Manchester United continued their dominance over Wigan Athletic as they cruised effortlessly past them with a comfortable 2-0 win in the Emirate FA Cup at the DW Stadium. The win has set up a juicy clash with League 2 side Newport County or National League side Eastleigh in the fourth round. Last evening’s win was Manchester United’s first away win since beating Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park on November 29th, 2023.
Diogo Dalot's sublime curling effort sent the visitors ahead in the 22nd minute, while Bruno Fernandes cheekily tucked away a second-half penalty he won after going down from a clumsy Liam Shaw's dangled leg. Despite Wigan’s custodian, Sam Tickle’s heroics Manchester United could have been 3 or 4 more goals to the good but they left their scoring boots in the locker. The win, however, allowed United to push on for silverware, the only one in sight after being dumped out of the EFL Cup and Champions League and sitting 8th in the League table.
Manchester United player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Andre Onana - 8/10 - Onana delayed his exit to join his Cameroon team members in the African Nation Cup and was superb when called upon. Even though he was sporadically involved meaningfully in the game he did well to register another clean sheet to his name. He is hoping to keep another clean sheet against Spurs on Sunday to restore some trust and belief in him from the Man-United Faithfuls.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 7/10 - An improved performance by the fullback after being ‘cooked’ by Nottingham Forest Nicolas Dominguez the last time out. He was very comfortable on the ball and hardly did anything wrong throughout his 90 minutes on the pitch. One would love to see him venturing forward more often to add some dynamics to the offense.
CB: Raphael Varane - 7/10 - A mature performance from the former Real Madrid steel in defense helped to ensure a clean sheet. The game was paused for a little under 4 minutes after he took a blow to the face by Wigan’s striker Aasgaard but the man they call ‘Champions League Varane’ got back up and soldiered on for the remainder of the game.
CB: Jonny Evans - 7/10 - The experience Evans made a few marauding runs forward to add a fifth body in midfield, creating space for the attackers. His undeniable intelligence and ability to read the game and anticipate his opponents' moves were crucial in nullifying the little attack Wigan offered.
LB: Diogo Dalot - 9/10 - Dalot unquenchable appetite for scoring was evident in his display as he was given the license to stay further forward up the pitch. His patience, precision, and technique gave his side the lead with a curled effort from the edge of the box after receiving a pass from Marcus Rashford.
CM: Scott McTominay - 6/10 - For a player who has been in a rich vein of form in recent games should have added to his tally after steering his shot agonizingly wide with a gaping goal in front of him. He was also guilty for giving away the ball a few times in crucial areas.
CM: Kobbie Mainoo - 8/10 - At such a tender age of 18 years old Mainoo is playing like he has been around the league for a decade now. He is so composed on the ball, can pick a pass from his vast passing repertoire, and finds himself in the right position to block shots and break up plays. He created one chance, had one shot on target, made 12 recoveries, one clearance one block, 90% accurate passes, and 100% successful dribbles.
RW: Alejandro Garnacho - 8/10 - A man who is known to score worldies almost added another to his bag of surprises with an audacious strike from outside the box which ricocheted off the bar. A very hard worker with pace and trickery and was a constant menace to Wigan’s defenders. After signing a new 5-year deal the club will keep him until 2028. If he continues to grow and develop at this pace, he will be a mega superstar.
AM: Bruno Fernandes - 8/10 - Yet to match his first two seasons at the club and with the captain armband much is expected from Fernandes consistently. However, one cannot argue with his display today. He sometimes seamlessly galvanized the team and should have at least a double today as his shot after converting the penalty sizzled over the bar.
LW: Marcus Rashford - 7/10 - Scored in his last game and was expected to carry on his scoring prowess today but he was denied three times by goalkeeper Tickle and once by the post. He had a workmanlike game today and despite not scoring he provided an assist for the first goal.
ST: Rasmus Hojlund - 6/10 - Hojlund could have easily taken his tall to double figures today if he was clinical. His slick movement argues well for United, but he must put away his chances and get used to scoring regularly. Hit the woodwork from a diving header and should have made a few more counted.
Manchester United Substitutes
SUB: Willy Kambwala (83' for Dalot)
SUB: Facundo Pellistri (87' for Garnacho)
SUB: Omari Forson (90' for Rashford)
SUB: Hannibal Mejbri (90' for Hojlund) - N/A