A second half goal fest from Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, and Cristiano Ronaldo condemned Latics to yet another 4-0 loss to Manchester United.
But Latics fans could argue that the hard work of boss Chris Hutchings’ men meant the score line flattered United with Tevez’ opening goal boosting the confidence of the home side.
Wigan went to Old Trafford without the services of both Emile Heskey and Antoine Sibierski, and Hutchings decided to pack his midfield with five men, leaving Marcus Bent up front as a sole striker. Former Marseille man Salomon Olembe made his debut on the left-flank.
Latics were given a glimour of hope that they may get something out of the game early on when United were weakened due to injuries to Nemanja Vidic and John O’Shea, and both were replaced by the inexperienced Gerard Pique and Danny Simpson – but it was not meant to be.
United broke the deadlock on 54 minutes when Tevez latched onto an Anderson through ball, and drew out Chris Kirkland from his line and clinically fired into the corner.
The Reds doubled the lead just four minutes later when Ryan Giggs’ shot was parried by Kirkland but Ronaldo headed in rebound at far post from point blank range. Ronaldo netted again in the 76th minute when Wayne Rooney squared the ball from left flank and Ronaldo cleverly found space in the box to tap home.
Rooney then got his first league goal of the campaign as he headed powerfully into net at far post from substitute Simpson’s cross. Although United were expectedly the more dominant side, Latics had chances at Old Trafford to get on the score sheet.
Just after the half-hour mark, Australian midfielder Josip Skoko caught a well executed half-volley from distance, and his dipping shot tested Tomasz Kuszczak, and Polish goalkeeper had to stretch to make the save.
Five minutes later, Bent’s cross from the left flank found Paul Scharner in space inside the penalty box, but United defender Patrice Evra performed a well timed heroic challenge to steal the ball away from Wigan’s Austrian midfielder.
In the second half just before an hour’s play, Jason Koumas ran through the midfield towards a back pedalling Rio Ferdinand before unleashing a low thirty-yard drive which shaved the near post.
Eight minutes later, substitute Luis Antonio Valencia forced Kuszczak into tipping the ball round the post for a corner. The Ecuadorian, who had only just replaced Olembe, stepped past his marker and fired a powerful shot towards the far corner for Wigan’s best chance of the match.
Goalkeeper Kirkland wasn’t troubled too much apart from the goals, although he made a couple vital saves in the first half whilst Latics battled hard to keep the scores level up to half-time.