Premier League - Hernandez and Van Persie help United thump Wigan

Premier League, DW Stadium - Wigan 0 Manchester United 4 (Hernandez 35, 63, Van Persie 43, 88)

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Manchester United's Javier Hernandez celebrates scoring against Wigan Athletic during their English Premier League match at The DW Stadium in Wigan

Braces from recalled strike duo Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie saw Manchester United win 4-0 at Wigan and maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Mexico star Hernandez finished in predatory fashion in either half with Robin van Persie curling home a wonderful finish in between on the stroke of half-time before then tapping home a late fourth after a defensive mix-up by Wigan.

With Manchester City winning 3-0 at home to Stoke, it is as you were at the top.

It was a slow start to the match from United, who seemed content to sit and wait for opportunities to break as Wigan controlled possession in the opening half-hour using their 3-5-2 formation.

Having gone behind in nine Premier League matches this season - albeit coming back to win eight of them - Alex Ferguson may have been worried that they would make it 10 at the DW Stadium.

Jean Beausejour caused some problems from left wing-back and Shaun Maloney was busy in the middle of midfield, but in truth United never looked in real danger of conceding in that opening period as the returning Rio Ferdinand put in a solid performance in the centre of defence alongside Jonny Evans.

Rafael, returning at right-back after four matches out with a hamstring injury, was a key instigator of counter-attacks. The first of them, on five minutes, saw Van Persie dig out a lovely ball over the top for Hernandez to volley to the near post, where Ali Al-Habsi parried.

In the 12th minute Ryan Giggs lifted a ball over the top for Hernandez to control and smash home, but as was the case on several occasions during the afternoon, he was a yard offside.

That was as good as it got until the 30th minute when Ashley Young was fortunate to win a free-kick out on the right touchline. Van Persie whipped a dipping effort to the near post where Al-Habsi parried with Giggs just unable to get to the rebound.

With United sparking into life, Rafael let fly with another dipping strike from 30 yards which Al-Habsi could not hold but his defence again cleared the danger in the nick of time.

Two minutes later, on 35 minutes, United broke the deadlock. Rafael flew across the pitch to the left flank and dived to chest the ball and win possession for his team. Tom Cleverley crossed to the near post where Patrice Evra mis-kicked; however the ball stayed close to him and he made space to send a shot across goal. Al-Habsi made the save but Hernandez was there to stick away the rebound.

They made it two on 43 minutes. The lively Hernandez won the ball as Wigan looked to break away and when it was crossed to Van Persie on the left inside the area, he came inside the recovering Ivan Ramis - who had fallen - and picked a spot halfway up inside the far post with his weaker foot.

There was still time before the break for Hernandez to score another disallowed goal for offside and United carried that momentum into the second half, with Wigan barely able to get a touch.

However they did have the ball in the net just before the hour mark when Franco Di Santo's low centre found Arouna Kone at the far post, but he was adjudged offside. On examination of the replays, it was extremely close and he may just have been onside.

Four minutes later United put the game to bed when a Van Persie free-kick was blocked by the Wigan wall and Hernandez pounced on the loose ball to fire under Al-Habsi from 15 yards.

Van Persie, who like Hernandez was on the bench for the 2-0 win over West Brom on Saturday, was not to be outdone. The Dutchman, who came on in that match to score brilliantly, almost bagged another superb strike when he fought to win the ball from Maynor Figueroa then sidestepped Wigan captain Gary Caldwell before firing inches over from 18 yards.

He eventually completed his brace with the simplest of finishes from a low cross by substitute Danny Welbeck. It was a result of poor defending by the home side, with Beausejour and Emmerson Boyce running into one another inside the box to allow the England striker room to pick out his Dutch team-mate.

Van Persie has now scored 64 goals in his last 76 Premier League appearances since January 2011 - but Ferguson will be just as pleased to see his side claim just a third clean sheet in 18 league and cup games - and second in a row.

Wigan, for whom substitute Jordi Gomez grazed the near post with an 83rd-minute free-kick, dropped into the relegation zone on goal difference after Southampton drew 1-1 at home to Arsenal in the late game. Saints have a game in hand on the Latics.


Javier Hernandez (Manchester United) - Two predatory finishes and two disallowed goals as he menaced Wigan throughout.


Wigan: Al Habsi 6, Ramis 5, Caldwell 5, Figueroa 6, Boyce 6, McCarthy 7, McArthur 5, Beausejour 7, Di Santo 5, Maloney 6, Kone 6. Subs: Gomez 6, McManaman 6, Stam 6.

United: De Gea 6, Rafael 7, Ferdinand 7, Evans 6, Evra 7, Young 6, Carrick 5, Cleverley 6, Giggs 7, Van Persie 8, Hernandez 8. Subs: Smalling 6, Kagawa 6, Welbeck 6.


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