Manchester United host Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup Fourth Round and it’s safe to say Wigan’s record against the local footballing giants isn’t exactly pristine. It’s over eleven years since the first time the Latics and Manchester United squared off and little Wigan have only been able to pick up a total of 3 points from 18 games. One solitary victory shrouded in 17 defeats accompanied by 56 goals for United to Wigan’s 4 in all competitions.
Three and a half years after our last meeting though and both teams have completely changed. Jose Mourinho is now manager of the defending FA Cup holders and over £400 million has been spent since the end of the David Moyes era; the last manager to manage United against Wigan, including splashing out £89 million for Paul Pogba who could well play on Sunday. In contrast, Wigan are now managed by former Manchester United coaching veteran Warren Joyce, who will be eager to make an impression on his return to the Theatre of Dreams, and have probably spent the equivalent to United’s reserves’ weekly wages on players since the last meeting of the two.
The local battle has had some fantastic moments over eleven years, particularly for United fans, but fantastic moments nevertheless. Wigan’s first encounter with Manchester United was in our first ever season in the Premier League where the Latics succumbed to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Sir Alex Fergurson’s men, with Wayne Rooney scoring a brace in that match. Rooney seems to be fond of this fixture as he has scored 10 goals in his last 15 games against Wigan, including scoring his 100th United goal. Another mention for a memorable fixture has to be the 2006 Carling Cup Final too; the Latics’ first ever major final, in which the scoreline was very similar to the one that happened earlier that season in our first encounter with the titans of English football. United fans will also remember fondly the time in 2008 where goals from Ronaldo and Giggs secured their 17th title at the then titled JJB Stadium.
Don’t write Wigan off in this fixture however. The Latics’ track record against United isn’t anything to gloat about but this is the two teams’ first FA Cup encounter, and you don’t have to tell a Wigan fan about the magic of the FA Cup. On top of that we have progressed 5 out of the last 6 times against top flight clubs in the FA Cup, the only exception being the 2013/14 semi-final loss to eventual winners Arsenal.
However this game goes, Wigan have nothing to lose and everything to gain so expect the 3000 tics at Old Trafford bouncing with a commanding roar of “We Beat Man City” echoing around the stadium. If an infamous victory were to happen at the Theatre of Dreams, well, that’s what footballing dreams are made of.
NOTABLE PAST FIXTURES
Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic, Premier League, 14 December 2005
The first ever match-up between these two teams. Although Wigan’s debut season in England’s top flight was quite phenomenal from a Wigan standpoint, this match certainly wasn’t and United quite easily disposed of Wigan with four goals, including a Rooney brace.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand (Bardsley 65), Brown, O’Shea, Fletcher, Smith, Scholes (Park 74), Giggs (Ronaldo 70), Rooney, van Nistelrooy.
Wigan: Pollitt, Chimbonda, Jackson, Henchoz, Baines, Bullard, Skoko (Kavanagh 45), Mahon (McCulloch 74), Connolly, Roberts, Camara.
Goals: Ferdinand 30, Rooney 35, 55, van Nistelrooy 70 pen.
Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic, Carling Cup Final, 26 February 2005
Wigan’s first ever final of a major domestic tournament was a fantastic occasion, but ended on quite a sour note when the Premier League runners up outclassed the Latics and ended their fairytale hope of winning the Carling Cup. Another 4 goals and another Rooney brace meant Wigan fans went home a bit disheartened, but they could still hold their heads high knowing that a small club like Wigan beat huge clubs like Arsenal in the process of getting to that final; that’s something to be proud of.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Brown (Vidic 83), Ferdinand, Silvestre (Evra 83), Ronaldo (Richardson 73), O’Shea, Giggs, Park, Saha, Rooney.
Wigan: Pollitt (Filan 14), Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Henchoz (McCulloch 62), Baines, Bullard, Kavanagh (Ziegler 72), Scharner, Teale, Camara, Roberts.
Goals: Rooney 33, Saha 55, Ronaldo 59, Rooney 61.
Wigan Athletic 1-0 Manchester United, Premier League, 11 April 2012
The only victory Wigan have ever got over United, and it was a huge blow to the team on the wrong end of the scoreline. A fiercely fought performance from Wigan and a phenomenal curled goal from outside the box by Shaun Maloney got the Latics all three points and even made Sir Alex admit that “Wigan were the better team”. This result ended up being crucial to the eventual result of the Premier League as runaway leaders United were brought back down to earth and ended up losing out on the title to rivals Manchester City on goal difference.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Boyce, Figueroa, McCarthy, Maloney (Sammon 77), Moses, McArthur, Beausejour, Di Santo (Diame 70).
Man Utd: De Gea, Evra, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Giggs, Carrick, Young (Cleverley 46), Valencia, Rooney (Nani 65), Hernandez (Welbeck 58).
Goals: Maloney 50.
Manchester United 2-0 Wigan Athletic, Community Shield, 11 August 2013
After winning the FA Cup and being relegated in the same season, Wigan then faced off in the Community Shield against Premier League winners United under new boss David Moyes. Wigan, then managed by Owen Coyle, lost 2-0 due to a Robin van Persie brace and gave Moyes his first and only trophy of his stint at Manchester United.
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael (Smalling 16), Evra, Jones, Vidic, Giggs (Anderson 67), Carrick, Cleverley, Welbeck (Kagawa 83), Van Persie (Januzaj 84), Zaha (Valencia 61)
Wigan: Carson, Crainey, Boyce, Perch, Barnett, McCarthy (Dicko 86), Watson (Espinoza 71), McArthur (McCann 61), Holt (Fortune 61), Maloney (Gomez 71), McClean (McManaman 62)
Goals: van Persie 6, 59.
By Harry Robinson