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There are just over 20 miles separating Wigan’s DW Stadium and Old Trafford, the venue for the Latics’ FA Cup fourth round tie early on Sunday evening. There is, however, a much bigger journey for Wigan to make in terms of quality if they are to have any chance of staying in the competition.
Wigan are right in the battle to avoid relegation from the Championship while their opponents, Man Utd, are sixth in the Premier League and on an unbeaten run nearing 20 games. United are also the current FA Cup holders and have won 17 of their 18 games against Wigan.
This could turn into a very tough match for Warren Joyce and his players.
Man Utd 2/11 (Paddy Power)
Draw 13/2 (BetVictor)
Wigan 16/1 (Ladbrokes)
When you look at the difference in quality between the two teams and Man Utd’s incredible record against Wigan, it’s no surprise that you can get 16/1 on the away team winning with Ladbrokes.
Are there, however, a couple of positives for Wigan?
After initially struggling to arrest their poor form, Joyce has overseen three straight wins. Those wins have helped improve their position in the league and squad morale ahead of the biggest game of their season so far. Wigan also don’t have another game until the following Friday so Joyce can put out his strongest team and allow his players to go for the win.
Then there’s Man United’s recent fixture congestion. Jose Mourinho has had to chop and change his team over the past couple of months but there’s no doubt there are some tired legs in the United ranks.
Try as we may, it is tough to make a compelling case for Wigan but at a best price of just 2/11 with Paddy Power, Man Utd do look a little short.
If you do want to back a home win, you can get better odds by combining a bet on Man Utd to win and the game having over 2.5 goals at 8/13 with Paddy Power. If United get going they can rack up a big score while there is a chance Wigan can grab a goal of their own which makes that look a decent price.
Man Utd 2-0 @ 11/2 (William Hill)
Man Utd 3-0 @ 13/2 (Paddy Power)
Man Utd 1-0 @ 15/2 (Bet365)
Man Utd 4-0 @ 9/1 (Paddy Power)
Man Utd 2-1 @ 10/1 (Betfair)
Man Utd 3-1 @ 11/1 (Betfred)
As you can see by the most popular selections in the Correct Score market, the bookies cannot really see anything other than a Man Utd win.
The Red Devils have really found their groove under Mourinho in recent weeks. Big players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick have stepped up to the plate as they’ve begun to look much more like the Man Utd of old.
Although the top three selections all involve Man Utd winning to nil, it could well be worth taking a different approach if you’re getting stuck into the market. Man Utd to win 3-1 at odds of 11/1 with Betfred looks like an especially tempting option.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 13/5 (Coral)
Marcus Rashford 7/2 (Bet365)
Wayne Rooney 4/1 (Bet365)
Anthony Martial 5/1 (Sky Bet)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan 11/2 (Bet365)
Juan Mata 6/1 (Boylesports)
Paul Pogba 6/1 (William Hill)
Jesse Lingard 7/1 (Bet365)
There’s no surprise that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the favourite to open the scoring on Saturday. The big Swede has been a success everywhere he’s gone (with the possible exception of Barcelona) and even at the age of 35 he is proving his quality in English football.
Mourinho made such a big play to get Ibrahimovic to Old Trafford not just for his goalscoring prowess but also for his leadership skills. You can clearly see that the other Man Utd players look up to Ibrahimovic and that his will to win has had a major impact on the squad.
However, Mourinho may decide to give Ibrahimovic the day off on Sunday. Man Utd played Hull in midweek and have a Premier League fixture to prepare for on Wednesday. With Mourinho set to rotate his squad, Wayne Rooney should have the chance to take centre stage.
It’s been a frustrating season for Rooney as he’s had to adjust to not being the first name on the teamsheet. It is to Rooney’s credit that he’s quietly gone about his business and that he’s still managed to break Bobby Charlton’s record to become Man Utd’s greatest ever goalscorer.
He’s always desperate to take the chance to impress so back him to score the game’s first goal at 4/1 with Bet365.
Man Utd to win and over 2.5 goals at 8/13 with Paddy Power
Wayne Rooney to score first at 4/1 with Bet365