Old and new combined for Manchester United as Paul Scholes marked his 700th appearance for the club with a goal and debutants Alex Buttner and Nick Powell also scored in a 4-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford on Saturday.
But the victory threatened to be overshadowed by United and England forward Danny Welbeck's blatant dive. Welbeck’s controversial move won United an early penalty, missed by Javier Hernandez, although that only delayed the inevitable as the home side scored three times in 15 minutes early in the second half.
It was an occasion for anniversaries at Old Trafford — Giggs became the first player to appear in 600 Premier League games, Scholes made his 700th United appearance in all competitions, while Rio Ferdinand was playing his 400th game for the club.
Perhaps the most significant landmark on Saturday, however, was that manager Alex Ferguson was taking charge of United in an Old Trafford league game for the 500th time. Scholes opened their account after 51 minutes when Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi could only parry a dangerous, low cross from Nani into the path of the veteran United midfielder who converted into an open net from four yards.
After 63 minutes, Dutch left-back Buttner continued what had already been a promising debut after the Wigan defender Ivan Ramis was caught in possession in his own area by Welbeck. The ball was played to Ryan Giggs who, in turn, fed Buttner whose low shot was turned in by Hernandez from close range. Buttner appeared ready to claim that goal but, in any case, only had to wait two more minutes to claim one that was undoubtedly his.
Gathering the ball outside the area, Buttner surged into the Wigan penalty box, casting aside three challenges before somehow forcing the ball into the goal from an impossible-looking angle via Al-Habsi. The final goal, after 82 minutes, came from Powell, a substitute 11 minutes earlier. After James McCarthy gifted the ball to Rafael, the full-back’s lay-off was met by Powell who beat Al-Habsi convincingly from 18 yards.
Arsenal hit Southampton for a six
Arsenal taught Southampton a harsh lesson about the realities of life in the Premier League by hammering them 6-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Ivory Coast international Gervinho led the rout with two goals while Lukas Podolski’s effort, a late Theo Walcott strike and two own goals continued an unbeaten start to the season for Arsene Wenger’s side.