Man Utd 4, Wigan 0
It was a day for records at Old Trafford, but one statistic remained the same – Wigan received another hiding.
Paul Scholes celebrated his 700th game for the Reds with his 155th goal for the club.
Ryan Giggs became the first player to chalk up 600 Premier League matches and Rio Ferdinand made his 400th United appearance.
But two other firsts will please manager Sir Alex Ferguson, taking charge of United for his 500th home league match, as much as his golden oldies’ impressive milestones.
Alexander Buttner, a £4million summer signing from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, crowned a storming debut at left-back with a superb goal.
But the icing on the cake was provided by Nick Powell, another £4million close season buy – this time from Crewe.
The 18-year-old midfielder had been on the field as a substitute for only 10 minutes when he let rip with a tremendous 25-yard shot which rocketed into the back of the Wigan net to make it 4-0.
United’s other goal came from Javier Hernandez when he made amends for a dreadful penalty miss in the fifth minute.
Wigan, who had beaten United for the first time ever in April, must dread a trip to Old Trafford more than any other fixture.
This was their eighth league game at United. They have lost every one with 28 goals conceded and only one scored – a Leighton Baines penalty on Boxing Day 2006.
The Reds could have had a dream start when they were awarded a very soft fourth minute penalty by referee Michael Oliver.
Luis Nani’s excellent through ball sent Danny Welbeck racing clear into the Wigan penalty area.
As the England striker tried to round Ali Al Habsi, he went down under the slightest of touches from the Wigan goalkeeper.
It was a surprise when Hernandez and not Giggs stepped up to take the kick, but the Mexican telegraphed his intentions and Al Habsi dived to his left to turn the ball away.
The psychological effect of the miss seemed to weigh on the home side for the rest of the half and a series of half chances came and went.
United were a different proposition after the interval and the deadlock was broken in the 51st minute.
The visitors never really cleared a Giggs corner. Nani’s low cross from the right edge of the box was poorly parried by Al Habsi and Scholes tucked away the rebound from close range.
The Reds made it 2-0 nine minutes later.
Giggs found debutant Buttner on the left side of the Wigan penalty area and his cross cum shot was diverted into the net by Hernandez six yards out.
If United’s opening goals were fairly routine, the third and fourth were brilliant individual efforts.
In the 66th minute, Buttner beat three Wigan players as he cut into the box from the left.
With a final deflection off James McCarthy, he squeezed the ball inside the near post off Al Habsi to make it 3-0.
Debutant Powell completed the rout when he crashed home a glorious shot with eight minutes to go.
United boss Ferguson said: “Wigan are an aggressive team to play against, but once we got the speed of our game going in the second half we became more aggressive.
“It was a poor penalty and that can affect you, but we played the way we want to in the second half with pace and penetration.
“You always remember Paul Scholes as a ayoung player ghosting into the penalty area to score and he did that again today.
“Alexander Buttner showed great determination with his goal and Nick Powell is going to be a great player.”
Reds go back to the future
Man Utd 4, Wigan 0