Match report: United 2 Wolves 0

Saturday 13 May 2023 17:25

Manchester United have moved four points clear of rivals Liverpool in the race for Champions League football, after defeating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 in the Premier League.

Anthony Martial’s close-range strike and the returning Alejandro Garnacho’s late clincher proved decisive against the West Midlands side, as the Reds now require just two wins from the final three games to definitely secure a place in Europe's top competition next term.

Bruno Fernandes was instrumental in both goals, first finding Antony in the build-up to Martial's opener, and the midfielder managed to slide a wonderful through ball for substitute Garnacho to run on to and fire home late on, in his first appearance since returning from injury.

The Reds have now put real pressure on top Liverpool, who will take on Leicester City on Monday evening, and we have now moved on to equal points with third-placed Newcastle United, with the Magpies' superior goal difference keeping Erik ten Hag’s men behind them.

Anthony Martial opens the scoring with a clinical finish.


With the bright sunshine blaring down on the Theatre of Dreams and the Red Army in full voice, United started the game on the front foot. Controlling the tempo with fluid passes and pressing the opposition whenever they would lose the ball, the Reds kept the action inside the Wolves half and nearly took advantage when Casemiro picked out Christian Eriksen, but the Danish midfielder's strike went over the top of the bar.

Moments later, Ten Hag’s men nearly pounced on a defensive error. Max Kilman slipped when receiving the ball, allowing Antony to steal it and break away towards goal. The Brazilian was able to control the ball onto his favoured left foot and bend a drive towards debutant Dan Bentley’s goal, but the strike sailed wide of the far post.

United remained dominant over Wolves for the opening 25 minutes, not allowing the away side to test David De Gea’s goal with a shot on target. And that almost paid off for the Reds when Fernandes’s direct free-kick powered over the wall but was caught by Bentley. Eriksen was next to attempt to test the former Bristol City goalkeeper from distance, but the shot fizzed wide.

At the 30-minute mark, Luke Shaw picked up a pass from Jadon Sancho, on the overlap, and the left-back sent a first-time cross deep into the area looking to pick out Antony, but, although the winger timed his run perfectly, his header lacked direction and a golden chance was spurned.

However, at last, the goal came. Sancho fed a great pass to Fernandes, who took the ball in his stride and assessed the options in front of him. The Portugal midfielder chose to thread the ball through to Antony, and the Brazilian opted for an unselfish square pass to Martial. The French forward, who found himself with plenty of space and time, was able to strike ball into the corner of the net to open the scoring and register his 50th Premier League goal.

With half-time looming, United looked to try and grab an important second goal. Taking the ball from deep inside his own half, Antony managed to break away from the Wolves defence and bare down on Bentley’s goal. Ultimately, he found Martial, who tried to curl a strike from outside the box, but it was saved comfortably by Bentley.

Alejandro Garnacho comes off the bench to bag the clincher.


United looked to try to grab the second goal when Martial’s initial cross was blocked in the area by Craig Dawson, which allowed the ball to drop to the feet of Antony. United’s no. 21 opted to take the shot on his left foot, but the attempt was deflected wide for a corner.

Despite having a quiet first 45 minutes, Julen Lopetegui’s side would manage to have more of an impact in the second half. Wolves produced several chances to try and have a shot at David De Gea’s goal, the best of which came when Nelson Semedo’s cross managed to find the head of former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, but the Spaniard's header deflected wide.

Antony continued to be a threat for the Wolves defence and almost found the back of the net. Linking up with Fernandes just outside the area, United’s Brazilian wide-man fizzed a shot narrowly wide at the near post.

Talking points from Old Trafford


We've picked out seven of the key takeaways after United's win over Wolves in the Manchester sunshine.

Sancho looked to give the Reds the breakthrough in the hunt for a second goal. Casemiro was able to stretch to give the pass into the path of substitute Wout Weghorst, who rolled the ball into the path of the winger, whose low effort was kept out by Bentley.

With 10 minutes to go in the game, Old Trafford welcomed Garnacho back. The Argentina Under-20 winger has missed two months of action, having picked up an injury against Southampton in March, but was roared back by the United supporters with resounding chants of “Viva Garnacho”.

Casemiro was next to try his luck, with the central midfielder smashing the ball from outside the area, forcing the debutant to make a wonderful save to keep the game at 1-0. The resulting corner fell to the head of Weghorst, but it flew over the bar.

United kept attacking to keep any fraying nerves at bay and, when Fred was brought down by Dawson with a couple of minutes left, Fernandes struck the free-kick over the wall but also over the bar. Bentley was again agile to keep out Antony as the game remained in touching distance for the visitors. 

But, in injury time, Garnacho stepped up to deliver the killer blow. Receiving a wonderful through ball from Fernandes, the youngster used his blistering pace to burn past Nelson Semedo. Taking a composed touch, Garnacho fired the ball towards Bentley's left-hand side, and the strike cannoned off both posts before going in to give Ten Hag’s side a precious 2-0 victory.


United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane (Maguire, 80), Lindelof, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen (Fred, 80) Antony, Fernandes (c), Sancho (Garnacho, 80) Martial (Weghorst, 68).

Subs not used: Butland, Dalot, Malacia, Elanga, Pellistri.

Goals: Martial 32, Garnacho 95

Booked: Casemiro, Shaw, Garnacho.

Wolves: Bentley; Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Toti (Bueno, 61) Nunes (c), Neves, Lemina (Traore, 74), Neto (Hwan, 46) Cunha (Podence, 61), Costa (Jimenez, 77).

Subs not used: Sa, Collins, Joao Gomes, Sarabia

Booked: Costa, Dawson.