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Wigan 0 Manchester United 4: Hernandez

double has Red Devils on cruise control

Javier Hernandez made it a lucky 13 goals for the season as Manchester
United charged four points clear of Arsenal with a clinical victory at Wigan.

Sir Alex Ferguson declared the Premier League title battle was now a straight
fight between his own side and the Gunners, and with trips to Chelsea and
Liverpool looming, United could not have made a better start to their week on
the road.

Preferred to Dimitar Berbatov, Hernandez justified the faith of his manager,

turning home Nani's first-half cross before finishing Wayne Rooney's brilliant
second-half through ball.

On the mark: Wayne Rooney (left) rounds Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi

Rooney and Fabio then scored in the final minutes to leave relegation-
threatened Wigan thoroughly deflated at a result that did not reflect their
Three times Edwin van der Sar needed to make outstanding saves, whilst
skipper Nemanja Vidic was a towering presence in the United defence.

Ferguson often speaks of his regret at failing to land Van der Sar in 1999
when he was searching for Peter Schmeichel's replacement.

At the time, the giant Dutchman was at Ajax and about to leave for Juventus.

Instead, Ferguson tried a number of alternatives. Some were better than

others and titles kept being won.

But was not until Van der Sar arrived from Fulham in 2005 that concern
about the goalkeeping position ended.

This summer, Ferguson must hope for more success as Van der Sar heads off
into retirement, having hit the 40-mark but still capable of producing the
brilliance that has categorised his career.

On our way: Chicharito opens the scoring for United

Two first-half saves were responsible for United having a half-time lead at
the DW Stadium when they could easily have been behind.
A poor back-pass from Paul Scholes presented Victor Moses with the first
opportunity. Moses strode into the United box with only Van der Sar to beat.

He failed, blasting his shot against his imposing opponent's chest. That was
when the contest was still goalless. Within seconds of United's opener, Wigan
were in again.

This time Moses was the provider, drilling a low cross to the far post where
the combative James McCarthy was on his own six yards out.

Again, only Van der Sar stood between Wigan and the net.

Once more he came out on top. That Hernandez had scored in between only
added to the Latics' frustrations.

The Mexican, preferred to Dimitar Berbatov, tends not to look as dangerous

when starting games. He clearly knows how to find space, though.

And, having once been denied by Ali Al Habsi after streaking clean through,
the Mexican wriggled into enough space to steer home Nani's 17th-minute

The rout is on: Rooney slides home a third

It was tough luck on Wigan, who were the better side, frustrating Scholes and
Rooney in particular.

That Scholes avoided a booking for clattering into the back of McCarthy was
a mystery to everyone but referee Mark Clattenburg.

Rooney had earlier caught the midfielder on the back of the head with his
elbow. The Wigan fans were incensed.

Rooney pleaded his innocence. TV replays were inconclusive.

Before the half had ended, Rooney had needlessly got himself involved in a
shoving match with Antolin Alcaraz and still looked ill at ease in the second
period even though United played with far more poise.

Diame barred: Michael Carrick (left) slides in on Wigan's Mohamed Diame

They were forced to survive another near thing for Wigan before they took
command, though.

This time, Van der Sar needed agility rather than reactions to deny Maynor
Nani came close to doubling the visitors' lead when he thrashed a fierce shot
into the side-netting, not long after he had been repelled by Ali Al Habsi's
firm one-handed save.

Ferguson made comparisons between Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this

United's current Portugal winger is certainly a major attacking threat and Al

Habsi repelled him with the first part of a double save, when he also denied
Darren Fletcher, who had been set up by Rooney.

The England man may still be struggling for goals himself but he remains an
excellent source of them.

After failing to convert a close range header, Rooney collected Hernandez's

knock-down, then fed the Mexican with a delicately weighted pass. Clean
though, the Mexican found the bottom corner with ease.

Victory assured, a Rooney tap-in from Berbatov's square ball, followed by

Fabio's close-range finish, his first United goal, merely rubbed Wigan's noses
in it at the start of an eight-day period when, one senses, the strength of their
title credentials will be discovered once and for all.

Job done: Javier Hernandez (right) fires home for United