LIAM BERRY REPORTS ON WOLVES 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
A goal from substitute Marcus Rashford saw Wolves fall to their 10th loss of the Premier League season.
After the last-gasp 2-1 win away at Everton on Boxing Day, boss Julen Lopetegui made one change bringing Matheus Nunes into the first XI, with Joe Hodge dropping to the bench.
Ten Hag also made one change, dropping Rashford to the bench minutes before the line-ups were released after ‘disciplinary issues’, Alejandro Garnacho replacing him. Rashford later revealed that he had overslept and missed a team meeting but sadly he was to prove all too alert when entering the game after half time.
United started the game off well, with a header from Casemiro blocked by Nunes.
Then Wolves got their groove on and started producing some good sequences of play, with Maximilian Kilman playing in Hugo Bueno down the left flank. However, the fullback’s effort to deliver the ball in the box was denied.
Despite the pressure Wolves were applying, a huge mistake from Nelson Semedo gave Garnacho a clear cut opportunity, and it took a massive save from Jose Sa to keep the score level.
It didn’t take long for another chance to come about, with Nunes driving with the ball from his own half and playing in Diego Costa, who cut inside well but could only deliver a weak shot which was easily picked up by David De Gea.
The half ended with a United chance as a ball to the back post from Bruno Fernandes saw Antony head the ball straight at Sa.
Wolves started the half impressively again, controlling possession and threatening the United back line.
A superb run from Traore got the crowd going and helped lift what had sometimes been a flat atmosphere during the first half.
And then a brilliant Wolves free kick from 25 yards out from Ruben Neves forced a quality save from De Gea.
A shift in the game saw Wolves sit back more and defend deep, perhaps with an eye on the counter attack which had worked so well at Everton, as Lopetegui made two changes and altered the formation, Toti Gomes and Rayan Ait-Nouri coming on for Joao Moutinho and Bueno.
The deadlock was broken however when Rashford found himself in the Wolves penalty box, evading a couple of challenges before powering a low shot into the corner.
Not long later, he scored again, only for it to be cancelled out by VAR due to a handball as his initial shot bounced back against him thanks to Sa’s save.
Wolves’ late efforts to build pressure weren’t enough – with a couple of corners they put on some pressure and another substitute Raul Jimenez had a header saved by De Gea. But they were unable to find a way through to fashion an equaliser.
Wolves could feel hard done by, and that they deserved more from this game, but even in defeat, and staying in the bottom three heading into the New Year, there were positives to take.
Given the vast improvement in the performance, there is a sense of optimism that Wolves can go on and secure the points that will keep them safe in the Premier League.
The next game is Aston Villa away on Wednesday, then followed by the FA Cup Third Round tie against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday evening.
ARTICLE BY LIAM BERRY
I am a life long Wolves fan that is passionate for the club. I am a sixth form student who loves writing about things I love!