Manchester United v Wigan Athletic: Match Preview


Manchester United v Wigan Athletic
Barclays Premier League
Old Trafford
Monday, December 26th; 15:00

Team News

Phil Jones is likely to be fit for the Boxing Day visit of Wigan after scans revealed he hadn't suffered a broken jaw during the victory over Fulham.

Ashley Young however will miss the game after picking up a knee injury, while Rafael could be in contention after coming through a reserve game last week.

Knocks to Hugo Rodallega and James McCarthy, picked up during the draw with Liverpool, mean the pair are doubts for the trip to Old Trafford.

Ferguson backs Wigan survival

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Boxing Day opponents Wigan Athletic have what it takes to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League this season.

The Latics lie 18th in the Premier League, but have recently earned draws against Chelsea and Liverpool.

It took a final day win over Stoke City to secure their Premier League status last season, and Ferguson says he expects Roberto Martinez's men to beat the drop once more.

“I watched Wigan versus Chelsea the other day and I thought Wigan were terrific," he said.

“It says a lot for Roberto Martinez – he continues to play good football irrespective of what position they're in.

“We have a good record against Wigan but we won't take anything for granted. We need to keep out foot on the pedal.

“I don't think they're a relegation team – they do well against the bigger teams.

“Last year, I think they lost heavily to Chelsea [6-0 at the DW Stadium] and, this season, they got a draw and could have won.

“I think Wigan will stay in the Premier League.”

Coupled with their league position, Wigan's head-to-head record against United means they face an uphill battle at Old Trafford.

The club have never taken points of the Premier League champions, but Martinez lives in hope that his side can cause a shock.

"It happens around the world, if you go to San Siro, the Bernabeu or Barcelona's Nou Camp, sometimes in those games you are starting 1-0 down. We are human beings, we are not playing a computer game," he said.

"It would be all too easy to prepare a game where there are no emotions attached, where there is no memory about what has happened before. But what is true is that we are in a very good place at the moment, with real confidence and real belief in our play.

"I don't think anyone expects us to get a positive result at Old Trafford and that's something that can give us some extra motivation and test how much we can surprise Manchester United at their own ground."

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