|photo by izarbeltza
Q. How much tinkering did Fergie do to Saturday's starting lineup?
A. A fair bit, truth be told, choosing to rest RVP and Shinji Kagawa in front of the mid-week Champions League clash with Galatasaray, and replacing the dynamic duo with Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, two strikers that have never showed much chemistry between them. Also notable was the Gaffer's decision to stick with Anders Lindegaard in goal, suggesting that the benching of David De Gea may not be a limited move. The home fans also got their first look at left back Alex Buttner, who was filling in for a rested or injured Patrice Evra, depending on who you believe.
Q. With all those changes, who had the biggest impact on the game's opening minutes?
A. Referee Michael Oliver, who missed a clear yellow card on Jean Beausejour before calling a rather soft penalty on Wigan 'keeper Ali Al-Habsi. Apparently even Chicharito believed the penalty was undeserved, kindly agreeing to offer up a tame roller that never threatened net in the slightest.
Q. Anyone else look lively in the first half?
A. Welbz played like a man possessed, creating chance after chance in front of goal. The English international played almost as if Fergie had told him his regular starting position could be in danger due to the arrival of a certain flying Dutchman.
Q. Loads of goals as a result?
A. Not quite, at least not before the interval. The first half was another example of United's frustratingly slow-to-develop offense, as the Reds once again played at a speed better suited to the departed Dimitar Berbatov than the starting Chicharito. The game was fairly narrowly divided after the first 45, with both sides squandering opportunities.
Q. Was it one of the youngsters who finally broke the deadlock?
A. A youngster only in Fergie's eyes: Paul Scholes scored to celebrate his 700th game for the club.
Q. And then what happened?
A. And then a track meet broke out, with both sides trying to set a record for quickest movement of the ball up and down the pitch.
Q. And then?
A. And then United turned the game into a bit of a sitcom, courtesy of Chico and the Man. The second goal, in which the Mexican tapped in the new left back's wayward effort, was nice enough, but oh, the third goal was just sublime. The new man at Old Trafford -- Alexander Buttner --announced himself to the delighted home crowd with his determined effort, letting them know that some left backs actually score goals. Even the watching Patrice Evra was surprised to learn that.
Q. Did the game end that way?
A. No, the young'uns weren't done quite yet. Next up was Nick Powell, a late substitute who lasered a ball from outside the box past a frustrated Al-Habsi for the Reds' fourth goal of the afternoon. But while Powell looked great, it was Buttner who was the true revelation on the afternoon, helping to turn the tide from a tense nil-nil halftime into a more than comfortable 4-0 home victory.
This is farlieonfootie for September 16.