FOOTBALL NEWS

31/12/2012 11:23, Report by Nick Coppack
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Preview: Wigan vs United

result that severely dented the Reds' chances of winning last season's Premier League.

Did you know? United have lost just once on New Year's Day – away at Tottenham in 1996 – in nine attempts since the inception of the Premier League.

Opposition boss: Roberto Martinez is held in high regard among his peers and it's not hard to see why. The Spaniard, who spent six years at the club as a player, has kept Wigan in the Premier League each year since his arrival in the summer of 2009 (often against the odds) and instilled an attractive, attacking philosophy in his players. Martinez generally avoids making headlines, although he was charged by the FA for his post-match comments when Wigan and United last met. He claimed Sir Alex's men receive favourable decisions at Old Trafford and insisted Danny Welbeck should have been dismissed.

Star man: Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy "has the technique to play in any team in the world", according to Martinez and he's certainly caught the eye in previous matches against the Reds. A gifted ball player, McCarthy makes Wigan tick in midfield and Sir Alex's men will be keen to keep him quiet. 

Sub-plots: Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley have both spent time at Wigan and would no doubt love to score against their former club. Meanwhile, Javier Hernandez will hope to add to his impressive scoring tally against the Latics: he's netted four in five previous appearances.

Whistle-blower: Andre Marriner will take charge of United's trip to Wigan and it's the first time he's officiated the

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