FT: Wigan 0 Manchester Unitd 4

Manchester United still have a seven-point advantage in the title race after two goals apiece for Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie gave them the perfect start to 2013, while Wigan remain just above the relegation zone after a demoralising home defeat. Thanks for following our commentary and stay with us for all the reaction.

The full-time whistle goes and Manchester United have run out comfortable 4-0 winners over Wigan Athletic to strengthen their position at the top of the table.

Wigan's fans were already starting to stream out of the exits before that Van Persie goal and they are now heading out in their droves in an effort to beat the traffic.

GOAL! Calamitous defending from Wigan presents Danny Welbeck with the opportunity to square the ball for Robin van Persie, and the Dutchman has the simplest of finishes for his second of the game.

Maynor Figueroa tries his luck with an ambitious attempt from distance which flies high and wide of David de Gea's goal.

Callum McManaman comes on for Shaun Maloney for the final few minutes.

Wigan are finishing quite brightly here. They have improved considerably since that double change, with Jordi Gomez and Ronnie Stam making good contributions.

Jordi Gomez steps up to take ownership of the free-kick and curls a sumptuous effort agonisingly wide of the crossbar. David de Gea certainly had to stay alert there, but he has had far too little to do for the rest of the match.

Chris Smalling is perhaps a lucky boy here to only see yellow as he hauls down Arouna Kone. It is a clear foul and Kone would otherwise have been through on goal.

Wigan have continued to battle hard in this second half but are leaving plenty of gaps to exploit at the back and Danny Welbeck looks desperate to impress in the closing stages.

Sir Alex Ferguson makes his final change of the afternoon and brings on Danny Welbeck for Ashley Young.

Ashley Young just appears to be hobbling with a bit of a knock at the moment, and he is probably not too appreciative to be given the ball just before being clattered into again by the touchline.

Emmerson Boyce surges forward from the back for Wigan in a well-worked move and plays in Arouna Kone, but the Ivory Coast international sees his long-range shot blocked.

Sir Alex Ferguson's main focus for the rest of the game will be on making sure his players keep another clean sheet, having shut out West Brom in a 2-0 win last time out.

Ronnie Stam shows plenty of urgency to drive forward from midfield and get into the Man Utd box, but Jonny Evans makes an important block.

The travelling United fans are in good voice inside the DW Stadium. They do not sound too worried about the possibility of a late Wigan fightback.

Roberto Martinez responds with a double substitution of his own, as Franco Di Santo and Gary Caldwell make way for Jordi Gomez and Ronnie Stam.

Sir Alex Ferguson takes the opportunity to make a couple of changes, with Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick going off to be replaced by Chris Smalling and Shinji Kagawa.

Robin van Persie waltzes his way past a couple of Wigan challenges and it looks like he will score a sublime goal as he shapes to shoot from the edge of the area, but for once he cannot keep his effort below the crossbar.

Wigan have been on the receiving end of a few pummellings from Man Utd and Roberto Martinez may be fearing the worst now, with 25 minutes still to play.

GOAL! Javier Hernandez steers home another fine finish from just inside the area after Robin van Persie's free-kick cannons into the defensive wall and drops perfectly for the Mexican.

Gary Caldwell becomes the first player to go into the book following a cynical foul on Javier Hernandez.

Ali Al Habsi again fails to cover himself in glory as he tries to come for an Ashley Young cross but is beaten to the ball by Javier Hernandez, whose flicked effort loops just off target.

Arouna Kone thinks he has given Wigan a lifeline as he turns home Franco Di Santo's low cross from close range, but for the third time today we have a goal disallowed for offside and, for the third time today, it is a good decision.

Wigan briefly weather the storm as they get a free-kick just inside the United half. Somebody had better check David de Gea is awake, as he has been a virtual spectator so far this afternoon.

It is becoming just a bit too easy for Man Utd here, as Javier Hernandez blasts an ambitious shot from distance high and wide.

United nearly carve open Wigan with some intricate passing but cannot quite find the killer ball. They soon get another chance to come forward, though, as Wigan keep giving it away just at the moment.

Ashley Young crashes a shot straight at Maynor Figueroa after an opportunity presented itself to him 25 yards from goal.

Wigan look edgy at the back as Maynor Figueroa and Ali Al Habsi nearly get themselves in a tangle before the keeper eventually boots it clear.

Ivan Ramis surrenders possession following a horribly under-hit pass, but Javier Hernandez cannot capitalise as he slices a shot wide from a tight angle.

It has been a scrappy start to this half, with Franco Di Santo sarcastically applauding referee Andre Marriner after conceding a free-kick for a foul on Ashley Young.

Man Utd appear happy to let Wigan have the ball just at the start of the second half, and will probably try to hit their opponents on the counter-attack.

Wigan have a mountain to climb to get something out of this game. They looked quite solid for the opening half-hour or so but could not live with United once the visitors clicked into gear.

Wigan get the second half started. There have been no changes at the break.

Dan from Stamford says: "I am a United supporter and I think RVP will get a couple of goals today and we're going to hammer Wigan 4-0."

Is there any way back for Wigan or will United go on to steamroller the home side in the second half? Let me know at Lewis.Rutledge@bskyb.com, or via Twitter @SkySportsLewis

The half-time whistle goes and United are in total control at 2-0 after raising their game for the last quarter of an hour. The two strikers have done what they do best, Javier Hernandez scoring with an instinctive finish and Robin van Persie with an exquisite one, to leave Wigan shell-shocked.

Javier Hernandez is deadly up front and has the ball in the net again after running on to a pass from midfield, but unfortunately for the Mexican the flag is up for offside.

GOAL! Robin van Persie doubles United's lead with a stunning goal as he turns inside Ivan Ramis, leaving the Wigan defender on his backside, and curls a right-footed finish past Ali Al Habsi and into the top corner.

Emmerson Boyce this time shows his defensive qualities to get in front of Javier Hernandez and scramble the ball clear for Wigan.

Emmerson Boyce floats an inviting ball towards Franco Di Santo at the back post, but Rio Ferdinand uses every inch of his frame to stretch and head clear.

Wigan get a reprieve as a United corner finds its way through to the back post but hits Patrice Evra on the arm, prompting the referee to give the home side a free-kick.

If Wigan are not careful they could fall two or three behind before half-time, as United can really smell blood now and are going in for the kill.

GOAL! United have been piling on the pressure for the past couple of minutes and are rewarded as Javier Hernandez pounces on a rebound to score from close range after Ali Al Habsi can only parry Patrice Evra's shot.

Ali Al Habsi is looking a little shaky, to say the least, as United win a series of corners in quick succession. However, he is a great shot-stopper and he comes up with an unorthodox but impressive save to shovel away Rafael's swerving, long-range effort.

United win a free-kick in a decent area and Ali Al Habsi fumbles what should be a relatively routine cross. Luckily for him the ball does not drop nicely for a United player and Gary Caldwell throws his body on the line to spare his keeper's blushes.

Wigan clear the corner and launch a swift counter-attack through Arouna Kone, but Jonny Evans shows good pace to get back and make a crucial tackle.

Ryan Giggs delivers a superb cross from the left wing that is heading into a dangerous area at the back post, but Maynor Figueroa gets there first to make a brilliant interception and clear the ball behind for a corner.

Robin van Persie has barely had a sniff yet and Wigan are working hard to keep him quiet, as four blue and white shirts surround the Dutchman the second he gets on the ball.

A promising Wigan attack breaks down and United launch a swift break, but Ashley Young's final cross is not the best and Ali Al Habsi claims a comfortable catch.

Javier Hernandez tries to slip a pass through for Ashley Young but Maynor Figueroa shows good strength to hold him off and shepherd the ball back to Ali Al Habsi, who is a little slow in coming off his line.

There is a muted appeal for a penalty from Man Utd after a coming-together between Jean Beausejour and Ashley Young just inside the Wigan area, but they were both being equally physical and referee Andre Marriner is right to just wave play on.

Wigan enjoy a period of possession in midfield and their system appears to be working well, with United's full-backs largely pinned back apart from that one Rafael surge earlier.

Jean Beausejour has a chance to test David de Gea following a good Wigan move, but he blazes his shot high into the stands from the edge of the area.

It is quite cagey just at the moment. Wigan are well organised at the back and neither keeper has had a save of note to make yet.

Rafael injects a bit of pace into the game with a quick burst forward, but his final pass is awful as he sends the ball a long way beyond Robin van Persie and straight out of play.

Arouna Kone, who will be heading off the Africa Cup of Nations after today's match, holds off Rio Ferdinand but then loses the ball as Michael Carrick retreats to win back possession.

You do get the sense that the start to this game is vital for Wigan, as the longer they can keep United at bay the more their belief will grow. It is a case of so far, so good, as they are competing well in the early stages.

The ball is in the back of the Wigan net but Javier Hernandez's celebrations are stopped short as the flag goes up for offside. Replays show it to be the correct decision, but it was still a delightful ball from Ryan Giggs and excellent finish from the Mexican.

Arouna Kone shows good movement to find a pocket of room in the United area but cannot quite sort his feet out and his first-time shot lacks power and direction.

Jean Beusejour threatens on the counter-attack for Wigan as he finds himself in space to run at the United defence, but his pass towards Arouna Kone is rushed and Rio Ferdinand makes the interception.

Maynor Figueroa drills a hopeful long pass down Wigan's left wing but none of his team-mates are within 30 yards of the ball and David de Gea comes out to collect.

It is an open start to the game as Man Utd are trying to boss proceedings but Wigan look dangerous on the break, with Arouna Kone just flagged offside here.

Javier Hernandez gets his run right on this occasion as he picks up a pass from Robin van Persie, but the angle is too tight for his shot to really trouble Ali Al Habsi and it is an easy save.

Javier Hernandez is flagged offside as he just makes a mistake in the timing of his run onto a long pass forward.

Franco Di Santo concedes a free-kick for a foul on Patrice Evra as Man Utd try to settle into a nice passing rhythm in the early stages.

Man Utd kick us off and there are around 19,000 very excited supporters at the DW Stadium looking forward to what promises to be a thrilling clash.

Ben G from Cardiff writes: "Appreciate that he is only just back from a lengthy lay-off, but I really wanted Kagawa to be starting today. When he starts games, United play much, much better. Still though, that young Dutch kid upfront looks quite promising so I'll say Wigan 1-3 United."

Arouna Kone has scored in his last two Premier League games and is 10/1 to open the scoring today but, not surprisingly, all the pre-game money is going on Robin van Persie to score first (11/4).

Nick says: "Can't see anything but a United win today but don't expect them to keep a clean sheet with Vidic on the bench. Lots of goals here today with a 5-2 win for United."

Tarek Rahman writes in on a similar theme: "Seeing Giggs start has me worried a bit, especially in a match we lost last season. I'm expecting a pretty boring opening or for United to be on the back foot until the introduction of Kagawa or Valencia. Expecting a 2-1/3-1 score line with Van Persie and Hernandez both to get on the score sheet."

@garywrench tweets: "Think Ryan Giggs is the weak link. Think Kagawa should have started. Think 1-2 to United RVP getting both."

@StevieHoudini says: "United were well beaten at the DW last season, can't see it happening again. RVP will be the difference again in a 2-0 win."

Wigan: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Di Santo, Maloney, Kone. Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Stam, Golobart.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Young, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs, van Persie, Hernandez. Subs: Lindegaard, Valencia, Smalling, Vidic, Welbeck, Scholes, Kagawa.

@JackBenno96 is the first to tweet in, saying: "As a Manchester United fan (From Manchester) I think we will beat Wigan 5-1. RVP scores 3 Hernandez 2 and Kone scores 1."

The team news for Man Utd is that Robin van Persie returns to the starting line-up as Sir Alex Ferguson makes five changes, with Rafael recovering from a hamstring injury to make his comeback after a four-match absence. Wigan recall Scotland midfielder James McArthur for former United man David Jones in the only change made by Roberto Martinez.

Sir Alex Ferguson was able to celebrate his 71st birthday yesterday in the knowledge that Manchester United are seven points clear at the top of the table, and we all know that traditionally they get stronger during the second half of the season. Ominous signs for the rest of the league, then, but Wigan are sure to relish such a challenge today and will be determined to stay clear of the bottom three after climbing out of the relegation zone last time out with a 3-0 victory at Aston Villa.

Get in touch with your views and predictions at Lewis.Rutledge@bskyb.com, or via Twitter @SkySportsLewis. Will United continue to march on at the top of the table or can Wigan spring a surprise to boost their own survival chances? The full team news will be in shortly but who do you think are likely to be the key players?

Good afternoon and welcome to our minute-by-minute commentary of Wigan's clash against Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson's men have won 14 of their 15 Premier League meetings with the Latics so history would suggest there will be another three points to add to the United tally by 5pm, but Wigan did win the corresponding fixture last season in what turned out to be a pivotal result in the title race. Could there be a repeat performance this afternoon to start the New Year with a bang?

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