Paul Scholes marked his 700th Manchester United appearance by sending the team to their biggest win of the season over Wigan Athletic.
The 37-year-old midfielder broke the deadlock with his 155th United goal as he tapped home after Ali Al Habsi had pushed Nani's low cross straight into his path. Javier Hernandez, who missed a first-half penalty, bagged a United second when he turned home Alexander Buttner's misdirected shot, then the Dutchman capped a fine debut by driving home the hosts' third. Robin van Persie was introduced 19 minutes from time but it was his fellow substitute Nick Powell who wrapped up the win on his debut, blasting in from 20 yards.
United had an early chance to take the lead when Danny Welbeck charged into the Wigan box in the third minute and went down under pressure from Al Habsi. Referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty but Al Habsi turned away Hernandez's spot-kick with a smart, low save to his left.
With veteran duo Ryan Giggs - making his 600th Premier League appearance - and Scholes flitting in and out of the game and Buttner looking dangerous on his debut, the hosts carved out a succession of opportunities. Welbeck flashed a volley wide from Nani's cross before having a shot deflected wide by Gary Caldwell. Scholes also had a piledriver blocked as the pressure intensified. After Welbeck had headed over, Hernandez and Giggs combined to send Nani clear but the Portugal winger sent a delicate chip sailing over the bar.
Despite such pressure, Wigan should have gone in front when Jean Beausejour floated a cross to the far post. Rio Ferdinand, celebrating his 400th United match, missed the ball, but Arouna Kone could not test Anders Lindegaard in the United goal. Kone stooped to send a header over immediately after the restart, but Scholes then settled home nerves.
Michael Carrick passed through the Wigan defence for Nani, whose cross was pushed by Al Habsi out to Scholes, who, from four yards, could not miss.
United doubled their lead when Giggs teed up Buttner, whose misdirected shot was turned in by Hernandez. Buttner then forced his way down the left before driving a shot from the tightest of angles, which flew in off Al Habsi. Powell made a remarkable first contribution for United when he latched on to a loose ball and drove home eight minutes from time.
|23 Sep 2012||v Liverpool (A)|
|29 Sep 2012||v Spurs (H)|
|07 Oct 2012||v Newcastle (A)|
|20 Oct 2012||v Stoke (H)|
|28 Oct 2012||v Chelsea (A)|
|03 Nov 2012||v Arsenal (H)|