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Wigan v Man Utd Wigan 1-3 Man Utd
(about 1 hour later)
Match report to follow later. Manchester United produced a superb second-half performance to come from a goal behind to beat Wigan.
BIG-MATCH FACTS United fell behind in the fifth minute, Leighton Baines rifling a sensational 30-yard free-kick into the top corner.
WIGAN ATHLETIC have struggled to reproduce the magnificent early season form of last year which saw them shoot up to second in the table by late October. Yet they're still unbeaten at home going into this clash with table topping Manchester United, who are unbeaten away. The superb Wayne Rooney hit the bar with a sublime piece of skill before Nemanja Vidic scored his first United goal, heading in Ryan Giggs' corner.
This is the second of three successive north west derbies for Paul Jewell's side and the first of a double header of Saturday lunchtime fixtures against the two Manchester clubs. Saha controlled Rooney's cross and fired home before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rolled in a left-foot shot at the end.
The Latics look for their first ever League points against Manchester United, after losing heavily at Old Trafford and 1-2 in this corresponding fixture in last season's Premiership meetings. It was what United deserved for a second-half display full of verve and passion, though Sir Alex Ferguson's men had to improve after a disappointing opening.
MANCHESTER UNITED travel just 25 miles in search of their 150th all-time away victory in the Premier League, which would put them three points clear at the top, at least until Chelsea play at Reading in the early evening fixture. If Wigan were apprehensive about playing United after losing three times to them last season - two of which ended 4-0 - they did not show it at the start.
The Red Devils boast the strongest attack in the highest League, averaging exactly two goals per game - that's precisely double the average of their opponents. Should they be held by Wigan, it would be Manchester United's 1,000th draw in their League history. The Latics raced out of the blocks in the early afternoon sunshine and before United had any time to settle, they were already behind.
United beat Wigan three times last season, including two 4-0 victories in the Premiership at Old Trafford and in the Carling Cup final at the Millennium Stadium. Eight days ago, the rapidly-improving Baines hit a 25-yard belter for the England Under-21 side against Germany - but this strike was even better.
REFEREE A free-kick 30 yards out was rolled to him and Baines let fly with a thunderous left-foot shot that screamed past Edwin van der Sar and into the top left-hand corner of the Dutchman's net.
Steve Bennett (Orpington, Kent) class="bodl" href="/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/4145246.stm"> Premiership referees' table class="bodl" href="/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/4145288.stm"> Steve Bennett's 2006-07 Premiership card count United were struggling to get a kick, though they eventually began to work their way back into it, with Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes influencing proceedings.
SEQUENCES/RECENT FORM Rooney was quiet, until a breathtaking piece of skill brought him to life and almost brought the visitors level.
WIGAN ATHLETIC class="bodl" href="">Club stats class="bodl" href=""> Fixtures 15th 5 pointsHighest achievable after Saturday's matches: 12thLowest could fall: 19th Chesting the ball down in a packed penalty box 15 yards out, he somehow created half a yard of space and slammed a ferocious shot that rattled Kirkland's crossbar.
1. Won only one of seven matches this season, six of which were Premiership fixtures. Baines opened the scoring with a fabulous long-range effort
2. Picked up just two points from a last possible 12, since beating Reading 1-0 in their opening home game on 26 August. Goalless since the start of the season, Rooney looked desperate to end his barren run, chasing defenders down and demanding the ball when United attacked.
3. Registered one victory in nine Premiership matches. His brilliant outside-of-the-foot pass set up Saha just before the hour mark, but the Frenchman unbelievably dragged his 12-yard shot wide when it looked easier to score.
4. The 1-0 maximum over the Royals is Wigan's only block-out in 14 Premiership matches. When the equaliser did come, it was from a less likely source. Giggs swung in a corner and Vidic rose unchallenged, nodding past the helpless Kirkland.
5. Failed to score in just one top flight exgagement this term. Suddenly it was all United and they did not have to wait much longer to go in front.
6. The 1-0 away defeat by Portsmouth on 9 September is the only occasion in eight top division encounters that Wigan have failed to find the net. Rooney found space down the left, clipped in a fabulous cross and Saha somehow brought the ball down and fired home in one impressive movement.
7. Had double as many points by this equivalent stage last season (10 after six matches in 2005, five after six in 2006). Solskjaer put the icing on the cake deep into stoppage time after another flowing move, his 18-yard left-foot shot creeping into the corner past a stranded Kirkland.
8. Never registered a goalless draw in the Premiership, nor in 46 League matches since the goalless stalemate home to Queen's Park Rangers on 23 April 2005 in the Coca Cola Championship. United - for a few hours at least - moved three points clear at the top of the Premiership and once more laid down the gauntlet to champions Chelsea in the process.
9. Played fewer matches than any other Premiership club (seven, six in the League).
10. Completed 25 League games since a win by more than a single goal (0-2, away to West Ham on 28 December 2005).
MANCHESTER UNITED Club stats Fixtures 1st 16 pointsHighest achievable after Saturday's matches: 1st Lowest could fall (mathematically): 6th
1. Won seven of nine League and Cup matches so far this season.
2. Lost one of the last nine Premiership outings (0-1, home to Arsenal on 17 September).
3. Seeking a sixth victory from their eighth fixture of this top flight campaign.
4. Not conceded more than a single goal in any League game this term, nor in nine matches - the longest current such run in the Premiership.
5. Lost two of the last 21 top flight outings, winning 16 of them.
6. Won seven of the last nine matches on their Premiership travels.
7. Kept only one clean sheet in 11 away League games (the 0-3 victory at Charlton on 23 August).
8. Scored six times in the first quarter (22 minutes) of Premiership matches this season - more than any other club in that particular sector.
WIGAN ATHLETIC Squad profiles
Emile HESKEY and Paul SCHARNER are Wigan's top scorers, with two goals each.
SCHARNER and Leighton BAINES are the only players to have been on the field for every minute of every one of the Latics' League and Cup matches this season.
Wayne ROONEY scored four goals in the three Premiership and Carling Cup fixtures against Wigan last season.
Louis SAHA tops the Red Devils' scorers list with five goals. Ole Gunnar SOLSKJAER is second with four goals. The Norway international has only made two starts and five substitute appearances for United.
Rio FERDINAND is the only player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of United's League and Cup matches this season.
Wigan Athletic 1-2 Manchester United6 March 2006 - Ref: Steve BennettWigan scorer: Scharner 60Man United scorers: Ronaldo 74, Chimbonda 90 og
Home and awayLeague: Wigan 0 wins, Man United 2, Draws 0Prem: Wigan 0 wins, Man United 2, Draws 0
at Wigan onlyLeague: Wigan 0 wins, Man United 1, Draws 0Prem: Wigan 0 wins, Man United 1, Draws 0