Premier League: Manchester United keen to keep seven-point lead at Wigan
Last Updated: December 31, 2012 11:41am
Sir Alex Ferguson: Hoping Manchester United can retain their seven-point lead
Manchester United will be in no hurry to relinquish their seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Wigan on New Year's Day.
The Red Devils head into 2013 sitting pretty in pole position after winning seven of their last eight league encounters, most recently beating West Brom 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
That run has left defending champions Manchester City trailing and Sir Alex Ferguson's men will be keen to keep it that way as they bid to bring the trophy back to the red side of the city.
At the other end of the table, Wigan sit 31 points behind their visitors in 16th place, a point clear of the relegation zone.
But Roberto Martinez's side will host the Red Devils boosted by their weekend win over fellow strugglers Aston Villa which ended a run of three straight defeats.
The 3-0 success was a comfortable one for the Latics and they will be hoping it is the breakthrough result they need to pull away from danger.
They face a tough test against their visitors but will be heartened by the result in the same fixture last season, when Shaun Maloney fired them to a shock 1-0 victory in April.
Ferguson's side will be determined to avoid a repeat of that upset, which marked the first time Wigan had ever recorded points against United.
The New Year's Day clash is expected to come too soon for Wigan's Antolin Alcaraz as he continues his recovery from a groin problem.
Antonio Lopez, Ben Watson, on-loan Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi and Albert Crusat are also absent with injury.
Both Ivan Ramis and Franco Di Santo are available for selection for the Latics after making their returns against Villa.
Full-back Rafael is expected to return from a four-match absence with a hamstring injury for United.
Phil Jones could also be available as manager Ferguson once again prepares to rotate his squad.
The boss noted Michael Carrick was particularly tired after Saturday's win at West Brom, whilst top scorer Robin van Persie seems certain to be recalled.
- Wigan have managed just five goals in 15 league games against Man Utd, while United average 3.07 goals per game against the Latics.
- Arouna Kone has scored in his last two Premier League appearances.
- Robin van Persie has scored 62 goals in his last 75 Premier League appearances since January 2011.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 13 Nicholls L
- 17 Boyce
- 21 Ramis
- 25 Barnett
- 3 Crainey
- 8 Watson B
- 16 McArthur
- 11 McClean
- 31 Keane W
- 15 McManaman
- 19 Powell
Team taken from Wigan Athletic vs Derby County (Sky Bet Championship) on Sunday 1st December 2013
- 1 De Gea
- 12 Smalling
- 6 Evans
- 15 Vidic
- 3 Evra
- 4 Jones
- 23 Cleverley
- 25 Valencia
- 26 Kagawa
- 19 Welbeck
- 10 Rooney
Team taken from Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur (Barclays Premier League) on Sunday 1st December 2013
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Bromwich Albion||13||15|
|15||West Ham United||14||13|
Wigan v Man United
Ryan Giggs has praised team-mates Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez following Manchester United's 4-0 win over Wigan
Paul Walsh felt Wigan Athletic 'did not turn up' against Manchester United at the DW Stadium.
Sir Alex Ferguson was thrilled with Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez after Man Utd's 4-0 hammering of Wigan.