Report and highlights from Molineux as a Manchester United team that included Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho beat Wolves 1-0 thanks to Mason Greenwood’s late goal
By Adam Bate
Sunday 29 August 2021 18:52, UK
Mason Greenwood’s late strike earned Manchester United a 1-0 win over Wolves at Molineux in a game marked by David de Gea’s stunning double save.
The build-up to Greenwood’s goal was not without controversy as Paul Pogba appeared to catch Ruben Neves only for Mike Dean to ignore the appeals of the midfielder.
United, who included Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho in the starting line-up for the first time, also had De Gea to thank for the victory after his extraordinary efforts to twice keep out Romain Saiss.
Wolves will rue their finishing as they remain without a point under new boss Bruno Lage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now find themselves third – with Cristiano Ronaldo on the way.
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Wolves: Sa (5); Semedo (6), Kilman (6), Coady (6), Saiss (6), Marcal (7); Neves (6), Moutinho (6); Trincao (7), Jimenez (6), Traore (8).
Subs: Podence (6), Gibbs-White (n/a), Silva (n/a)
Man Utd: De Gea (9); Wan-Bissaka (6), Varane (7), Maguire (6), Shaw (7); Fred (5), Pogba (6); Sancho (6), Fernandes (6), James (6); Greenwood (8).
Subs: Cavani (6), Martial (6), Dalot (n/a).
Man of the match: David de Gea
How the game unfolded at Molineux
Wolves started the game with real intensity, Adama Traore causing plenty of problems for the Manchester United defence with his trademark direct running.
Firstly, he skipped beyond Pogba and Fred in midfield and calmly set up Raul Jimenez in the right channel but the striker’s tame shot was saved by the feet of David de Gea.
Then, it was Ruben Neves’ turn to break on United, putting young Francisco Trincao clear only for his shot to be blocked brilliantly near the line by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
When Joao Moutinho volleyed over from a good position, Molineux was rocking, and though Conor Coady had a headed attempt, the breakthrough goal would not come.
Varane was to the fore as United repelled a series of corners and before the first half was over the opportunities began to come at the other end of the pitch as gaps appeared.
Pogba lofted a pass through to Bruno Fernandes that he expertly finished beyond Josa Sa only to see the assistant referee’s flag rightly go up for offside.
As supporters traded insults amid a boisterous atmosphere, a neat touch by Sancho presented a chance for Mason Greenwood in the left channel but his fierce shot flashed just wide.
The Wolves supporters applauded their team off the pitch but must have been fearing this was more of the same having played well without scoring in their previous two games.
Wolves named an unchanged team from the defeat to Tottenham despite some impressive performances in the midweek cup victory over Nottingham Forest.
More interesting was the Manchester United line-up as Raphael Varane came in for his full debut while Jadon Sancho made his first Premier League start.
The home side continued to carry the game to their opponents nevertheless with more experiencing defending from Varane required to keep out Trincao.
Fred forced a save from Sa with a wickedly struck volley but Solskjaer’s side still struggled for fluency even after Edinson Cavani replaced James with Greenwood moving out wide.
Neither side were settling for the point and Trincao spurned a good opportunity when set up by Traore only to scuff his kick, but Wolves’ best chance was still to come.
Romain Saiss connected well with Moutinho’s corner from close range only for De Gea to produce an instinctive save. The ball came back out to Saiss but this time Dea had an extraordinary response – clawing the ball out away to his left.
Nobody at Molineux could quite believe what they had witnessed from he goalkeeper and the miss proved costly soon after when Greenwood finally found the breakthrough goal.
Wolves were unhappy with a decision in the build-up as Neves and Pogba contested the ball. The Manchester United man seemed to catch his opponent only for play to go on.
Greenwood took full advantage, ramming home with his right foot from a narrow angle, and while Neves protested vociferously, displaying the mark from the clash, the goal stood.
That seemed to affect Wolves badly and they were unable to build up any momentum in the closing stages. With Ronaldo’s arrival imminent, United’s moment might just be starting.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjær took charge of his 100th Premier League match as Manchester United boss (W53 D28 L19). Of the nine managers to reach the milestone for the Red Devils in the top-flight, only Ernest Mangnall (54) won more of his first 100 in charge than the Norwegian (53).
- Manchester United are now unbeaten in their last 28 Premier League away games (W18 D10) – setting a new record for the longest unbeaten away run in English Football League history.
- Wolves are just the second team in English top-flight history to lose each of their first three games to a season by a 1-0 scoreline, after Spurs in 1974-75.
- Wolves have lost their last six Premier League games, failing to find the net in five of those defeats – it’s their longest losing run in the competition since April 2012 (7).
- Man Utd have only lost two of their last 21 games in the Premier League, winning 11 times in the process (D8).
- Mason Greenwood has scored in each of Manchester United’s opening three games of the 2021-22 Premier League season, becoming just the second teenager to score in his team’s opening three games of a Premier League campaign, after Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95.
- Wolves’ Adama Traore has completed 28 dribbles in the Premier League this season, 11 more than any other player. Meanwhile, no player has had more shots without scoring in the competition his term than Traoré (12 – level with teammate Raúl Jiménez).
- Wolves’ Raul Jimenez is the only player to register double figures for both shots (12) and chances created (10) in the Premier League this season.
There is an international break for these teams before Wolves return to action against newly-promoted Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday September 11.
Manchester United play that day too, hosting Newcastle United at Old Trafford in what could well mark Cristiano Ronaldo’s comeback appearance for the club.
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