Manchester United cruised into the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Warren Joyce’s Wigan Athletic.
The former United Reserves coach returned to Old Trafford for the first time, but Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger all ensured it was United who would progress into the next round.
Jose Mourinho made nine changes to the midweek fixture versus Hull in the EFL Cup, whereas Wigan fielded the same side that beat Brentford in their previous Championship game. Schweinsteiger returned to the United starting XI for the first time in over a year, and former United player Reece James returned for Wigan after 12 months out.
The Wigan fans were in full voice and it was the visitors that started quicker and sharper. Callum Connolly had the first shot of the match, as his well-struck shot was punched to safety by United goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Wigan were doing a great job of disrupting United’s rhythm, breaking up play and playing some good football as a whole. The first time United threatened the Latics goal was from Luke Shaw’s cross, which bounced out to Juan Mata, whose half-volley went well over the crossbar.
United then had the best chance of the match. Anthony Martial, who moved out wide after a disappointing first 30 minutes, raced through the centre of the pitch with exhilarating pace. He then fed Timothy Fosu-Mensah out wide, who then whipped a brilliant cross into the area, but Mkhitaryan never really made good contact with the ball, as he scuffed shot went wide.
The hosts were beginning to come into the game towards the end of the half, and got their reward just before half time. Schweinsteiger received the ball on the right-hand side. His floated delivery was met expertly by Fellaini, whose powerful header hit the back of net.
Better from United
Mourinho’s side started the second half as a new team, passing the ball with more intensity and a higher tempo. The first chance came around when Wayne Rooney played in Fosu-Mensah, who saw his name in lights, only to drag his left-footed shot wide.
Then came Wigan’s best chance of the match and one they would rue a few moments later. A cross into the ball resulted in Sergio Romero parrying the ball, but he recovered quickly to stop David Perkins well-struck shot.
A few moments later, Martial picked up the ball on the top-left corner of the Wigan area, and put a pin-point cross towards the back post. Chris Smalling met it to double United’s lead. From there on then, the floodgates opened as Wigan searched for a way back into the game – inevitably leaving huge spaces for United to exploit.
19 year-old Axel Tuanzebe, a highly rated centre-half for United, was given his debut with 23 minutes remaining as he came on for Fosu-Mensah, who picked up a knock a few minutes before.
United were rampant and set up beautifully to counter-attack to make it 3-0. The Latics lost the ball in United’s half and the hosts made them pay. Mkhitaryan played in Martial, who returned the favour by teeing him up wonderfully for the Armenian to convert home.
Schweinsteiger then added a fourth, and added to the United fans happiness by getting on the scoresheet. Ander Herrera set him up through a knock down and the German acrobatically finished the chance, meaning United charge on in defence of their FA Cup.
They now face an away tie at Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round.