Manchester United traditionally get better in the second stages of the season when the New Year kicks in so the signs are ominous for the chasing pack to say the least.

They will be in no hurry either to relinquish their 7 point lead as they make a short journey across the North West to the DW stadium to take on Wigan.

A win for the Red Devils in their last Premier League outing against West Brom continued a highly impressive statistic of winning seven of their last eight matches. That run has left City trailing in their wake as they look to bring the title back to the red half of Manchester.

Wigan sit rather differently in the Premier League table just one point off the relegation places but again this is the time when they kick on too.

A win against fellow strugglers Aston Villa would have been seriously welcomed, and gives them some comfort that they have the fight to claw away from the drop zone.

The 3-0 success over Villa was rather emphatic and the Latics will be hoping that this is a breakthrough for an impressive sequence for them.

They are fully aware of the tough test that they face hear but winning is not an impossibility. They proved as much as they won this fixture to the shock of many with a Shaun Maloney winner in April as they played United off the park in a deserved win.

Ferguson won’t want to make the same mistakes twice and that marked the first time Wigan got points off United while there won’t be any festive spirit from the league leaders looking to give them any more.

Antolin Alcaraz continues his recovery from a groin problem. Antonio Lopez, Ben Watson, on-loan Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi and Albert Crusat are also amongst the absentees. Ivan Ramis and Franco Di Santo returned against Aston Villa and will boost the side once again.

Rafael should make it back after being out for four games with a hamstring injury. Phil Jones could feature as Ferguson looks to rotate his squad. Robin van Persie looks certain to be recalled.

Arouna Kone has scored in his last two Premier League appearances and will hope he can do the damage again when his side take on the Red Devils.

Prediction: Wigan 0-3 Man United

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