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Dominated, chances missed, VAR scandal. Sounds familiar!


Wolves started the 2023/24 campaign with a 1-0 loss away at Old Trafford but the score does not start to tell you the story of Wolves’ first game under Gary O’Neil.

After a turbulent pre-season resulting in now ex-boss Lopetigue dramatically leaving less than a week before the first game of the season, we went into this as many people’s favourite for relegation. O’Neil’s first XI saw Sa in goal, Ait-Nouri, Kilman, Dawson, and Semedo at the back. A midfield of Nunes, Lemina, Gomez, and Neto. With Cunha and Sarabia in more attacking roles. 


The first ten minutes really epitomised the whole game; with Wolves rock solid in formation, great attacking threat but lacking that killer touch, and sloppy mistakes almost costing Wolves. Wolves had Man U scared to play out from the back with our high press and players like Gomes robbing possession back for us; making players like Mount look very average indeed. A great break from Neto down our left, skipping through tackles only to be hacked down by the “butcher” himself Martinez. 

One of the most impressive aspects of Wolves’ play was the ability to play between the lines and travel with the ball at speed and with conviction. Between the 20 and 30 minute mark we saw two incredible runs from Ait-Nouri, whose quick feet made the United midfield look foolish. Cunha also had an incredible run through the centre of the pitch as he used strength, skill, and speed to charge into their box, leading to a shot by Sarabia just going wide. 

The next 10 minutes saw United back into the game as Wolves continued to give away possession sloppily, allowing Man U to apply pressure; especially from their wide areas. With the “famous” Old Trafford spectators jeering their team on we seemed to be losing more 50-50 battles and weakly going into tackles. This being said however, we rode the pressure, stood firm and in position and nothing of great mention troubled the Wolves defence or keeper. The last minutes of the half saw another great run from Neto, sloppy play by Nunes to gift possession in a dangerous area, and a last ditch sliding block by Kilman. These 2 minutes really summarising Wolves’ first half; very quick going forward, very organised, yet very sloppy. But definitely more positives! 

Wolves news - Report Manchester United 1 Wolves 0


The second 45 minutes started in the same fashion with Wolves dominating the game with Neto beating his defenders to then play a wonderful 1-2 with Sarabia but could only force a corner. 2 minutes later came the games first turning point. Yet again Wolves charged through their midfield, this time with Nunes; who was excellent on the ball for the whole game, played in Cunha at the back stick for a glorious opportunity but he could only manage to hit the post when it seemed certain he’d score. A great opportunity to take the lead and a very much deserved lead it would have been. The game continued in the same vein, as Wolves kept creating half chances and running through Man U with ease. Sa was caught flapping at a ball in the 53rd minute with only Dawson to save him with a header off the line.

Our first sub came just after the hour mark with Hwang coming on for Sarabia, he played out left and was a handful for Man U from the moment he came on. The first complaint about the officiating was at the ease referee Simon Hooper handed out yellows for Wolves players but very reluctant for United. Rash challenges went unpunished while Neto complaining to the linesman warranted a quick swipe of the card for dissent.  Neto in turn had a great opportunity 7 yards out after yet another amazing run by Cunha who played in Hwang, ball across the middle to Neto who squandered another chance. 

For all of our hard work, the lack of killer instinct was always going to cost us, and for how average we made United look all game, they have the players and quality to produce one moment to turn the game. This happened as Fernandes played in Wan-Bissaka who had escaped the attention of Lemina, to chip it over Sa into the path of Varane who had the easiest of headers 2-yards out to give United a very undeserved lead after 76 minutes. 

Albeit 1-0 down, Wolves refused to let their heads drop and we continued to probe with speed and promise. The introduction of Silva gave Wolves a target and he found himself in the right place at the right time twice in quick succession but both shots were saved. His effort and commitment at wanting the ball and chasing back was something which fans will definitely love seeing more of. The ball just wouldn’t fall or bounce in our direction. In the final minutes we battered their door down but still couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Deep into the 7 added minutes at the end came the most controversial moment of the game. A ball high into the box saw Onana (who looked very slow and shaky all game) completely take out Sasa, getting nothing of the ball but clattered him late and blatant. Every single Wolves fan in attendance, every staff member on our bench, all Sky Sports pundits, any football fan who knows anything about football knew it was a penalty. O’Neil absolutely convinced it was but importantly, and shockingly the referee nor the VAR room thought it was. Even after a season full of Wolves being robbed by abysmal officiating, it still hurts just as much. We out-fought, out-played United and deserved 3 points, let alone 1 but to be denied once again by a farce of a decision makes fans sick! 


An incredible performance despite an opening day loss, a performance which will lift the spirits of every Wolves fan. Semedo was incredible defensively, Gomes and Nunes ran the midfield. And despite his glaring miss half way through the second half, Cunha showed his class. His runs and commitment were there to see. Definitely a Man of the Match display.

It has been dreadful transfer window so far and with the loss of manager Wolves fans praying to not take a hammering away at Man U, but the performance they all put in was appreciated by the travelling fans who once again silenced “the theatre of dreams”. Every ounce of effort giving on that pitch and all of a sudden things are looking rosier. We will overcome the adversity and our players will play with more freedom and the goals will come. Up the Wolves & keep the faith. 

Nick Parkes, Always Wolves Fan TV


Hi, I’m Nick! Born in Wolverhampton and currently living in Barcelona.  I’ve been a Wolves fan since birth (dad’s choice) and was a north bank season ticket holder in my younger days. My favourite all-time player, Bully! 

I’m an English teacher by trade and when I’m not scolding teenagers in the class, I’m either running, gardening or watching cricket! 

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