Paul Scholes celebrated another landmark in his glittering career by scoring the opening goal as Manchester United coasted to a resounding victory over Wigan at Old Trafford.
The 37-year-old, making his 700th appearance for United, tapped in from close range six minutes into the second half to inspire a victory that lifts his side in to second place in the Premier League table, a point behind leaders Chelsea.
United recovered from seeing Javier Hernandez have a controversial fifth-minute penalty saved by Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi by striking three times in 15 second-half minutes to decide the contest.
Hernandez turned in debutant Alex Buttner's low cross to make it two, before the Dutchman himself beat Al-Habsi too easily from a narrow angle. Substitute Nick Powell, also making his debut, completed the rout with a thunderous 20-yard shot.
The one negative note for the home side was some unsavoury chanting from a minority of their fans aimed at Liverpool supporters in the wake of revelations about the Hillsborough tragedy.
After the match a Manchester United spokesman said: "The manager has made the club's position very clear on this matter, it's now up to the fans to respect that."
For long periods United were well below their best, especially during a first half which Wigan finished the more convincingly.
"The legs may be a little heavier and the goals may not come nearly as readily but Ferguson's faith in Scholes has never wavered."
But as the visitors' exhaustive pressing game began to run out of steam, Sir Alex Ferguson's side moved through the gears and then had the luxury of giving Robin van Persie a 20 minute run-out ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match against Galatasaray.
Scholes was at the heart of United's revival, pulling the strings with his laser-guided passing and well-oiled repertoire of feints and flicks.
There was more than one reminder that his tackling remains more than a little wild, but as he trudged off to a standing ovation 20 minutes from time, it was his goal that United fans preferred to remember.
"It was a handsome Manchester United win in the end and Sir Alex Ferguson's 500th home league game in charge ended with an emphatic victory"
The result aside, this was a landmark day for United. Scholes was making his 700th appearance in a United shirt and Rio Ferdinand his 400th, while Ryan Giggs took to the field for his 600th Premier League match.
It was also Ferguson's 500th home league match - he had won 355 of the previous 499 (drawing 95 and losing 49).
None of it made pretty reading for Wigan, who had lost all seven of their Premier League matches at Old Trafford, conceding 24 goals and with just a lone stoppage-time penalty in 2006 to show for their efforts. And yet somehow there was hope.
Ferguson admitted in his pre-match programme notes that defeat by "little Wigan" had ultimately cost United the title last season.
And until Scholes broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half, "little Wigan" were threatening to do it all over again, as they tackled, battled, and denied their more celebrated opponents space.
United might have been ahead as early as the fifth minute, when Al-Habsi was controversially adjudged to have made contact with Danny Welbeck in the penalty area, but the Wigan goalkeeper went to down to his left to deny Hernandez from the resulting penalty.
It was Welbeck who had the best of United's chances during a fragmented and frustrating first half, with the England striker creating and spurning a series of opportunities.
Wigan ended the first period on the front foot, with Ivan Ramis and, in particular, Arouna Kone spurning good chances.
And yet all that was forgotten within five minutes of the restart, when Michael Carrick spun on the edge of the penalty area and freed Nani down the right.
The Portuguese forward's low cross was spilled by Al-Habsi and Scholes was on hand to turn the ball into the net from six yards.
A second followed eight minutes later, Buttner reacting first as Giggs's attempted cross was blocked and steering the ball across goal, where Hernandez beat the offside trap to score.
Buttner added a third, rampaging down the left and beating Al-Habsi from an apparently impossible angle, before Powell, minutes after coming on as a substitute, added a fourth.
- 13 Lindegaard
- 02 Rafael
- 05 Ferdinand
- 15 Vidic (Evans - 77' )
- 28 Buttner Booked
- 11 Giggs (Powell - 71' )
- 16 Carrick
- 17 Nani
- 22 Scholes (Van Persie - 71' )
- 14 Hernandez
- 19 Welbeck Booked
- 01 De Gea
- 06 Evans
- 07 Valencia
- 23 Cleverley
- 26 Kagawa
- 20 Van Persie
- 25 Powell
- 26 Al Habsi
- 05 Caldwell
- 17 Boyce Booked
- 21 Ramis
- 31 Figueroa
- 04 McCarthy
- 10 Maloney (Gomez - 59' )
- 16 McArthur Booked
- 22 Beausejour (Jones - 69' )
- 02 Kone
- 09 Di Santo
- 12 Pollitt
- 06 Jones
- 07 Crusat
- 08 Watson
- 14 Gomez
- 19 Boselli
- 32 Miyaichi
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The match has reached full-time.90:00 +2:28
Blocked by Jonathan Evans. David Jones restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +2:28 Booking
Booking Booking for Danny Welbeck for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +1:59
Franco Di Santo decides to take a short corner.90:00 +1:32
Franco Di Santo takes a shot. Danny Welbeck challenges Franco Di Santo unfairly and gives away a free kick.88:36
Maynor Figueroa concedes a free kick for a foul on Luis Nani. Robin van Persie delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, Gary Caldwell manages to make a clearance.84:30
The ball is crossed by David Jones, clearance by Jonathan Evans.83:40
Effort on goal by Luis Nani from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.83:31
The ball is swung over by Javier Hernandez, Ivan Ramis manages to make a clearance.81:40
Javier Hernandez provided the assist for the goal.81:40 Goal scored
Goal! - Nick Powell - Man Utd 4 - 0 Wigan Nick Powell fires in a goal from just inside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 4-0 Wigan.80:19
Effort on goal by Luis Nani from just inside the area clears the bar.78:54
Jordi Gomez takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Jonathan Evans.78:41
The ball is swung over by Emmerson Boyce, blocked by Jonathan Evans.78:31
The ball is sent over by Maynor Figueroa.76:13 Substitution
Substitution Jonathan Evans joins the action as a substitute, replacing Nemanja Vidic.73:01
The ball is swung over by Franco Di Santo, save by Anders Lindegaard.72:18
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.70:47 Substitution
Substitution Ryan Giggs goes off and Nick Powell comes on.70:47 Substitution
Substitution Robin van Persie comes on in place of Paul Scholes.
Arouna Kone takes a shot. Anders Lindegaard makes a save.67:58
Emmerson Boyce takes a shot. Save by Anders Lindegaard.67:58 Substitution
Substitution David Jones joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jean Beausejour.67:58
Inswinging corner taken by Jordi Gomez from the right by-line,67:23
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Maynor Figueroa by Javier Hernandez. Free kick taken by James McArthur.66:55
Alexander Buttner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Emmerson Boyce. Jordi Gomez crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance by Danny Welbeck.65:33 Goal scored
Goal! - Alexander Buttner - Man Utd 3 - 0 Wigan Alexander Buttner finds the net with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 3-0 Wigan.64:22
Unfair challenge on James McCarthy by Paul Scholes results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by James McArthur.62:35 Goal scored
Goal! - Javier Hernandez - Man Utd 2 - 0 Wigan Javier Hernandez fires in a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-0 Wigan.62:35
The assist for the goal came from Alexander Buttner.62:35
The assist for the goal came from Alexander Buttner. Alexander Buttner takes a shot.61:01
Corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani to the near post, James McArthur manages to make a clearance.59:42
Luis Nani takes a shot. Gary Caldwell gets a block in.59:21
Jean Beausejour sends in a cross.59:01
Foul by Alexander Buttner on Franco Di Santo, free kick awarded. Franco Di Santo takes the indirect free kick.57:58 Substitution
Substitution Shaun Maloney goes off and Jordi Gomez comes on.56:51
Gary Caldwell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez. Indirect free kick taken by Michael Carrick.55:29 Booking
Booking James McArthur receives a caution.55:17
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luis Nani by James McArthur. Rio Ferdinand restarts play with the free kick.53:50
The ball is crossed by Jean Beausejour.52:57
Free kick awarded for a foul by Shaun Maloney on Paul Scholes. Paul Scholes takes the free kick.52:05
Effort on goal by Danny Welbeck from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.50:37
Luis Nani provided the assist for the goal.50:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Paul Scholes - Man Utd 1 - 0 Wigan Goal scored by Paul Scholes from close in high into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 1-0 Wigan.50:35
Centre by Luis Nani,50:07
Corner from right by-line taken by Ryan Giggs.49:39
Maynor Figueroa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Scholes.48:59
Alexander Buttner fouled by Ivan Ramis, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Ryan Giggs.48:16 Booking
Booking Emmerson Boyce booked for unsporting behaviour.48:10
Emmerson Boyce challenges Alexander Buttner unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Alexander Buttner.45:46
Jean Beausejour produces a cross, Arouna Kone produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +2:10 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +0:30
Jean Beausejour crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Paul Scholes.45:00 +0:30 Booking
Booking Booking for Alexander Buttner for unsporting behaviour.45:00 +0:25
Alexander Buttner concedes a free kick for a foul on Emmerson Boyce.42:57
The ball is sent over by Jean Beausejour, Effort from inside the six-yard box by Arouna Kone goes wide right of the target.41:02
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez by Gary Caldwell. Michael Carrick takes the indirect free kick.40:46
Jean Beausejour delivers the ball, Anders Lindegaard makes a save.39:55
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Franco Di Santo by Rafael Da Silva. Indirect free kick taken by Maynor Figueroa.38:07
The ball is sent over by Gary Caldwell.37:21
Jean Beausejour takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Luis Nani.36:22
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rio Ferdinand by Arouna Kone. Ryan Giggs takes the free kick.34:55
Effort on goal by Luis Nani from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.34:07
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rafael Da Silva by Jean Beausejour. Rio Ferdinand takes the free kick.33:35
Paul Scholes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Shaun Maloney. Maynor Figueroa restarts play with the free kick.32:23
The ball is swung over by Alexander Buttner, Ivan Ramis manages to make a clearance.31:44
Alexander Buttner delivers the ball, clearance by Maynor Figueroa.30:18
Short corner taken by Franco Di Santo.29:57
Franco Di Santo takes a shot. Blocked by Alexander Buttner.26:39
Ivan Ramis fouled by Alexander Buttner, the ref awards a free kick. Ali Al Habsi takes the indirect free kick.25:42
Shot by Emmerson Boyce from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.23:49
The ball is delivered by Michael Carrick, Header on goal by Danny Welbeck from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.22:14
Foul by Alexander Buttner on Franco Di Santo, free kick awarded. A cross is delivered by Shaun Maloney, Close range headed effort by Ivan Ramis goes wide of the left-hand upright.21:34
Rafael Da Silva sends in a cross.21:15
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Gary Caldwell gets a block in.21:02
Paul Scholes takes a shot. Ivan Ramis gets a block in.20:20
Corner from the right by-line taken by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Gary Caldwell.19:34
Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs to the near post, Gary Caldwell manages to make a clearance.19:17
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Gary Caldwell gets a block in.17:40
The ball is swung over by Luis Nani, Shot from close range by Danny Welbeck misses to the left of the target.17:14
Gary Caldwell challenges Javier Hernandez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Scholes takes the indirect free kick.14:21
Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the left by-line to the near post, James McCarthy makes a clearance.14:06
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Blocked by Maynor Figueroa.10:48
Luis Nani takes a shot. Gary Caldwell gets a block in.9:30
The offside flag is raised against Javier Hernandez. Free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.8:45
The ball is swung over by Alexander Buttner.8:25
The ball is crossed by Alexander Buttner, clearance made by Ivan Ramis.8:05
Jean Beausejour challenges Luis Nani unfairly and gives away a free kick. Rio Ferdinand restarts play with the free kick.6:19
Alexander Buttner sends in a cross, clearance made by Ivan Ramis.5:17 Penalty
Placed penalty taken by Javier Hernandez saved by Ali Al Habsi. Man Utd 0-0 Wigan.3:58
Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck by Ali Al Habsi.2:10
Foul by Jean Beausejour on Luis Nani, free kick awarded. Rafael Da Silva takes the free kick.0:00
The game kicks-off.
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