Manchester United shouldn’t be too troubled by the visit of Wigan to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon (3pm BST). However, make a note that I said “shouldn’t.”
Alex Ferguson is without both his star strikers after Robin van Persie picked up an injury while on international duty with Holland (all wonderfully familiar) and Wayne Rooney is of course still out following the horrible cut on his leg against Fulham.
You really struggle to find ways of avoiding the reality that Dimitar Berbatov would have been an excellent figure to have in a situation such as this.
Javier Hernandez has not featured much for Manchester United this season, following on from a less than spectacular second season in English football. Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, is not a striker who can be relied upon for a consistent wave of goals throughout the season. The England striker may eventually mature into that sort of forward, but you can’t help but wonder if there’s something missing from his repertoire that makes him a valuable asset at Manchester United.
Where were we with United two weekends ago? Well, van Persie had clawed the team back from a disappointing losing position to grab all three points away at Southampton. But, as mentioned, the Dutchman is out and Shinji Kagawa is also suspected to have picked up an injury while away with Japan. It was recently reported that the club have sent Kagawa away for treatment on a back injury – certainly worrying times ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
And then we have Roberto Martinez’s Wigan, who are not doing too badly after three Premier League games. Martinez’s team have scored four, conceded four and sit in ninth place in the league with four points.
The opening day saw them face a fairly new-look Chelsea side at home, and despite losing the game 2-0, Wigan did look dangerous in front of Petr Cech’s goal as the game went on.
They’ve shown Southampton what it means to be back in the top-flight of English football by delivering a 2-0 defeat to the newly-promoted side at St Mary’s, and Martinez has seen two goals from Franco Di Santo so far in the campaign.
Arouna Kone, however, is the most impressive forward in the Wigan line-up. The former Levante striker bagged 15 goals while in La Liga last season – an excellent return for a club of their stature.
The Ivory Coast international scored the second goal against Southampton and displayed his impressive instincts around the penalty box.
Fortunately, Manchester United will have a solid centre-back partnership in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to counter to attacks of Wigan’s forwards. But unlike their teammates scoring and creating goals at the other end of the pitch, the United defence hasn’t been wholly convincing.
I’ll keep going back to the full-back issue on both flanks until there is a noticeable and consistent improvement. Wigan do have pace in their side. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young – the two likely wingers for United – will need to give their full-backs plenty of protection.
Considering Manchester United are without a number of key figures, both in attack and defence, I expect this to be a tough game for the home side. Javier Hernandez will be key for getting among the goals for United.
Man Utd v Wigan Betting Tips Verdict
- I expect Wigan to score in this game. Arouna Kone can score at any time @ 6/1 with William Hill (just half those odds with Bet365).
- Man United are the clear favourites and I’m sticking with that. I fancy United to win 2-1 @ 9/1 in the correct score betting market with BetVictor & Ladbrokes in a difficult game for them.