- Arsenal News
- News Archive
- League Table
- Premier League News
Wigan Athletic v Manchester United: Preview
Published : 12 May 2009 21:14:03
Wigan Athletic v Manchester UnitedKick-off: Wed May 13, 8.00pm, JJB Stadium, WiganTV: Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports HD1Radio: BBC Radio 5 Live Ferguson assured his players that they would reverse an apparent decline and restore the club to the summit of English and European football. Related ArticlesNo contract offered to TevezUnited's 'deal' with Real for RonaldoEnglish football's bad boys'United want to win title against Arsenal'Predict scores and resultsSir Alex Ferguson takes heat off Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Porto testFour points from United's next two league games, at Wigan on Wednesday evening and at home to Arsenal on Saturday, will guarantee a third successive title – only the fifth time in English football history that a title hat-trick has been achieved – and a record-equalling 18th league championship. Should the domestic formalities be concluded this weekend, United could look forward to a Champions League final encounter with Barcelona in Rome, where victory would make them the first club to retain the Champions League in its present form and also emulate Ajax, who in 1973 became the last team to retain both their domestic and European crowns. When Ferdinand celebrated his first Premier League title with United in 2003, 12 months after completing a £30 million transfer from Leeds, the defender might have been justified to believe that his Old Trafford career would continue to follow a similar path to glory. But Arsenal's 'Invincibles' and the Roman Abramovich revolution at Chelsea shifted the balance of power from Manchester to London and left many doubting United's ability to overhaul their rivals in the capital. Ferguson kept faith with his young team, however, and he also urged his frustrated players to trust his confidence in the future. And with more success now seemingly just around the corner, Ferdinand admits that he would have been a fool to doubt his manager. "Four seasons ago, everyone was saying we were finished and that we were a spent force," Ferdinand said. "I can remember people booing Ryan Giggs. That is how mad it was. "But the manager calmed us down, told us to take our time and trust him. He assured us it was a transitional period and the results since have proved that. "You just have to trust the manager. He has been so successful, so not to have done that would have been crazy and the players have stood by everything he has done. "I never once thought this [success] might not happen again or that it was the end of an era. "In terms of the league and Europe, we have not won anything yet, but we are in a great position to do so." Ferdinand and United have fond memories of their last visit to Wigan. On the final day of last season, a 2-0 victory at the JJB Stadium secured United's 17th title and prompted a trophy parade in front of their 5,000 travelling supporters. But the title cannot be won at Wigan this year. Nothing can be confirmed until Arsenal visit Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, but with only one of United's 10 Premier League titles being won in front of their own supporters – against Tottenham in 1999 – Ferdinand admits he is determined to finish the job on home turf. "I have not played a football match to win the league at Old Trafford," Ferdinand said. "I have won it at away grounds and been in my house when another team has lost, so it would be nice to win it at Old Trafford. "But in all honesty, I would win it anywhere. I would win it on the grass outside the training ground if I had to." Ferguson is expected to stick with Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line-up on Wednesday night, despite his reaction to being substituted against Manchester City on Sunday. United have privately dismissed renewed reports in Spain that the player has agreed a deal to sign for Real Madrid this summer as groundless, with senior figures at Old Trafford understood to regard the latest speculation as tedious. Ferdinand is facing a late fitness test on a calf injury before Ferguson selects his team to face Wigan. With Jonny Evans also doubtful with a hamstring strain, John O'Shea is on standby to deputise in central defence. With Arsenal due at Old Trafford less than 72 hours after the Wigan game, Ferguson admits that he will rotate his squad again to keep his players fit and fresh in the build-up to Rome. "It's a hard game and we have only had three days to prepare following the game against Manchester City," Ferguson said. "I'll freshen my team up and will make two or three changes again. "We need to do that, to keep the squad playing. I've got a big squad, so I will use it. "Steve Bruce has built a very powerful, athletic team at Wigan and, although they had a bad start to the season, they came back with great rattle and got themselves into a European position. "They may have tailed off a bit from that, but Brucey has still done a great job. There has been progress." Team details Manchester United (from): Van der Sar, Foster, Kuszczak, Rafael, O'Shea, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Ronaldo, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Anderson, Park, Giggs, Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov, Macheda.Wigan Athletic (from): Kingson, Melchiot, Figueroa, Edman, Boyce, Bramble, Scharner, Valencia, Koumas, De Ridder, Cattermole, Brown, Watson, N'Zogbia, Kapo, Mido, Rodallega, Sibierski, Pollitt.