Talking with our feet

Posted by Mark Payne

Yesterday Old Trafford bore witness to our team's best performance of the season, one that took us up to second in the league and a match that commemorated the tenures of some of the club's greatest servants. Unfortunately, a couple of hundred idiots have hogged a number of the Sunday headlines.

Of the 75,142 fans in attendance yesterday, approximately 74,500 attended in the spirit of the game. They were respectful to their opponents and the good name of Manchester United.

Manchester United is a great club, one with great tradition and a gaping hole in the midfield. Wigan Athletic have never scored in open play at Old Trafford, but for 50 minutes here, they were passing the ball around without too much intervention from United tackles.

There is tremendous endeavour amongst the ranks, but the midfield is embarrassingly passive and, at times, Wigan were allowed to look like Barcelona. For all of Roberto Martinez’s excellent work, Catalonian they are not.

This will hopefully be remembered as the occasion when Alex Buttner announced his arrival in Mancunia. We love nothing more than a player with a bit of grit and Buttner looks to be in that mould. Determination is something I greatly admire and he seems to have it in spades.

Fellow debutant Nick Powell's goal was deeply impressive too and all of our new signings have bedded in well. No other club in the division can make the same claim.

Our next league fixtures are against Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham, Stoke and Chelsea. The rehearsals are over now. Beating Wigan is one thing, but we will soon find out what these new recruits are really made of.

This season's Champions League campaign begins on Wednesday and, presumably, the most impressive performer against Wigan is poised to partner Robin van Persie against Galatasaray. Chicharito and Welbeck were deployed in the forward roles and both should have seen this fixture as an audition.

Last year's European debacle cannot be repeated and you can expect Fergie to have every armament ready for the Turkish side's visit. It was very encouraging to see Hernandez snag a real poacher's goal, displaying all the positional sense that makes him so valuable. He should get the nod midweek.

With Chelsea and City dropping points elsewhere, Sir Alex can reflect on a decent afternoon's work at the office. But that was on the pitch.

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