Manchester United left it late to grab all three points, as an injury-time winner by Marcus Rashford saw them beat Wolves 1-0 on Tuesday.
In a frustrating evening, Manchester United saw a lot of the ball, but failed to do much with it. The Red Devils did create the best chance of the first half, when Bruno Fernandes had his effort from close range being saved by Rui Patricio after connecting Mason Greenwood’s looping cross.
On the opposite end, Wolves had managed to conjure up a couple of opportunities as well, only for David de Gea to keep them at bay. Early in the second half, Manchester United thought they had finally broken the deadlock, but Edinson Cavani was offside when he shot from point-blank range.
However, while the game had continued in a similarly dull pace post the interval, it was Manchester that had the last laugh deep into injury time, as Marcus Rashford’s left-footed effort deflected off of Roman Saiss and into the back of the net. That result helped the Red Devils climb to second on the Premier League table, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
David de Gea: 8/10
While Manchester United dominated possession, Wolves still managed to force de Gea into action a few times. The Spaniard made five saves on the night, most notably thwarting the visitors twice in the first half with acrobatic stops. Kept things simple on the ball, completing each of the 12 passes he attempted.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
Back into the starting lineup after recovering from a knock, Wan-Bissaka was decent enough. The 23-year-old was largely untroubled at the back, where he completed 3 tackles and won 5 duels. But, he could have done a lot more going forward, especially with Manchester United seeing a lot of the ball. Attacking game continues to leave a lot to be desired.
Eric Bailly: 8/10
A part of the starting lineup once again, this time due to Victor Lindelof’s back injury. The Ivorian, though, produced one of his better performances of the past year or so. While he did appear to be shaky at times and gave the ball away cheaply on one occasion, Bailly was largely a rock at the back, completing 11 recoveries, while one interception particularly stood out and avoided a clear chance.
Eric Bailly’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
100% tackles won
94% pass accuracy
11 ball recoveries
Really encouraging. ? pic.twitter.com/AP1iE4MxhK
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 29, 2020
Harry Maguire: 7/10
Like Bailly, Maguire was quite solid at the heart of the Manchester United defence. In fact, some of his numbers were mighty impressive – 9 duels won, 3 interceptions, 2 blocks, 2 clearances, 2 tackles and 7 long balls completed. Did organise his backline smartly, bar a couple of occasions when a pacy Wolves side looked to pounce.
Alex Telles: 6/10
Back into the starting lineup in place of Luke Shaw, this was Telles’ chance to impress. However, the Brazilian struggled to make any sort of impact. His crosses were more hopeful than threatening, with none of his 7 such deliveries reaching their target man. Hardly called into action defensively and hence needed to do more going forward. Hooked off at half-time for Luke Shaw.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Another player who was back in the side, Pogba did well to help Manchester United assert control in midfield, linking up play smartly. Played a key pass and stung Rui Patricio’s hands in the second half, as the hosts grew more desperate for the goal. Put in the hard yards defensively as well, with 1 interception and 2 tackles to show for his efforts.
Nemanja Matic: 7/10
Nemanja Matic’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
96% pass accuracy
18 final third passes
10 ball recoveries
2 tackles won
1 big chance created
A calming influence from deep. ?? pic.twitter.com/MC2qxxVRbu
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 29, 2020
Pogba’s partner in the double pivot was Matic, who cleaned up well in front of the Manchester United defence. The Serb won 5 duels, completed 3 interceptions and won 3 tackles, positioning himself smartly to intervene during Wolves’ build-up play; all that while boasting a 96 percent pass completion rate and creating a fine chance as well. Solid display.
Mason Greenwood: 6/10
Another game wherein Greenwood found himself being isolated at times, having been pinned to the right flank. The teenage prodigy was not too involved in Manchester United’s moves on the night, but what was commendable was that he still managed to create a couple of openings, one of which should have been met with a better finish from Bruno Fernandes. Taken off for Anthony Martial.
Bruno Fernandes: 6.5/10
Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player since his debut.
Man Utd have won more points than any other club since Bruno Fernandes debut.
The greatest debut year in the competition's history? ? pic.twitter.com/sDGzQ0T1Vg
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) December 29, 2020
A game of hits and misses from Bruno Fernandes. While the Portuguese playmaker was invariably the most potent outlet for Manchester United, playing 3 key passes, he was also quite wasteful in possession (losing the ball 23 times). Having said that, the shape that Wolves sat in did restrict his best qualities. Did manage to grab the assist for Marcus Rashford’s goal, though, with a peach of a pass.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
A surprise name on the starting lineup after recovering from his nagging shoulder issue. Rashford, though, was a tad bit selfish at times on the night and could have done better to link up with Edinson Cavani, who found himself isolated on a number of occasions. Wolves’ setup also restricted his creative output, but Rashford was at hand to score the winner, albeit helped by a deflection.
Fitting that the final act on the pitch for Man United this year comes from the man who made the biggest difference off it.
Marcus Rashford ? pic.twitter.com/ml30bpjaID
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 29, 2020
Edinson Cavani: 5/10
Making only his second Premier League start for Manchester United, Cavani endured a frustrating evening on Tuesday. Was crowded out on a number of occasions, with Wolves having as many as three defenders on him at times. Did miss a couple of big chances too, though. Will have better days as a Manchester United player.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
On for Telles at half-time, Shaw provided a more solid base on the left flank, but did not charge forward as much as the Brazilian had in the first half. Still, showed greater chemistry with Rashford and played a couple of key passes as well. On the defensive front, he won each of the 4 duels that he contested, showing a lot of energy in both phases of the game.
Anthony Martial: 6/10
Martial came on Greenwood for the final quarter of the game and provided an injection of urgency in Manchester United’s play. Misplaced just one pass and provided some spark with his movement. Not handed a chance to find the back of the net, though.
Scott McTominay: N/A
A late introduction, McTominay helped see the game out.