United make the short trip to the DW Stadium on Saturday seeking to make it 13 wins from 13 meetings with Wigan...
Wigan have been sucked into the relegation mire and a look at their recent form tells you why: they’ve won just one of their last 10 league games, and were dumped out of the FA Cup by Bolton last week. United, back from the goalless Champions League draw with Marseille, are bidding to extend a one-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the table by winning for only the fourth time on the road this season. The Reds triumphed in the corresponding fixture at Old Trafford 2-0 in November, with goals from Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez, and still boast a 100% overall record against the Latics.
Ins and outs
Ryan Giggs should return after missing the Marseille draw, and Michael Owen (groin) could be in contention, but Anderson (knee) and Ji-sung Park (hamstring) will be out for another two to three weeks. Rio Ferdinand are Jonny Evans are still missing, so Chris Smalling will again deputise at centre-back. The home side have a near clean bill of health, with Emmerson Boyce and Callum McManaman the only slight doubts. Boss Roberto Martinez is likely to bring back the likes of Ali Al Habsi, Maynor Figueroa, Charles N’Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega, all of whom sat out the cup defeat to Bolton.
In a team that has been struggling for goals this term (they have 27 goals and 27 points from 27 games), Rodallega has led the line manfully. The big Colombian is the Latics’ top scorer with seven goals, including one in the 4-3 win over Blackburn in his side’s last home game in the league. But he was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Rafael at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
Martinez is under some pressure with his side in the bottom three, but continues to stick to his principles of playing attractive football, which has been rewarded with notable draws against Arsenal and Liverpool this term. He first made his name at Wigan in 1995 when chairman Dave Whelan signed him along with fellow Spaniards Jesus Seba and Isidro Diaz – together, they were affectionately known as the ‘Three Amigos’. Martinez made his