ANDREW BENNETT REPORTS ON WOLVES 3-4 DEFEAT TO MANCHESTER UNITED
Premier League vintage at Molinuex on a strange Thursday evening Premier League game. From absolute joy to devastation and everything in between in an emotional rollercoaster for all fans in the golden palace.
United who were unbeaten in their last 22 games in the month of February made it 23 as they claimed a last gasp winner in front of the North Bank to take a 4-3 victory back home.
The Line Ups:
Sa – Semedo , Kilman, Dawson, Toti, Doherty – Doyle, Lemina – Neto, Bellegarde, Cunha.
Toti (Fraser, 83), Doherty (Ait-Nouri, 54), Doyle (Gomes, 83), Bellegarde (Sarabia, 64), Cunha.
Onana – Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw – Casemiro, Mainoo, – Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford – Hojlund.
Martinez (Maguire, 86), Casemiro (McTominay, 73), Garnacho (Evans, 92), Rashford (Antony, 73), Hojlund (Forson, 86).
The first half:
As always seems to happen when Manchester United turn up in Wolverhampton they turn on their best football. United started quickly against a Wolves side who thought they were still playing championship dross.
With all the focus on Marcus Rashford after his shenanigans in Belfast it was inevitable he would be the one to finish a swift United move with a brilliant finish into the top corner with only 5 minutes on the clock.
Following United’s opener neither team really controlled the game but every time United attacked it was far too easy to open the home sides defence. United doubled their lead when Rashford again involved played through an unmarked Shaw who drilled a cross to the near post for Hojlund to force home.
Wolves didn’t get the message that their defending was appalling as United continued to open up the Wolves backline, Casemiro missing an open header from a Fernandes free kick. Hojlund then was presented what looked like a goal in waiting as Doherty played a short back pass to Jose Sa who just got onto it to smash against Hojlund to go out of play. Varane was the next to have an opportunity to blaze the ball over after a good set piece routine by the visitors.
The half didn’t see any marked improvement from Wolves who were sloppy in possession and couldn’t make anything going forward, often crossing to nobody or final balls were intercepted.
Before the half time whistle Manchester United put the ball in the net twice from Hojlund and Casemiro respectively both to be ruled offside, only small margins and it could’ve been 4-0 at the break.
A much improved performance in the second half saw Wolves controlling the ball and frequently switching the play opening up a weak Manchester United back line.
The half started well as Wolves first opportunity came via a Neto set piece. His delivery found Kilman only for Martinez to hook the ball away. United who were always dangerous on the counter came close via Garnacho and Hojlund but the back line was more alert to the danger. Wolves continued to press with little reward until Neto was clipped and awarded a Penalty. VAR seemingly taking forever to confirm the on field decision allowed the kick to go ahead for Sarabia to coolly put down the middle.
Molineux which was quiet for most the night much like Wolves attacking performance was up and electric booing every United touch. This was short lived as Mctominay easily burst through the Wolves defence to connect to a Bruno Fernandes corner to make it 3-1 restoring the away sides 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute.
With less than 15 minutes on the clock plus an expected few minutes additional time it seemed the game was done for Wolves who were slow in possession until Kilman bundled in a corner kick past Onana and the come back was on!
To everyone’s shock 9 minutes were added by the official which gave Molineux new energy as United were preparing for a corner kick. This energy made it onto the pitch when an electric counter saw Cunha thread the ball through to Neto to cut inside and slot the ball into the near corner sending Molineux delirious.
Only a few moments later did a lapse of concentration from a throw-in see Mainoo get space in a shooting position to hit a wonderful strike for United and finally seal the three points for the visitors.
As the players on the pitch Molineux with one exception was slumped, down and out at the final whistle. Absolutely Gutted. A poor defensive performance saw Wolves cut open too easily and scoring three goals at home was not enough to gain even a point. Play like that against a team like Liverpool or Arsenal today could have been double figures. Great excitement but Gary O’Neil has work to do at the back after shipping so many goals on a day so many Wolves fans hoped for a new number 9 on transfer deadline day.
ARTICLE BY ANDREW BENNETT
From my first Wolves match against Chelsea in 2003 I fell in love with the team and matchday experience. I work in digital marketing and have lived in Germany and Estonia over the past few years, this doesn’t stop me following Wolves and ensuring all my international friends become invested to the Wolf pack. I enjoy football, board games, a pint and travelling always excited to try new things. You will find me in the north bank on a matchday.