Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United eased the pressure on boss Sir Alex Ferguson with a dominant display.
Rio Ferdinand headed his first-ever goal for the club on the half hour from Ryan Giggs' accurate corner.
Rooney doubled the lead with a low shot, then he hit the bar before making it 3-0 with a delicate chip over Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt.
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored a penalty on 70 minutes to send Wigan crashing to their fifth successive league defeat.
The win put United second in the table, nine points behind Chelsea, and made it five wins in six Premiership matches for Ferguson.
The home side set the tone of a one-sided match in the opening minutes.
Paul Scholes sent a volley inches wide before Darren Fletcher headed straight at Pollitt when he should have done better.
Rooney also got in on the act with a low drive which Pollitt turned around the post at full stretch.
And the keeper did even better on 28 minutes after Rooney set up Van Nistelrooy for a volley which was turned around the post.
Pollitt's brilliance seemed to be making the home fans nervous - but they were soon put at ease with a goal from the unlikeliest of sources just before the half-hour.
Ferdinand's first goal for United came in his 140th appearance, and it was a simple one as he rose to head in Giggs' corner.
Wigan's keeper was still kept busy as he came out quickly to save from Rooney after the striker was set up by Giggs.
But Rooney was soon on the scoresheet with some style.
The England international appeared to have lost control when he slipped inside the area, allowing Matt Jackson to make a challenge.
But he quickly regained his footing - and the ball - before stepping inside Leighton Baines and rifling a low left-foot shot into the net.
Wigan's chances were limited, although Alan Mahon forced an excellent diving save from Edwin van der Sar with a low drive.
United did not let up after the interval and the only surprise was that Rooney did not extend their lead on 50 minutes as he sidefooted against the bar from two yards following Gary Neville's deflected cross.
But he did not have long to wait to make amends as he latched on to Van Nistelrooy's pass to run clear and send a delicate chip past Pollitt to make it 3-0.
Van Nistelrooy added his name to scoresheet in the 70th minute from the penalty spot after the Wigan keeper felled him inside the box.
To their credit, Wigan kept pressing, and Henri Camara sent a shot of considerable power past Van der Sar's post.
But they could not grab the consolation their endeavour deserved and the Latics first-ever match against United in any competition ended in heavy defeat.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
"It has been a bad week for Manchester United.
"The way to get over situations like these is to grit your teeth, stay together, persevere and stick to your principles.
"In the context of the last seven days, this victory could not have come at a better time. Now, we have another job to do at Aston Villa on Saturday."
Wigan boss Paul Jewell:
"We're playing a top team they've got better players than us. I've said to the players in there that we know the season's going to be tough.
"We've played four of the top teams in the country - and some of them are the top teams in Europe.
"It's not a time to be critical of the players as they've given their best."
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand (Bardsley 65), Brown, O'Shea, Fletcher, Smith, Scholes (Park 74), Giggs (Ronaldo 70), Rooney, van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: Howard, Saha.
Goals: Ferdinand 30, Rooney 35, 55, van Nistelrooy 70 pen.
Wigan: Pollitt, Chimbonda, Jackson, Henchoz, Baines, Bullard, Skoko (Kavanagh 45), Mahon (McCulloch 74), Connolly, Roberts, Camara.
Subs Not Used: Walsh, Taylor, Teale.
Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).