like Man. United material. I really hope he can work on his link up play and even more importantly, his first touch (which is on par with Fletcher's and that is saying something).

 

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