Owen celebrates after scoring his first goal since 10 January
By Chris Bevan
Michael Owen scored his first goal for Manchester United as they bounced back from their defeat at Burnley to thump Wigan with a flurry of late goals.
United had been frustrated until Wayne Rooney headed home Antonio Valencia's cross for his 100th goal for the club.
A neat move soon saw Dimitar Berbatov make it 2-0 and Rooney's shot deflected in off Mario Melchiot to add a third.
Owen came off the bench to score number four with a clipped finish and Nani's curling free-kick completed the rout.
For all three of his senior strikers to find the net will give United boss Sir Alex Ferguson much satisfaction in wake of the criticism that followed Wednesday's shock loss at Turf Moor.
Rooney proud after 100th Man Utd goal
This ended up being the emphatic win that Ferguson needed to kick-start his side's season following their unconvincing early form, particularly in the final third of the pitch.
But the final scoreline should not mask United's earlier deficiencies in front of goal and a better team than Wigan would have punished the champions for their failure to take their numerous first-half chances.
The first of those came after four minutes when Berbatov fed the overlapping Nani, who cut the ball back perfectly into Darren Fletcher's path but, with Chris Kirkland beaten, the Scot's first-time shot was brilliantly blocked on the line by Titus Bramble.
Paul Scholes then blasted over when well-placed on the edge of the area and Berbatov had a close-range header saved before the industrious Rooney saw one effort deflected wide and another fly straight at Kirkland after working space for the shot.
Phelan laughs off Man Utd 'crisis'
United, who had made seven changes from the side that were embarrassed by the Clarets, should have been out of sight but instead they almost fell behind, with only a superb stop by Ben Foster keeping out a curler from Jason Koumas that was heading for the top corner.
And, although the visitors were back on top before the interval, a goal continued to elude them.
It looked as though Rooney would surely score when he lost Bramble and latched on to a hoisted pass from Jonny Evans but his drilled shot was kept out by Kirkland's leg.
And Bramble redeemed himself for that error when he timed his tackle to perfection to scoop the ball away from Berbatov as the Bulgarian shaped to shoot.
It was the Latics who came closest to scoring at the start of the second half, when Paul Scharner's deflected header flew inches wide.
But United continued to attack with the greater intent and finally got their reward after 56 minutes when Valencia crossed from the right and Rooney beat Bramble to nod into the top corner.
That brought up the century of United strikes for the 23-year-old England international, who has been at Old Trafford for almost five years, and, after getting the breakthrough they so desperately needed, Ferguson's men did not look back.
After Foster made another impressive save to claw away Hugo Rodallega's looping header, the visitors scored two more goals in quick succession to take complete control of the match.
Berbatov raced on to Fletcher's flick to push the ball over the onrushing Kirkland and slot home the bouncing ball.
Then Rooney picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the area and fired in a low shot that deflected off Melchiot and span past the helpless Kirkland.
Martinez admits to tough 'lesson'
Wigan, understandably, were shell-shocked and never looked like finding a way back into the game.
United came forward looking to extend their lead and it was Owen who was next to find the target, meeting Nani's through-ball and lifting the ball over Kirkland with a vintage finish.
It was Owen's first competitive goal since 10 January and, after his missed chances in both of United's opening games, will give him the confidence boost he needs after a difficult start to his time at Old Trafford.
Now the goals were flowing, United were not finished yet and Nani had the final word with a brilliant stoppage-time free-kick that he curled over the wall and into the bottom corner.
The result was harsh on Wigan, who had competed well for most of the first hour, but it means United go into next weekend's clash with in-form Arsenal again looking like a side who are chasing a fourth successive Premier League title.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.