As United gear up to play their first game of 2013 and officially start the ‘second half’ of the season, the time when the team usually kicks up a gear, it’s worth remember what a good year (statistically at least) 2012 was for the club. Despite the implosion that saw us lose an 8 point in 6 matches, United have had the best record in the Premier League in 2012, picking up 93 points from their 39 matches.
In addition, United have scored 90 league goals in 2012 – our most in a single calendar year since 2000 (95 goals). The only other time anyone has scored more is United again in 1999 (91 goals) and Chelsea in 2010 (91 goals).
United are also comfortably ahead in the league table on 1st January – 7 points clear and a +3 GD compared to Man City. Chelsea have a game in hand but are 11 points back and have a -1 GD to United. With 49 points won in 20 games, it’s a great start and everything looks great on paper – which is why Ferguson would be extra vigilant going into today’s game against Wigan and would have impressed upon his team the need to fight for every point, goal and game as if it would decide the title. If an eight-point lead can be overturned in six matches, then a seven-point lead can certainly be overturned in five months – RVP or no RVP.
Wigan impressed at the end of last season and were undoubtedly fantastic last April but that defeat was as much a case of United losing steam as of Wigan outclassing us – and their troubles in recent months confirm that.
Wigan may have beaten Aston Villa 3-0 but that was after a six-game winless run in the league. In fact, Wigan have conceded the opening goal in 13 Premier League games this season but unlike United, gone on to lose 12 of those matches. At the very least this will result in both sides going for an early goal from the first whistle, which makes for a good game (and plays into United’s strengths as well).
Last April’s defeat at the DW Stadium was the first time Wigan beat United there. In fact, it was the only goal they had scored against Man Utd in their last seven matches. In their 16 matches with United, Wigan have scored five (FIVE) goals, while United have scored 50. The contrast is ridiculous, and one standout performance should not change that.
United go in this game after a kind December that’s seen them turn a 1-point advantage over City into 7 points and turn their inferior GD into a positive one. Wigan, 16th in the table, lacking form and not in serious relegation battle yet, will be a test for United but not a difficult one.
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