Manchester United comfortably defeated League One outfit Wigan Athletic to advance in the 2023/24 FA Cup. Goals from Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes ensured Erik ten Hag’s side reached the round of 32 for the 10th straight season. Wigan Athletic now exits the competition in the third round for the fourth time in the last six seasons.

Despite playing a third-tier side in the English pyramid, Manchester United named a strong squad that featured the usual players that start in the Premier League. That helped Manchester United show its dominance early on in this game. However, it was Wigan to have the best chance to start the game. After three minutes, Andre Onana smothered an attempt from Thelo Aasgaard. A dangerous attempt almost put United behind inside five minutes.

However, United quickly turned the game around to lead in every statistical category. By the end of the game, United launched 33 shots toward the Wigan net and 14 hit the target. Wigan goalkeeper Sam Tickle had a strong game with a total of 10 saves.

Yet, there was nothing Tickle could do about United’s opener after 22 minutes. Diogo Dalot collected a pass from Marcus Rashford on the edge of the Wigan area. The Portuguese full-back fired a precise right-footed shot into the left-hand post of Tickle. That was the only goal of the first half, but it could have been far worse for Wigan.

Manchester United hit the crossbar twice in the first half. In ten minutes, Rasmus Hojlund headed the ball off the crossbar. Alejandro Garnacho then rattled the woodwork with a powerful shot that beat Tickle. That shot was one of a few in the first half that came ever so close to going in for United.

Second-half dominance from United in FA Cup defeats Wigan

Wigan did not find any solace in the second half from the onslaught of United pressure. Kobbie Mainoo and Scott McTominay had real opportunities to score early in the second half. It took a penalty for United to finally double its lead. A theatrical dive from Bruno Fernandes played up to the official to get the penalty. There was contact, but Fernandes made the most of it. Fernandes stepped up to convert the penalty with an effort into the bottom left corner.

United had the remainder of the strong chances, which prevented Wigan from having any meaningful attempts on goal.

United to face lower-tier teams in next round

Manchester United is awaiting its opponent in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Fourth-tier Newport County is traveling to Eastleigh in the National League in a replay following their 1-1 draw. The winner of that game is hosting Manchester United in late January. For audiences in the United States, that game, as well as every other in the FA Cup, is available on ESPN+.

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Based on the pairings from the rest of the FA Cup fourth-round draw, there will not be too many Premier League teams remaining after the fourth round. That presents a major opportunity for Erik ten Hag, who is trying to win his second trophy with Manchester United.