Premiership Matchday 3: Manchester United 5-0 Wigan

Michael Owen scores his first goal for Manchester United v. Wigan (Getty Images)

Michael Owen scores his first goal for Manchester United v. Wigan on 22 August 2009 (Getty Images)

What probably happened at halftime of Manchester United’s 5-0 thrashing at Wigan. At halftime, the score was 0-0.

In the locker room, Sir Alex Ferguson paces back and forth in front of his players. Despite several changes from the Burnley game, the squad still looks tentative, like it’s trying to find its way. And failing, to a degree. What Sir Alex wants is the team to play like it can. So, as he walks down the tunnel to the locker room, he thinks about what to say.

I imagine there was a lot of gum-chomping but not a lot of yelling. Sir Alex is past the fire-and-brimstone phase of his career, at least with the players. It’s quite a different story with the media, though.

For this edition of the Red Devils, it’s really more about playing up to, or slightly beyond, one’s ability. They can’t rely on Cristiano Ronaldo’s sublime ability or his somewhat unique ability to put the lesser teams to the sword. That’s why it was particularly pleasing to see Luis Antonio Valencia’s cross go in off Wayne Rooney’s head. And to see Dimitar Berbatov’s laconic expression change to unadulterated joy. And to see Nani recover from an absolutely terrible free kick to put in a candidate for goal of the week.

In the end, like the Burnley game, there really wasn’t a lot to take from this. Sure, the second half was a joy to behold but it was only a half. Although, to be honest, I think it was excellent preparation for the game versus Arsenal on Saturday.

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