It was a memorable night at the DW Stadium as Wigan defeated Manchester United for the first time in their history. Prior to the game Wigan had never taken a point from their local neighbours but on this occasion they produced their best ever performance as they outplayed the title chasing league leaders.
Manchester City have now closed the gap on United by beating West Brom 4-0 on the night and the gap between the two sides has now been reduced to five points with five games to play.
Wigan on the other hand have now moved out of the bottom three for the first time since December and have hit a rich vein of good form having won three of their last four games.
Wigan continued were they had left off at Chelsea closing down the opposition dominating possession and creating chances. Latics were dominating possession 60/40 against the champions elect which is no mean feat for a team with such limited resources.
Victor Moses pace and Di Santo’s strength were causing problems for United and James McCarthy soon had a good shot tipped over the bar by David De Gea. Wigan forced a succession of corners and United were surprisingly looking vulnerable.
During a rare United counter attack Ryan Giggs cross shot was deflected around the post by Maynor Figueroa.
In the 29th minute Wigan appeared to have scored but linesman Dave Richardson controversially disallowed the goal for a Gary Caldwell push on De Gea. Once again it appeared Wigan would be undone by a linesman. TV replays showed the goal should have stood as Johnny Evans pushed Caldwell into De Gea and there was limited contact on the keeper.
But Wigan were on top throughout the first half and Alex Ferguson will have given his players a serious ear bashing at half time.
Wigan deservedly took the lead in the 50th minute when Shaun Maloney scored following a short corner by Jean Beausejour. The diminutive Scotsman cut across the 18 yard box before superbly curling the ball into the far corner past De Gea. United had disputed the initial corner but for once some luck had gone in Wigan’s favour.
A disappointing Wayne Rooney was withdrawn in the 65th minute and replaced by Nani as the home team continued to have the upper hand.
Johnny Evans wiped out Maloney on the half way line and should have been dismissed for a second yellow card offence, but it was another typically erratic refereeing performance by Phil Dowd who did nothing.
United had a penalty appeal when Phil Jones’ driven cross hit Maynor Figueroa’s arm. The ball was hit at such pace that it was impossible for the off-balance Figueroa to get out-of-the-way. It is also fair to say that the linesman Richardson must have given Wigan the benefit of doubt after his faux pas in the first half.
Substitute Conor Sammon had a great opportunity to seal it for Wigan, but instead of shooting he pulled the all back to Mohammed Diame whose shot was blocked by Ferdinand and from the rebound he then fed Moses whose shot was deflected for a Wigan corner.
Despite Wigan having to sit back and defend for the last 15 mins United rarely looked like scoring and Ali Al Habsi only had to make one save to make from Danny Welbeck.
Afterwards Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Wigan were deserved winners and even found time to say they are in a false position and are playing some of the best football in the league.
Wigan ‘s next game is a difficult trip to Arsenal but on this form anything is possible from Roberto Martinez’s resurgent team.