Giggs back as Reds seek to extend lead

Ryan Giggs returns to the Manchester United squad as Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit seeks a four point Premier League lead. With Arsenal in Carling Cup action, Ferguson’s outfit could extend its advantage at Wigan Athletic on Saturday. Giggs returns along with Michael Owen for the fixture, which United won 5-0 last season. However, the good news is tempered by confirmation that defender Rio Ferdinand will miss games against both Wigan this weekend and Chelsea on Tuesday night.

Ferdinand’s absence, along with Jonny Evans, means Chris Smalling will continue in the heart of United’s defence. The 20-year-old former Fulham defender earned deserved praise for his performance against Marseille in the Champions League. Indeed, Smalling will experience an accelerated learning curve over the next week, with two key domestic fixtures.

However, Ferguson will be without Ji-sung Park, Anderson and Antonio Valencia for the short trip across Lancashire, although the latter could be back in March after the leg-break he suffered in September.

“Nothing much has changed on the injury front,” Ferguson said on Friday.

“We’re trying to get Ryan [Giggs] fit for the Wigan game, and Michael Owen is back training and could be available. Rio and Jonny Evans should both be back for Liverpool next weekend. Ji-sung Park is still two weeks away. Anderson will probably be back in three weeks, he’s back in Portugal now and we’ll have to see how he progresses.

“Antonio is doing well in training but it’s difficult to assess when he’ll be back. We have to make a decision on when to play him in terms of his own confidence after being out for so long. He could be back in two weeks hopefully.”

Ferguson is likely to keep both top scorer Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney in the side, although neither stood out at Marseille during the week. The Scot must decide whether to retain the 4-5-1 system that successfully stifled the French champions on Wednesday night or deploy Rooney in a more central role.

Certainly, the 69-year-old will insist his team create more chances that in Stade Velodrome, with United desperate for the points in the title race. Ferguson’s outfit leads Arsenal by a single point heading in the weekend programme. Indeed, the Scot things that Arsène Wenger’s side is the only realistic challengers this season, with Manchester City and Chelsea falling away in recent weeks.

This despite John Terry’s bizzare assertion that United is feeling the pressure heading into next Tuesday’s tie with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Should United win on Saturday, Ferguson’s side will pull 12 points clear of last season’s champions.

“Arsenal or ourselves will win it. You come towards the end and there are always two teams who break away. That’s the way it’s looking at the moment,” added Ferguson

“But it won’t be easy [for Chelsea] to come back from that kind of points deficit. Maybe 82 points will win the league. We think we can gather that total from the games we’ve got. You don’t care where you get them.”

Chalkboard versus Wigan AthleticFerguson may recall Paul Scholes ahead of Darron Gibson, who did little to impress in France, although key fixtures coming up against Chelsea and Liverpool take precedence. However, the United manager conceded all of his players want to play, with the run-in now beginning in earnest.

United faces five key fixtures against Wigan, Chelsea, Liverpool, Marseille and a potential cup-tie with Arsenal over the next fortnight.

“My experience is that players want to play in all the games now, that is the problem,” Ferguson added.

“It is a nightmare picking teams at this stage of the season because you are leaving good players out of some very big games. “This season I am helped a little bit because I have two or three injuries at the moment, so my options are condensed. All the players who are going to be playing all the time are delighted at that.”

Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez’ relegation threatened team could face United without Emmerson Boyce, Callum McManaman and on-loan Tom Cleverley. Boyce has a hamstring problem, McManaman a gashed leg and Cleverley is ineligible to play against his parent club.

It’s a foreboding problem for Martinez, whose side has lost all 12 encounters with United. The Reds have averaged three goals a game in those fixtures and conceded just four times. And with Wigan set to face four of the Premier League’s top five in the coming weeks, the drop is a realistic outcome for the Lancashire club this season.

Still, Ferguson refused to concede that United will win the tie easily – and there is genuine concern in the Old Trafford camp at the state of the relaid DW pitch.

“It’s be a difficult game, Wigan are a team who play fantastic football, but this time of season they’re all difficult,” concluded Ferguson.

“It’s important that we keep our momentum going because the team who is most consistent will win the league.”

In that United has been a model of regularity, losing just once in the Premier League this season. Ferguson’s outfit has also performed with consistent mediocrity away from the safety of Old Trafford. If the Reds are to complete a 19th domestic title in May that will have to change.

Wigan – 451 – Al Habsi; Gohouri, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa; N’Zogbia, Watson, McCarthy, Diame, Moses; Rodallega. Subs from: Pollitt, Di Santo, Steven Caldwell, Gomez, Stam, McArthur, Thomas, McManaman.

United – 442 – van der Sar; Rafael da Silva, Vidic, Smalling, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs; Rooney, Berbatov. Subs from: Kuzszazk, Brown, Gibson, Bébé, Lindegaard, Fabio da Silva, O’Shea, Obertan, Hernández, Tunnicliffe, King, Carrick.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Assistant referees: Mick McDonough & Andy Newbold
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor

Wigan – LDDWDL
United – WWLWWD

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  1. Incredibly laughable. Ferguson was saying a few weeks ago that it was between Man U and Chelsea. A few weeks before that, he said something different. Now it’s Man U and Arsenal. And people take notice of all this drivel! He changes his mind every few weeks according to what the league table says, and talks as if he’s some wise sage when all he’s stating is the obvious. Can anyone reading this article say they do not think it’s presently most likely to be between Man U and Arsenal? Ferguson might as well say nothing because his insights are a valuable as saying “It’s sunny and completely cloudless today so I predict it won’t rain”.

  2. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Pay attention numb-nuts… he was just responding to John “I’ve got bigger bollocks than you” Terry and his claim that Chelsea sre still in the title race, and United will feel the pressure, and blah, blah… it’s just press chatter… and “YOU” are the one making a big deal about it.

  3. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Sorry about that… I’m in a right fuckin mood.

  4. Terry should be listened to. Remember, he is a current Premiership Champion of England, which is what Ferguson and his team currently aspire to.
    So I give Terry’s arguments more weight, bearing in mind his stature of a Captain of Reigning Champions, versus Ferguson’s role of runner-up manager.
    Should Ferguson win the title this season, good luck to him. I don’t mind seeing him discard his present runner-up mantle for something better. But unfortunately, I can see Terry & Co helping Arsenal to the title by taking four points off United, in which case Ferguson’s counsel will count for even less next season.

    • Why don’t we get Fergie and Terry to slap their PL medals on the table, then see who’s arguments have more weight.

      Terry’s chat is hollow, it has been for about three months. Every time they get a positive result we get all this “We’ve turned the corner” crap. He should be ignored.

      United need at the least two wins from the next 3 games. If we can put a good performance in today and gain a bit of confidence in our away play, we should go to Stamford Bridge with no fear. We should go for the win at all costs. I’d rather lose trying to win the game than draw. If Rooney dosent turn up get Hernandeaz on ASAP.

      The Liverpool game is always a lottery and they will raise their game. But Chelsea are poor, the majority of their squad is out of form (except Anelka in recet weeks) and we should go there to win. But I fear we’ll be too negative. Couple of goals from Berba today would be good as it may make him undroppable for the following games.

  5. Ryan The Devil says:

    I’ve heard a lot of stupid things said on football blogs, but your justification as to why Terry should be listened to just about takes the cake.

  6. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    the fact he has Cecil in his name makes him a bender

  7. eddieTheRed says:

    John Terry would know all about bottling it, wouldn’t he? The great “captain” bottled it in Moscow in 2008; bottled it in the league 3 years running: 2007, 2008, 2009; bottled it last year when his personal problems became public knowledge; I could fill this whole website with examples of where John Terry’s courage under fire was found wanting.

    Terry is deluded if he thinks a demoralised, misfiring Chelsea side can catch up and beat United to the title; for what it’s worth I can’t wait for United to play them; I think they are there for the taking, their confidence is wafer – thin and they are ready to lose and ready to abandon ship at the end of the season.

    It will give me great pleasure to see the look on John Terry’s face on Tuesday night when he finally realises it all over for another year!

  8. eddieTheRed says:

    As for the Wigan game, they’re a much better side than most people realise; they try to play proper football and they’ve got some of the most promising young players in the English game; for all that, I think we will beat them comfortably; this Wigan team will improve in the years to come but for now they are there to be beaten.

  9. giggs not even a sub

  10. Rooney is lucky to be still on the piitch

  11. what did shrek do?

  12. playing like fucking pussies 1st 12 minutes
    making wigan look like fucking champions
    ffs united get a fucking grip

  13. sloppy play

  14. sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet peaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  15. han said:
    what did shrek do?

    he tried to elbow a player and that too off the ball. Glad that the other player didn’t make a meal out of it.

  16. wigan are not a bad side and much better than their league position states – pressing forward at every opportunity and united’s midfield is as effective as a sieve

  17. vidic is soaking up their attacks
    vds has had 2 good saves
    smack them on the counter
    nani is fucking about again

  18. come on united

  19. ooooooooooooh unlucky by nani

  20. not much happening out there?

  21. ffs where is everyone this afternoon?
    our midfield is non existent again

  22. if anyone is bothered….
    corner count 7 -0 to them

  23. shit performance
    goal to the good is all important but wigan are not shite at all

  24. Hopefully we’ll score a couple more before FT.

    It’s not been a great performance but we can improve.

  25. story of the season in a nutshell
    not playing anywhere as well as united can
    come on united

  26. ffs looks like a really sparse attendance on rant this afternoon as well

  27. 4 shots in the 1st half
    only one on target – sweet pea’s effort
    need to up the tempo and start attacking their box

  28. anyone got an english stream?

  29. come on united score

  30. need another goal
    stop faffing ffs united

  31. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Ichiro said:
    anyone got an english stream?

    Sopcast – 90685

  32. I can understand why most of our players dont make a run for goal when Nani has the ball. He just doesn’t pass.

  33. whatthe fuck was that for a free kick Nani you fucking cunt.

  34. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Sopcast – 90685

    couldnt get on to that one- works though

  35. fucking around again

  36. come on sweet pea
    go get us another

  37. porn star coming on………………………………………………
    sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet peaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  38. Chicarito!

  39. ace goal that

  40. berbs on for sweet pea
    gibson on for fletcher?

  41. nope scholes subbed

  42. shrek lives…………..3-0

  43. 4-0…………….
    football……………….fucking hell

  44. Fabiooooooooooooooo

  45. where the fuck is everyone today???????? cunts will be sitting with your laptops open on tuesday nite no doubt

  46. This is our first good away result of the entire season.

  47. played like shit though most of the game lets be honest

  48. expecting a 5th would really be taking the piss i guess

  49. han said:
    played like shit though most of the game lets be honest

    very poor till the second goal, looked like completely different team after that goal

  50. nice for our goal difference. I never managed to find a decent stream for this match, so I can’t comment on the performance.

  51. good result
    united pretty poor up to 60 mins and wigan could have equalised with a better finisher since they had several decent spells before the 2nd goal
    still, can’t complain after that adds to a better goal difference of 6 to the arse

  52. Did we line up 4-5-1 with Hernandez up top and Rooney wide left?

  53. Giggs wasn’t even on the bench, but who needs him when you’ve got Hernandez? Has he finally proved he can play well from the first minute instead of just being an impact sub?

  54. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    I don’t know what some of you lot are on about… I thought we played fairly well… just needs a bit of perspective.
    Our away form has been rubbish, and we were pathetic on Wednesday, so away confidence wouldn’t have been too high… we moved the ball around well, connected with our forwards, and stuffed ‘em in the end.
    Wigan are a shit team, but they play half decent attacking football at home, and we kept another clean sheet.
    There’s always shit to complain about if you look for it… but all things considered… can’t bitch too much about a 0-4 win.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  55. aye alf
    but even you would have to agree that we were lucky not to concede -
    vds made a couple of decent saves and vidic was pretty immense all game

  56. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    So what? Making saves is what he’s supposed to do. If you went an entire game without your keeper having to make a save, you’d have to say the opposition weren’t even in the game…

    Takes 11 players to make a team, and the keeper has his job to do as well… instead of saying we were lucky, you can just say, today VDS played well.

  57. By all accounts Rooney should have been sent off for smashing one of their players in the face. Hopefully, the FA won’t do anything as the ref had a word with him. He really is a pathetic man child, though. You wonder if he will ever learn.
    If he does get banned, his own stupidity will cost the team big time with the run-in we’ve got. Does the thick Scouse bastard ever think about the consequences of his actions?
    Oh well, at least we won by a decent margin and will gain some confidence ahead of the Chelsea game.

  58. herbie simms says:

    Have to give SAF credit today for playing his strongest team against Wigan. I was so sure we would see Bebe and the other dreamers. SAF must continue to put out his best team in ALL the remaining games. Valencia will be back in two weeks so thats good news.

  59. shrek thinks with his dick most of the time i guess sheesh
    and alf, ffs, wigan were bringing the game to united and it was only after the 2nd goal that they gave up…passing was poor considering the level of the opposition and most of the play in the 1st half was clueless
    still, a good win despite playing at a very average level most of the game

  60. Was at work so missed the match

    A clean sheet…? The fuck went on


    According to the Manchester Evening News, the chances of Rooney being banned are almost non-existent as the ref saw the incident and awarded a free kick to Wigan. At half time, the ref told Martinez that he thought Rooney clipped the player and didn’t think it was a red card.

  62. Rooney is a dickhead for doing that and should really be punished
    But as the link points out, Gerrard wasn’t punished for an almost identical forearm smash, so how can they punish Wazza
    Also, if you watch closely, the defender tries to block Rooney’s run, so Rooney retaliates. Whereas with Gerrard, he punches the cunt in the back of the head for no reason at all. The cunt isn’t even looking.

  63. well according to messrs hansen and lawrenson on motd tonite, shrek will be punished by the fa…fucking scouse cunts urging the fa to ban him
    we will have to wait to see

  64. Bebe and Obertan shocking. On MoTD bored, playing on their phones and iPods. No wonder Giggsy looked bored out of his skull- they need to go. Maybe if they watched United attack with a bit of verve they would learn something? Player like these have no part in the history of United, they do not earn the right to wear the shirt. Please Fergie, sign some World Class midfielders in the summer…

  65. herbie simms says:

    I really believe SAF is going to push the team to win the title so he can go out in style and retire. I was so sure he was going to rest most of his regular team because of the game Tuesday night against Chelsea. He surprised me by playing his strongest team and thats what he needs to do for the rest of the season. This win should raise the morale for the Chelsea game and the players will be going to Stamford Bridge looking for a win.

  66. herbie simms says:

    I just read that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan, the owner of Manchester City has offered the Glazers two billion pounds to buy Old Trafford. He claims the club will be returned back to Manchester United F.C. free but he wants to turn Old Trafford into a world-class tourist attraction with luxury hotels, shopping malls and casinos. This was a breaking story coming out of the UAE and goes on to say that more details will surface by Monday morning. This is the amount of money the Glazers are looking for in order to sell. I wonder if they will turn down two billion!

  67. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    Blog Commenter said:
    I just read that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan, the owner of Manchester City has offered the Glazers two billion pounds to buy Old Trafford. He claims the club will be returned back to Manchester United F.C. free but he wants to turn Old Trafford into a world-class tourist attraction with luxury hotels, shopping malls and casinos. This was a breaking story coming out of the UAE and goes on to say that more details will surface by Monday morning. This is the amount of money the Glazers are looking for in order to sell. I wonder if they will turn down two billion!

    please leave rant….NOW!!!

  68. Blog Commenter said:
    I just read that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan, the owner of Manchester City has offered the Glazers two billion pounds to buy Old Trafford. He claims the club will be returned back to Manchester United F.C. free but he wants to turn Old Trafford into a world-class tourist attraction with luxury hotels, shopping malls and casinos. This was a breaking story coming out of the UAE and goes on to say that more details will surface by Monday morning. This is the amount of money the Glazers are looking for in order to sell. I wonder if they will turn down two billion!

    This time you’ve really topped yourself Herbie, you don’t half talk the biggest load of shite that has ever left a persons mouth time after time these utterances but never a link to back it up, also what the fuck does that bollocks have to do with the match yesterday.

  69. herbie
    please shut the door after u have left the site

  70. captainhormone said:
    please leave rant….NOW!!!

    Herbie is a genius, leave him alone!!!

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