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Why did we think anything different? Really we were just being silly to think that we could have won against United, and that really all it ever was, if buts and maybes. It has taken me a while to get into the mood to write this post (down to lack of time as much as anything). But it fells almost daunting that a team so full of potential could be about to slip up and go back to usual ways.
That was what it looked like for more or less 90 minutes against Manchester United. Okay we matched them pretty well the first half, they struggled to must many massive chances. The one big one they did create, they made a diving effort for. But that is all to come.
Why rush such delights that is the opposition team playing well. First we have to talk about Wigan and hoe for 45 minutes, we matched last seasons runners up.
It all started well, that was for the first three minutes of the game, as Wigan slowly settled down with the ball. Yet within side four minutes, Ali Al Habsi was facing his fourth penalty of the season. I like the symmetry to that one. Our Omani goalkeeper was judge to bring down Danny Wellbeck, yet the English International striker was later shown to have simply dived. Things though were put right as Ali, at his third attempt of the season, saved a poorly struck penalty from Javier Hernandez.
That gave Wigan some hope.
That hope would last us for 45 minutes, as we pretty much did was happen last season. We closed chased and kept the ball trying to out wit United. It didn't seem to want to stick for us though, and the first half was a very low tempo game, with very few chance.
Our best efforts where coming as we broke through on the counter, Arouna Kone continuing his great form this season, as he found no trouble in being able to bully the United defence of the ball when he wanted it. Yet the Ivorian was unable to score the chances that came his way, the best came late on in the half after a Jean Beausejour cross found him unmarked at the back post. He was unable to convert the golden opportunity.
The good signs from the first half, were coming from down our left wing. The returning Chilean in Beausejour looked much sharper and alert in his play, and was starting to find his crossing boots, which were forcing Andreas Lindersgaard to come and collect them.
In a nut shell, that was the first half. Pretty even with both teams not really going for the jugular. We looked relaxed and willing to sit back and hit United hard and quick on the counter with our strong attack force. You wondered how long out plan would work in the second half.
The answer all of six minutes. You have to feel for Ali Al Habsi, he must have felt like he was going to have a nice day at the office before our second half came round. Many people have said our defense disappeared. What really happened was that the United play makers found the gaps in between the midfield and the defense.
That allowed Nani the time and space to turn and shoot towards the Wigan goal. The ball was hit with such venom that all Ali could do was push it away and hope for the best, the one man you don't want it to drop to is Paul Scholes who delightfully tapped the ball home.
Thus opening the flood gates for the very strong United second half. In the next 15 minutes we would go on to concede two goals as we started to get sloppy before settling our ship.
First Javier Hernandez would make it 2-0 after deflecting in Buttner's shot into the goal. Ali had no chance, the ball was going wide initial, before the Mexican striker managed to sneak in round the back to tap home. To add to his assist Buttner would then score one, after a great run down the left wing, the full back smashed the ball home making it 3-0 with 24 minutes to play.
Yet United seemed happy and slowed down a bit. That was also helped by the fact our defense started to tackle players, and that Ali was making the necessary saves. Yet it was like trying to fight against a force of nature you just felt another goal was going to come, and that it wouldn't be scored by someone in blue.
The man to score was young Nick Powell who would fire home the ball from out side the area leaving our keeper no chance. You had to wonder why the clearance was poor in the first place, and also who was closing him down? Yet not all our games this season are going to be like this.