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Manchester United v Wigan Athletic Preview: Expect A Comfortable Festive Home Win

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Manchester United will be looking to celebrate Christmas in style by beating Roberto Martinez’s Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford tomorrow in their penultimate Premier League game of 2011.

Wigan have enjoyed a good period of form and have picked up points in four of their last five games which have seen pick up draws at home to Chelsea and Liverpool, with their only defeat in that period coming against a Robin van Persie inspired Arsenal side at the DW Stadium.

Since earning promotion to the Premier League in 2005, year upon year Wigan have been backed to go down by almost anybody who knows anything to do with football. Yet somehow each year they have survived.

Martinez seems to be one of the nicest men in football and the young Spanish manager is destined it seems to be managing a bigger club when he leaves Wigan. He would love nothing more to leave the club in ‘safe hands’ after keeping them up.

Going into the New Year is really the time when Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken about how United click into their best-form and up the gears going into the run-in. Dropped points are not what Sir Alex will be wanting from Santa this Christmas.

So what can we expect from the game. What will be the key battles on the pitch?

Jonny Evans v Hugo Rodallega

What a year 2011 has been for Jonny Evans. At the start of the year he looked like he was going to be sold or sent out on loan due to his poor form and by the year’s end he looks to be getting back to the form that saw him earn plaudits prior to his bad slump.

Hugo Rodallega has had mixed fortunes against United in the past and was one of two Wigan players sent off in this fixture last season. He is a tireless striker who will work hard and is one of those forwards capable of only needing one chance to score

Michael Carrick v Jordi Gomez

It’s been some turn around for Michael Carrick who at the start of the season couldn’t get a look-in to United’s starting line-up. Due to midfield injuries he’s grabbed his chance and has put in some excellent performances as of late.

Jordi Gomez has certainly been one of the reasons why Wigan have picked up good results recently and the former Barcelona youth graduate has scored four goals  in his last five league games. He will be confident if given time on the ball.

Wayne Rooney v Ali Al-Habsi

Omani keeper Ali Al-Habsi has certainly shown Bolton fans that they let a good keeper go judging by his performances for Wigan last season whilst out on loan and this season so far. He doesn’t make mistakes and has a good head on his shoulders.

Wayne Rooney after a barren-spell in front of goal looks to be getting back to the kind of explosive form he started the season in. He has enjoyed playing against Wigan in the past and will no doubt trouble their keeper who will have little time to relax tomorrow.

In terms of a prediction for the game tomorrow, as I stated earlier on in a predictions article, at the start of the month, I believe United will stroll to comfortable 3-0 win which will be a late great Christmas present for United fans.

As long as Wigan don’t lose the game by a heavy score-line, Martinez shouldn’t be too annoyed as his side will not be expected to get anything at Old Trafford and he has the character to inspire his team in games they need wins from.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87