London: Manchester United comfortably beat Wigan Athletic 4-0 in a pulsating Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Chicharito had a fourth minute penalty saved by Ali Al-Habsi after he was adjudged to have brought down Danny Welbeck but a Paul Scholes close-range effort, a goal from the Mexican and debut finishes from Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell, all in the second-half, were the difference.
It was a day of landmarks for three of Sir Alex Ferguson`s men as Ryan Giggs made a record 600th Premier League appearance, whilst Scholes and Rio Ferdinand played their 700th and 400th matches for the club.
Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa started on the bench as they were nursing knocks picked up on international duty and there was a debut for left-back Buttner.
Roberto Martinez stuck with the same starting line-up and substitutes who drew 2-2 with Stoke last time out after initially sweating on Jean Beausejour`s fitness.
United should have been 1-0 up inside the first five minutes when the on-rushing Welbeck was clipped by Al-Habsi in the area. Replays suggested it was a harsh decision and the goalkeeper did well to save Chicharito`s weak effort.
The visitors held their own in the first half but it was Welbeck who was causing problems up front for the hosts.
He had four chances in the opening 25 minutes. His first was a volley which just went wide and left Al-Habsi stranded, before a second effort was blocked by Gary Caldwell.
From the resulting corner, Scholes and Welbeck had further volleys blocked and the England international then headed over from a Carrick centre.
Wigan nearly scored with a header of their own with an effort sandwiched in between United`s chances. Shaun Maloney whipped in a free-kick on the right and Ivan Ramis rose highest but failed to keep the ball down.
Emmerson Boyce almost capitalised on an advantage played by referee Michael Oliver. He was caught from behind by Giggs but managed to bounced back up and shoot just wide.
The second-half proved a step too far for Wigan as the floodgates opened.
Scholes finished just inside the six-yard area following a bout of pinball in the box. The visitors just could not get the ball clear and the landmark celebrating midfielder was on hand to rifle home past Al-Habsi on 51 minutes.
Twelve minutes later and it was two. Chicharito atoned for his first-half penalty miss, helping in Buttner`s cross-cum-shot from what initially looked like an offside position A second look saw Maynor Figueroa keeping him on.
Buttner deserved a goal for his lung-bursting runs down the left-hand side and one of those runs finally paid off.
He beat three Wigan defenders for pace before side-stepping Ramis. The ball almost went out of play on the byline but instead of letting it go out, he smashed it across the face of the goal and the ball bounced off Al-Habsi and into the goal.
The best of the goals was the fourth and final goal of the game and was a superb strike from Powell.
Welbeck burst into the Wigan area and ended up in a dead-end. The ball should have been cleared but ended up at the feet of Chicharito, he laid-off Powell on the edge of the area and the former Crewe man took a clever first touch, to glide past his man before rifling home from 20-yards with a ferocious drive to seal a fine win.
First Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012, 08:00