Manchester United went into this game as heavy favourites, despite being away from home, as they took on Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup third round tie on Monday Night.

The fourth-round draw was done prior to kick-off and with the winner facing the winners of the replay between Newport County and Eastleigh FC, the Red Devils and under pressure manager Erik Ten Hag saw this as a great chance to progress far in the tournament, as they eased to a 2-0 victory at the DW Stadium. 

Overall, United dominated possession (67%), and had 33 total shots compared to Wigan’s nine, with 14 on target. They had 603 total passes as opposed to the host’s 304 and had ten more corners than the home side.  

They took the lead in the 22nd minute as  Marcus Rashford found Diogo Dalot on the edge of the penalty box, who slotted the ball in the bottom right corner of the net.  The game remained 1-0 for a large part of the game, as hope increased for the Latics that they could sneak an equaliser and force a replay trip to Old Trafford. 

The game then saw its biggest talking point, as United were awarded a penalty, which was converted by their captain, Bruno Fernandeswith a quarter of an hour left to go. The Portuguese international was in the box and attempted to skip past Wigan’s Liam Shaw, before going down.

On first look, it looks to be a dive, but there is some form of contact from Shaw and that has to have been the reasoning for Anthony Taylor’s decision to award the penalty. 

United have struggled for form of late, but they will hope a deep cup run can ease the pressure from the fans. Ten Hag had this to say in his post-match interview:

“Job done”

WIGAN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Manager Erik ten Hag of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at DW Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
WIGAN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Manager Erik ten Hag of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at DW Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

“In the FA Cup, it’s all about winning. It’s a knockout. You have a reply, but you need two games. You want to finish the job.  Job done.”

Ten Hag also spoke of the performance and the impact Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25% stake could have. 

“We created, first half, about five or six chances. We should have taken more. If you don’t score, you have to focus and that what we did. 

“I think, it's an inspiration and everyone is optimistic, but there is a lot of work to do.  We have had a lot of setbacks but it’s a journey, it’s a project.”

Wigan manager Shaun Maloney scored a winner against United at this very stadium in the 2011/12 season that had a big part to play in their title collapse. He would have hoped for a similar shock result tonight but praised his players for their effort. 

“Proud of my players”

 Maloney said: “I think it was a difficult match. When you play an opponent that has that much talent in the final third, it’s hard to press.

“I’m really happy with our players. They had moments and in these games, you have to take these chances. Brilliant experience for our players.”

Next up for United is a home tie against Tottenham Hotspur, who were drawn against holders Manchester City in the fourth round, but they won’t see the pitch again until the tie against Newport or Eastleigh on the last weekend of January.

Meanwhile, for Wigan, they take on Northampton Town away from home on Saturday before travelling to Doncaster for a Football League Trophy third-round tie three days later.