Following three successive wins, Wigan Athletic make the trip to Old Trafford, to face current FA Cup holders, Manchester United. The mouth-watering clash will see Warren Joyce take the 2013 FA Cup winners to face his former employers. The clash will be broadcast live on BBC.
Jose Mourinho’s side are winless in three, despite this, United have reached the final of the EFL Cup, after they beat Hull City, 3-1 on aggregate. The 2-0 victory at Old Trafford, proved pivotal, as The Red Devils went on to lose the second leg in Yorkshire. In the 3rd Round, Manchester United thrashed Reading 4-0, a game which was made for Wayne Rooney, his 7th minute goal equaled the great Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record for United. Just 11 days later, Rooney was on hand to make the record his own in the Premier League fixture away at Stoke City, as his stoppage-time equalizer ensured the Red Devils rescued a point at the Bet 365 Stadium.
The Tics are going through their best spell under Warren Joyce, as they’ve picked up three successive victories, including two vital wins in the Sky Bet Championship, as the Latics moved out of the relegation zone following the win against Brentford on Saturday, at the DW Stadium. They did so at the expense of Burton Albion, whom, Wigan beat at the Pirelli Stadium just a week before the vital win at home to Brentford, thanks to two fine goals from Everton loanee and then debutant, Callum Connolly. The Latics beat Nottingham Forest in Round three at the DW Stadium in rather comfortable fashion. Goals either side of half-time, first from Will Grigg, then from Dutchman Yanic Wildschut, meant the Tics saw off lowly Forest. A late penalty save from Jakob Haugaard ensured there would be no chance of a replay and thus The Tics won the game 2-0.
United’s latest FA Cup win equaled a record twelfth FA Cup win, following the triumph in 2016, sharing the record with Arsenal.
Wigan’s FA Cup win in 2013 remains their only major trophy.
At this stage last season, Manchester United also traveled to Championship opposition in the form Derby County. They went on to win at Pride Park 3-1 thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Daley Blind and Juan Mata. The Latics didn’t make it to Round fpur however last season, as they played Bury in Round one and were thumped at Gigg Lane by the then fellow League One outfit. The last time Wigan Athletic reached Round 4 was in the 2013/14 season and Uwe Rosler’s side saw off Premier League Crystal Palace, beating them 2-1 with goals from Ben Watson and James McClean.
Wigan are yet to taste anything other than defeat at Old Trafford in 8 attempts, all in the Premier League. In fact, Wigan Athletic have only beaten Manchester United once in 18 games. This came in 2012 at The DW Stadium, when Shaun Maloney’s goal gained the Latics a vital three points for then manager Roberto Martinez. The Latics went on to perform further miracles to avoid relegation from the Premier League. The sides have met twice outside the Premier League, however. They met once at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2006 for the League Cup Final. United thrashed The Latics 4-0 thanks to a brace from Wayne Rooney and goals from Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo in between.
The sides also met in 2013 for the curtain raiser, the FA Community Shield. The 2012/13 Premier League Champions, took on the FA Cup winners of 2013. United also won this game thanks to a double from Robin Van Persie. This was also a landmark for English football as a whole, as goal-line technology was used for the first time within the country.
The sides actually met earlier this season, albeit non-competitively, in a pre-season friendly at the DW Stadium, with the goals coming from Will Keane and Andreas Pereira. It was a game in which former Borussia Dortmund man, Henrikh Mkhitaryan took all of the plaudits, he looked very impressive in the game.
This isn’t the first time Wigan Athletic have faced a side from Manchester in the FA Cup, however. Wigan Athletic, have met United’s noisy neighbours from across the city, Manchester City, four times in total. There have been two wins for each side, however, The Tics have won the two most important meetings between them. Defeating City at Wembley in May 2013 to lift the famous old trophy, thanks to a late Ben Watson header and a 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Uwe Rosler’s return to the club, with goals from Jordi Gomez and James Perch, which meant Wigan continued their defense and booked their place at Wembley for an FA Cup Semi-Final against eventual winners, Arsenal.
Jose Mourinho is expected to name a “good team” in his own words to face Wigan. However, goalkeeper David de Gea is expected to be rested. Eric Bailly is in contention after returning back from Gabon in the Africa Cup of Nations, with the Ivory Coast, following a disappointing group stage where the holders of the competition failed to win a single group stage game. Luke Shaw could be eased into the starting 11, potentially making his first appearance since November. Anthony Martial is expected to start as United boss Mourinho has offered the incentive of a Premier League start if he can prove himself against the Championship outfit on Sunday. Former Wigan man Antonio Valencia could be in line for a start too, this week, Valencia was full of praise for the town of Wigan, telling the media “the supporters were great, the stadium was always full with our fans getting behind us and driving us on. It was a small town with a massively big heart.”
Warren Joyce, on the other hand, will be without Alex Gilbey and former Manchester United man Reece James, despite them both completing 45 minutes for the development squad in the week, as they continue their recoveries from injury. Craig Morgan could start after successfully recovering from a groin injury. Another ex-United player, Andy Kellett, is expected to be on the bench for The Latics. Yanic Wildschut will face a late fitness test after but could not be included in the side after he missed the 2-1 win against Brentford last weekend with a hamstring problem. New signing Marcus Browne could start, whereas the other new signing, Jamie Hanson is cup-tied.
Manchester United (Expected): Romero; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw; Mata, Fellaini, Herrera, Rooney, Mkhitaryan; Martial.
Wigan Athletic (Expected): Haugaard; Connolly, Buxton, Burn, Warnock; Wildschut, MacDonald, Power, Morsy, Browne; Grigg.