United were so good on Saturday that it makes you wonder how we’ve ended up losing a game in this division, never mind four (plus one defeat to the referee). Birmingham had lost one less than us on Saturday, Fulham have only lost five times and Brighton just twice. Yet none of those teams win anywhere near as many as us and none have taken apart a side in the top 6 like we have. Absolutely every player on Saturday did their job and then some. When all of our players pull in the same direction and follow the instructions given to them by one of the best managers in the world, we are unbeatable.
We head to Wigan backed by 5,000 with a point to prove on television . Last time out on Sky the referee (whose name now escapes me) grabbed the limelight and attempted to dictate a football match. That is the job of the players, so let’s hope more of the same doesn’t happen this week. I expect one or two changes for United. Yedlin may come in, Perez could start (which would be harsh on Diame after such a performance on Saturday) and we may see Colback return (again, harsh on Hayden who was superb). Whoever plays I expect United to win the game against the side placed 23rd in the division.
Wigan evokes some shocking memories as an away fan. Big allocations are great but Boxing Day defeats, Ryan Taylor free kicks, missed penalties, red cards, shameful performances, disgraceful career threatening tackles, weak refereeing, goals not given and most of all defeats are what spring to mind when I think of our games against Wigan over the years. None more ridiculous than losing 4 0 there in 2012 when we were rampant. Wigan had 4 shots in the first half, scored 4 goals and we got on with dominating the game. Mental. This time should be different, not that I think it will be easy.
Wigan last won a home game in September and have won just four times all season. Recently their performances seem to have improved after wins at Cardiff and Huddersfield and a draw at Barnsley. Since then defeats to Derby and at Villa have been very close so whilst the points have stopped coming, the performances have remained consistent. Wigan’s problem is goals. Dwight Gayle has scored as many as their whole side, and he’s started three games less than Wigan have played. Bizarrely only Ipswich, Villa, Derby, Leeds, Brighton and United have conceded less goals than Wigan, who have only lost one game by more than one goal. So expect a tight game.
United are used to dealing with three games in a week and after the win on Saturday can afford a slip up (even a defeat) and still retain their two points per game ratio that’s required for automatic promotion. I think we’ll win all three but I’m expecting two close games this week.
Prediction: 1 0 United
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