Wayne Rooney kept Manchester United on course for the English Premier League's top spot before being struck down by injury as the European and World champions secured a tense 1-0 win at home to Wigan.

United can now climb to the top of the table for the first time this season if they win at Bolton on Saturday after Rooney's first-minute goal sealed victory against former United centreback Steve Bruce's team. The win however came at a cost for United boss Sir Alex Ferguson who is set to be without Rooney for three weeks after the star striker limped off with a hamstring injury in just the seventh minute.

Although Wigan had arrived at Old Trafford in fine form, having won six of their last seven league games, their record against United was a sorry six defeats from six meetings in the Premier League, so the form book was certainly on the champions side as they attempted to edge to within two points of leaders Liverpool.

Sunday's 3-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford emphasised the growing confidence within United ranks, however, and the determination to put pressure on Liverpool was evident as Ferguson's team raced out of the traps at the start of the game. But even so, United's lightning start took the breath away as they opened the scoring inside the first minute when Rooney pounced on Ronaldo's cross from the right flank.

The United winger easily beat his marker on the edge of the penalty area and his cross into the six-yard box was missed by defender Paul Scharner, allowing Rooney to stroke the ball home from close range. It proved to be Rooney's last involvement in the game, though, with the England forward succumbing to injury just six minutes later.

Ferguson replaced Rooney with Carlos Tevez and the Argentinian forward whose future at the club is far from secure should have doubled United's lead after being teed up by John O'Shea midway through the first-half. O'Shea's header from Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland's clearance freed Tevez thirty yards from goal, but the former West Ham striker over-ran the ball after rounding the keeper and he could only aim his shot into the side-netting.

Manchester United 1 - 0 Wigan Athletic Highlights


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