Manchester United vs Wolves Match Analysis

Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring the winner vs Wolves in the Premier League

Summary

Well well well, your team is drawing 0-0 in what has been an…underwhelming game to say the least. Is there a player that you would rather have on your team than Marcus Rashford MBE? Because I cannot think of one. I’m Millsy’s View for The United Devils with your Manchester United vs Wolves match analysis.

Manchester United’s home form was on the up coming into the game. United started the Premier League season poorly at Old Trafford. The 6-2 thrashing of Leeds in Manchester United’s previous Premier League home outing was of particular significance.

Wolves are a whole other kettle of fish and posed a much tougher challenge. Manchester United had only beaten Wolves once since they came back up to the Premier League and that was in the FA Cup. They are truly our bogey team, which is why this match was so important in keeping chase with Liverpool at the top of the table. These are the kind of games you have to come through to prove that you are worthy title challengers.

First Half

Manchester United had the better of the possession in the opening exchanges, whilst Wolves’ counter attacking tactics looked the more dangerous. Both teams took a very structured approach. Neither wanted to be too risky in the way they did things and this game never looked like it was going to be feisty.

Player ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cavani glanced a header wide in the opening exchanges

Manchester United were clearly looking to try and expose the Wolves left side. Adama Traore’s lack of tracking back was evidently an area that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought could be a weak point.

Mason Greenwood continued his sadly quiet start to this season after his explosive arrival onto the scene last season. Yet, he provided probably the best chance of the first half. His cross to the back post gave Bruno Fernandes a chance on a plate. Unfortunately, his volley was straight at Rui Patricio who saved well with his legs. Had that shot gone in then this Premier League match may have come to life. Unfortunately, it didn’t…

At the end of the first half, Wolves almost took the lead with a free kick that Roman Saiss almost deflected into the top corner. David de Gea, however, stood firm and batted the chance away.

Second Half – The Boring Part

Luke Shaw replaced Alex Telles for the second half. Solskjaer obviously felt more could be done down that side. It didn’t make a truly notable difference, although he did seem to look more like he wanted to make the moves down that flank.

Clive Tyldesley on the commentary summed this part of the game rather fittingly with the word “cul-de-sacs”. The game up until this point looked more like a glorified training session on the Old Trafford pitch rather than a Premier League game. Manchester United were forced into a possession game. Rather than the deadly, counterattacking one that they most like to. This was most obvious at the hour mark. United had made 121 passes within the final third to Wolves’ 32, almost four times as many. Wolves were defending resolutely and in a very structured way.

This seemed to be the best way to approach this Manchester United team that loves to play with speed. They looked much less comfortable when dominating possession of the ball. Although when they did have the chance to counter, they didn’t do it with any particular speed. This could have been the result of fatigue, with the teams having played just a couple of days ago.

Towards the end of the second half, Wolves started to sit much deeper within their half. They wanted to leave with a point. Manchester United thought they had gone 1-0 up after 70 minutes when Cavani, otherwise starved of the ball, had it in the net from a corner. It was correctly called offside and a handball appeal was also rightly waved away.

Second Half – Where It Got Interesting

At this moment, the link up between Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba became much more fluid. Pogba hit the best chance of the second half to this point on 74 minutes. He flashed a bouncing ball at the bottom right corner from just outside the box. The keeper, though, was equal to it and got down well to save. The marker was laid down though, Manchester United were coming.

The attack got slowly more and more potent as the clock wound past the 80th minute mark. Manchester United had the bit between their teeth at this point, Rashford and Martial both made tricky runs into the box but were crowded out vs Wolves shirts, I was thinking my match analysis is going to be big load of nothing. I uttered a sigh as it was announced that there were five minutes of added time. I didn’t particularly want five more minutes of this.

As it happened, my prayers were answered, and the big man listened. The big man of course being Marcus Rashford MBE in this case. He proved he is the man to step up when nobody else will. Bruno Fernandes played a ball over the top as he had been attempting all game. This time, Rashford read it wonderfully to beat the offside and grab the ball wide to the right of the goal. He took on the Wolves defender. He jinxed left, he jinxed right and he jinxed left again. With his final jinx he unleashed a shot that all Manchester United fans had been waiting 92 minutes to see. The ball deflected off Roman Saiss and found the back of the net to give United the 3 points that were probably deserved at this point.

Potential Title Chase Still On

You could practically feel the release of the tension that had been built up in such a frustrating game as Rashford wheeled away. Manchester United proved vs Wolves that they could get wins when playing ugly, making my match analysis much easier to do. We sit two points behind Liverpool, cranking the pressure on them up a notch. The potential title chase is still on.

Marcus Rashford celebrates his goal vs Wolves
Marcus Rashford proved his value again for Manchester United. Image Credit: Sky Sports

Author: Nicholas Mills