Manchester United labored to a narrow victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in yet another Premier League fixture on Tuesday. Playing their fourth game in nine days, the Red Devils looked exhausted and overworked in a gritty and frustrating game at Old Trafford. A late-late goal from Marcus Rashford gave Ole’s side a much-needed win to propel them into second place.
With the games coming thick and fast, Ole made changes to keep the squad fresh and energized. De Gea started in goal with Maguire and Bailly at center back. Wan-Bissaka and Telles were the wing-backs, and Pogba and Matic were the holding midfielders. Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Greenwood, and Cavani spearheaded the attack. Shaw, McTominay, Fred, van de Beek, and James were among those on the bench.
Manchester United started well and quickly moved into the opposition half, knocking the ball around and looking for space. However, that dominance was very short-lived as Wolves defended deep and began turning the tide of the game in their favor. Adama Traore gave the United defense plenty of trouble as his pacey runs would leave the defense stranded. Ruben Neves came close in the 13th minute with a shot, but De Gea saved it with relative ease. Wolves had two more shots on target that required De Gea to step in as the pressure on the home side mounted. Bruno Fernandes came close in the 34th minute after a cross from Greenwood. Unfortunately, Portuguese goalkeeper Patricio denied his national compatriot. The last few minutes of the first half were very end-to-end and exciting, but United looked far from their best.
At halftime, Luke Shaw came on for Alex Telles. This decision was a confusing one, as Telles’ crosses were providing United with plenty of opportunities. However, Luke Shaw successfully dealt with Adama Traore’s runs as United began taking control of the game. In the 64th minute, Anthony Martial came on to replace Mason Greenwood. United had a goal disallowed shortly after Cavani was adjudged offside. Some concerns were raised about a handball in the box but Jonathan Moss was not interested.
Manchester United came close again when Pogba struck from 25 yards out, but Rui Patricio scrambled to save the shot. As the game was heading towards a drab and slow draw, frustration among United fans grew. However, it was United’s very own Marcus Rashford MBE who gave the Red Devils much to celebrate. The Englishman picked up a long pass from Bruno before firing a shot towards goal. The ball took a huge deflection off Saiss, leaving Patricio stranded. In the presence of Sir Alex, the Red Devils notched three points in Fergie Time.
Despite struggling for a majority of the game, Manchester United picked up three very important points today. The team looked exhausted and out of ideas- struggling to break down a defensive Wolves side. The forwards were very poor in their movement, playing a very stagnant and slow form of offense. Marcus, Martial, and Greenwood did not give their midfield any good looks or options for a majority of the game.
It was only until the final 15 minutes that the midfielders were able to pick out the long passes and threaten the Wolves’ goal. United now stand second in the table behind the Scousers with 30 points. Next, Manchester United play Aston Villa on New Years Day before their EFL Cup fixture against Manchester City. United will hope to finish out this festive period with 3 more points, and a spot in the EFL Cup Final.