1. In the newsletter I reflected on just how many times we’ve beaten Wigan 4 or 5 nil since our first ever match against them when they joined the Premier League in 2005. There were times yesterday when you had to doubt whether a 4-0 was on the cards but somehow, like we usually do against them, we stepped up our game to dish out a thrashing. It’s getting a bit silly how often we beat them by this scoreline, the 5th time in eight seasons, but I’m not complaining, obviously. In the first half we were controlling the game and creating chances but just couldn’t put them away. It was great to see our hard work pay off in the second half.
2. Paul Scholes scored a scrappy goal against Liverpool on his 500th game so it was nice to see him score again in his 700th. Michael Carrick did well to find Nani in space in the box, Nani then fired a rare on target effort at Al Habsi which the keeper palmed in to the path of Scholes for an easy tap in. Even at 37-years-old, he’s proving what an important member of the team he still is. At 38-years-old, Ryan Giggs is proving less important, but he should have continued his record as the only player to score in every Premier League season after Danny Welbeck won a soft penalty. Whilst Giggs doesn’t take what I would regard to be a great penalty, he is always calm under pressure and always scores. I would have had Nani on penalty taking duty before Javier Hernandez too and wasn’t surprised to see the Mexican take a tame shot which was easily saved by Al-Habsi.
3. Fortunately for Chicharito he made up for his penalty miss with our second goal, with an assist from Alexander Büttner. So often Chicharito fails to beat the offside trap and can be frustratingly lazy with ensuring he is onside when we’re in possession, but he timed his run to perfection yesterday. That finish was him at his best, the reason why we bought him, and whilst he didn’t have the greatest game, he looked better than he has done and managed to put us 2-0 up. He also seemed tougher on the ball, more resilient when a challenge came in, and won the ball for us in situations he wouldn’t have last season. His strike partner, Welbeck, had a worse afternoon, despite his tireless effort. He got himself in to good positions plenty of times but just couldn’t seem to get his shot away, and when he did, it wasn’t good enough. Welbeck did the hard work to set up Nick Powell for the fourth goal though but he will be disappointed that he didn’t take advantage of Rooney and Van Persie’s absence to show what he can do.
4. Büttner, who was making his début after his surprise transfer deadline day arrival, can be impressed with his performance though. Wigan didn’t offer much down that right hand side and it was only Wigan, but everything he did, he did well. He was great going forward and made a few robust challenges. The crowd really got behind him as the game went on and his hard work was eventually rewarded with a brilliant goal. He took on four players before managing to beat the keeper from such a tight angle. Will he replace Patrice Evra in our starting line-up? It will be interesting to see how he gets on against tougher opposition but he did take the piss out of our goal-shy Frenchman by scoring so early on in his United career.
5. Powell came off the bench with 20 minutes to go, getting the nod over Tom Cleverley, and scored a belter, to ensure that all our new signings scored on their home début. A few minutes after coming on he charged forward but was guilty of a sloppy pass which probably was playing on his mind. He knew he was so much better than that. The goal just seemed to open up for him so it was great to see him take his chance.
6. Contrary to reports you might have read, there weren’t any audible chants about Hillsborough yesterday. Following a chant of “racist bastard”, about Luis Suarez, the “always the victim, it’s never your fault” was sung. This is a song that originated following Liverpool FC’s refusal to accept Suarez’s guilt after he had racially abused Evra. The words “always” and “never” suggest the chant is about more than just Suarez though. Following the Heysel disaster, where 39 people died, Liverpool’s chairman, John Smith, claimed it wasn’t Liverpool fans who caused the deaths, but Chelsea fans who were in the crowd at the Liverpool vs Juventus European Cup final. This song has been sung every week, home and away, since it was first sung. Yesterday, the first time it was sung was five minutes in to the game, directly following the “racist bastard” chant, as it usually is. Was it bad taste and thoughtless to sing it yesterday? Probably, particularly given how eager the media is to create something out of nothing so they have a story for next weekend, but after being sung loudly every week for almost a year, it’s strange now for the media to decide it’s about Hillsborough. It’s incredibly irresponsible for some sections of the press to claim this chant is about Hillsborough, particularly with our trip to Anfield next weekend, and unbelievable they can get away with it. To suggest that 1000s of United fans have been mocking the tragedy every weekend for months in singing this song is bang out of line.
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