It was always going to be a difficult night when you consider this Wolves team’s style of play. It might have taken a deflected effort from Marcus Rashford but no one will care much as three points since us into 2nd place. It is the first win over Wolves in the league since their promotion in 2018. The game that preceded it was an awful watch, a close range effort for Bruno Fernandes being the best chance of goal in the whole game before. Outside of that, United did much of nothingness and the West Midlands side were relatively comfortable in defence. At the end of the day, three points while performing badly is as good as any trait to have and long may it continue
It’s the age old issue with this United team under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. When a team sets up in a fashion to deny our more mischievous players the space that they so desire, the Red Devils have continually struggled to answer the question they pose: “Come break us down”. The breakthrough goal always seems that more important because it is the only thing that could entice these sort of oppositions onto us. Wolves are the archetypal opponent and we have failed on four occasion to beat them. So why is it so difficult? Well, the players we have, or more so the ones that were out there today, are the ones that are often found wanting when the space has been restricted. Cavani can manufacture space at the best of the times and less of a worry but the three behind him, Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Greenwood, were not found in dangerous positions often enough. Rashford was the most dangerous of the three but even his threat faded as the game went on. Greenwood’s anonymity off the right is becoming ever more concerning as his body is yet to catch up with his technical ability, in terms of withstanding the men’s game. His approach play, while clean, lacks decisiveness. The burst of pace he was so capable of in the youth game has disappeared as he is playing against harden professionals. In fairness to him, one of our best chances came from good work in creating a yard and delivering a cross to the back post, which Bruno Fernandes should have scored. Yet it was none of those aforementioned three or the substitute in Anthony Martial were why United did in fact grow more into the game. It was Pogba detaching himself from the double pivot to join attacks that started to cause more issues for the away side and give the home side a bit more impetus. In the end, the man who started the game well but became more quiet that would come up with the winner. If anyone deserved it, it would be Rashford to get the winning effort
Slow slow slow
Such is the modernity of football these days that even in our defenders, whilst they did the jobs they needed to do first and foremost, which is protect the goal, their fault in the lack of inventiveness from the side will always be looked at. In the win over Everton in that League Cup quarter final tie, the opening goal that decided the tie was because of one of the CBs, this time Harry Maguire, taking it upon himself to pass earlier to a man into space. This is in contrast to his usual dwelling and ambling routine, which only serves as a way of slowing down the play and letting the opponents camp in. It was pass to Martial in between the lines, who would go on to find Cavani. Far too many times today, the English international was his usual self on the ball. As good he is, or purported to be, on the ball, his hindrance in it is a big issue. Considering we already have Wan Bissaka’s uncouth play down the right hand side hampering the play down that side of the pitch, having Maguire slow down the game as if the team are holding a lead beggars belief.
27 games since the mercurial Portuguese attacking midfielder rocked up on the shores of Manchester, no side has collected more points as a team than Liverpool. His influence is clear. Our reliance on him is becoming worrying. Despite the superhuman numbers he has produced in a United shirt, even if his performances sometimes flatter to deceive, he is still human. He cannot keep doing it week in and week out, which is more than okay. What he is should be more than enough. Others should be able to perform without the Bruno Batteries being put in there back.