A HORRIBLY one-sided second half saw Latics suffer another nightmare afternoon at the Theatre of Dreams.
Latics had given as good as they’d got in an even first-half, raising hopes of a first-ever point on this ground at the eighth attempt, before it all went wrong after the break.
The afternoon couldn’t have started any worse, with United being awarded a fourth-minute penalty for a non-existent foul by Ali Al Habsi on Danny Welbeck.
Fortunately Al Habsi saved Javier Hernandez’s spot-kick - but Latics were unable to take full advantage.
Paul Scholes celebrated his 700th United appearance by opening the scoring five minutes into the second half.
Hernandez made it 2-0 just after the hour mark, and new signings Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell both marked their debuts with goals as Latics struggled to prevent it becoming a rout.
Latics: Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour; Maloney, Kone, Di Santo.
Subs: Pollitt, Jones (for Beausejour, 68), Watson, Gomez (for Maloney, 58), Crusat, Miyaichi, Boselli.
United: Lindgaard; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Buttner; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Hernandez, Welbeck.
Subs: De Gea, Evans, Cleverley, Kagawa, Powell (for Giggs, 70), Valencia, Van Persie (for Scholes, 70).
Referee: Michael Oliver