Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United

Clive Mason

Here we go again, a big side coming to little lowly Wigan, and they are expecting a win. United need a win, United want a win and all so they can chase a precious metal. We on the other hand are after points to save ourselves from the jaws of the lower leagues, can we repeat the feat of last season?

Always these games were seen as something we didn't expect to win. We were taught the hard way not to expect points and to take how many goals we conceded. Yet under Martinez we have grown to now expect picking up points against the true against of the footballing world, we do keep doing it time after time.

This though is the last game before a string of four very winnable games. We have away day trips to Stoke City and Fulham, both will be tricky yet we have conquered at both. While we then face home games against Sunderland and Southampton, the home fans will be bay for blood.

With that in mind, should the team not go and attack Manchester United? Should we not challenge them like we did last season. We needed the points then, and we need them now. We have nothing to lose, and if we do lose, well we have that run of games I just mentioned.

Yet it is all a question of getting the balance right. How do you defend against such a well strung attack? Yet balance that with getting at their poor defence? United this season have challenged teams to how many can you score contests, and more often than not, Manchester United have come out on top.

Yet there have been games when they haven't. We only need look at Norwich City who worked hard a valiantly for 90 minutes at Carrow Road against the league leaders and were rewarded with three points. It is not being better skilled than United, or even better tactically. It is a case of being up for the fight and taking them by the horns and challenging them to try and beat you.

Last season was a perfect example of this. The fans were behind the lads, we trusted them and we cheered for 90 minutes urging them to use every last drop of energy to close and chase and win the ball back of the United men. We need it again and again and again. At times they were left chasing out shadows, and were it not for some wasteful finishing and a few dodgy refereeing decisions we could have scored more.

It will be more or less the same team that goes out to face them. Two new faces will be in our line up, and both will add something new to the game. Ivan Ramis with his cool defensive head gives us more strength and solidity at the back. While a cool and clinical Arouna Kone gives us a real scoring threat.

That isn't to say United will not be more up for this game. Robin Van Persie was rested at the weekend as they over came West Bromwich Albion 2-0, and it looks like he will start for United against us. What the £24 million striker gives United is something new, a different dynamic upfront that can just keep producing goals and creating chances.

Against us Mr Van Persie has a good record. He has often scored, and even been the man who lead the charge as we were beaten by Arsenal. Will it be the same for us now he plays in Manchester. Well he continues to score goals, and with the aid of many of the talents at United who can say he won't add to his tally against us.

The key to success is all in the effort in this one. No amount of planning will help if we don't go from the off and try to win the ball and play our own passing game, keeping the ball finding the blue shirts and looking to get at the United defence and even get the ball into their net.

It is going to be a very interesting New Year's Day!

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