Easy enough then in the end. Not to say it came without any problems, Wigan were solid and difficult to break down in the first 40 minutes. But a solid and competent 90 minutes will do me 100%. A fifth round FA Cup tie is on the horizon and another step closer to another date at Wembley. Here is what we learned this afternoon against Wigan.
Could Bastian be back?
A resurgence of quite large magnitude happened today. Bastian Schweinsteiger made his first start for 368 days, and goodness was it welcomed. If this is to be a permanent thing then he helps a lot of the potential headaches Jose Mourinho faces as the games begin to come thick and fast. Michael Carrick cannot play more than two games in a week (and that is a stretch) so when he isn’t there his control is sorely missed, Schweinsteiger offers exactly that type of Carrick-esque dominance in the middle of the park that is so vital to the side playing well. His goal was a tap in but well taken and brilliant to see. He may irk people, he may be injury prone and getting on, but Schweinsteiger could well prove to be integral yet.
The swagger could be back
Yeah, the first 40 minutes were about as entertaining as being threatened at gun point, but once the first goal went in United started to tick and purr like the United of old. The Mkhitaryan goal had shades of the famous Rooney/Ronaldo goal against Bolton all those years ago. Some of the football will more likely be lost to the more tedious side of things today, but there were some really nice patches of interchanging passing spotted throughout the match. A full first team could well herald some really nice, attractive football as the longer United prove to be unbeatable the more the confidence appears to be growing through the ranks.
The lad needs a pick me up during this horrendous patch he’s having. Unfairly criticised publicly by his manager and reports of discontent behind closed doors, once Martial moved out wide to the left he was the best player on the park. Two assists is a fairly good way of proving to his manager he is up to the task, and perhaps the springboard he needs to find his mojo once more. It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for the young Frenchman and emerging from this rut is vital.
Elementary in the end. No complaints really, nothing was unexpected aside from the first half. Wigan made themselves very difficult to break down and deserve plenty of credit for that fact, the third and fourth goals came from their obvious desire to push on and salvage something from the game. Mkhitaryan played well, Smalling and Rojo were untroubled and the former took his goal very well. Fosu-Mensah played well at right back also, he has a big future ahead of him, and it was nice to see Axel Tuanzebe finally make his debut. Fifth round beckons in a competition that is slowly becoming more winnable the more bigger sides are being dumped out. Get a nice draw for the next round and suddenly a double doesn’t look that ludicrous a prospect after all.