On 9th January 2024, Manchester United avoided an FA Cup upset by defeating League One side Wigan with a score of 2-0. This victory marked their first away win since November and provided some relief for manager Erik ten Hag. The win also secured a favorable fourth round draw against either non-league Eastleigh or Newport County. For United, the FA Cup represents their final chance for silverware this season, as they have struggled in the Premier League and have already been eliminated from European competitions.
In the match against Wigan, Diogo Dalot’s first-half goal and a controversial penalty converted by Bruno Fernandes sealed the victory for United. The away side were largely untroubled, with the exception of an early chance from Wigan’s Thelo Aasgaard that tested United goalkeeper Andre Onana. As the game progressed, United gained control, and Sam Tickle made a brilliant save to deny Marcus Rashford, while Scott McTominay narrowly missed a chance to score. United had numerous opportunities to extend their lead before halftime, with Rasmus Hojlund hitting the crossbar with a powerful header and Alejandro Garnacho’s shot hitting the woodwork.
Ten Hag expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance, stating that they created several good chances in the first half. Fernandes’ successful penalty further dashed any hopes of a comeback for Wigan. United now look to build momentum as they head into a two-week winter break in the Premier League, with a match against Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday. Closing the nine-point gap on the top four is crucial for United’s aspirations of returning to the Champions League next season. Despite setbacks, Ten Hag remains optimistic and determined to continue working towards their goals.