Manchester United 1-0 Wigan, half-time report: Van Persie heads United in the lead

Laurence Griffiths

Robin van Persie has given Manchester United a 1-0 lead at half-time over Wigan Athletic in the community shield, his early header the difference between the two sides.

United didn't have to wait too long to take the lead, and it came through a familiar source. Patrice Evra delivered a cross from deep into the Wigan penalty area, and Robin van Persie rose highest to meet it with a brilliantly-placed header which dropped out of Scott Carson's reach into the far corner of the goal.

United almost made it two not too long afterwards when Wilfried Zaha, who was looking in exciting form, burst down the right side to drill in a cross along the six-yard box, but Leon Barnett was alert to just get in front of Danny Welbeck and remove the danger. A slightly frustrating moment followed when Rafael was withdrawn due to a knock, Chris Smalling his replacement with Phil Jones moving to right-back.

Without the drive of their right-back (or his twin brother, who was not on the bench), United struggled to create too many more opportunities in the game, settling into complacency and domination of possession without really imposing themselves on the opposition defence. As the clock ticked towards the 30-minute mark, Wigan managed to get into the game more, and almost levelled the scores. Chris Smalling was caught under a high ball by James McClean, who surged goalside to the touchline but drilled his cross too hard for Grant Holt to react in time.

Danny Welbeck had a pair of opportunities soon after as United woke up, first picking up the ball inside the area and doing well to turn and fire a curling effort, but his shot was too close to Scott Carson, who was able to tip it around the post. Welbeck then nodded over from Van Persie's delivery of the resultant corner.

United appear to have been playing a fluid front three, with Welbeck, Zaha and Van Persie appearing in a variety of positions in attack, which has seemed to suit our play well. As ever, the midfield seems to be negating our chances - hopefully this is one of the last times we'll see this trio together in the centre.

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