Wolves 0 Manchester United 1

Sunday 29 August 2021 18:52

Manchester United edged Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in an enthrallingly tight Premier League game at Molineux.

Mason Greenwood’s 80th-minute strike proved decisive as the Reds won a fierce battle for supremacy.

The result means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrated his 100th league match in charge with a victory and United have set a new English league record for unbeaten away games, a remarkable 28 matches stretching back to January 2020.

Meanwhile, Greenwood has become just the second teenager to score in his team's first three Premier League games of the season, after Robbie Fowler did so for Liverpool in 1994/95.

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FIRST HALF – WOLVES UP FOR THE FIGHT

An electric atmosphere inside the ground was met with a blistering start to the match and, within the opening minutes, Jadon Sancho was driving at the Wolves defence. However, after a turnover in the area following an interchange with Daniel James, danger man Adama Traore was away on one of his trademark runs on a threatening counter attack. He played the ball in to Raul Jimenez, but the Mexican’s tame effort was easily dealt with by David De Gea at the near post.

Another break followed soon after for the hosts and as Fred looked to cut out a pass forward, the ball dropped to Francisco Trincao who had a clear path in front of him. Bearing down on goal and unleashing a shot, he would have given his side the lead if it wasn’t for a mesmerising last ditch effort by Aaron Wan-Bissaka who slid in to clear just in time.

Completing a flurry of action in little more than the opening ten minutes of the match, Greenwood had a good chance for the Reds after picking up the ball inside the area. Sadly though, his effort was off target.

Despite a couple of dangerous breaks from Bruno Lage’s side, United had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages, but that tide began to turn as the half wore on. It meant debutant Raphael Varane was perhaps having a busier first outing for the Reds than he might have wished for, but he and the rest of the defence were standing firm and that was characterised by a strong header by the Frenchman to clear a João Moutinho free-kick.

Looking to get in behind, James tried to a slide a ball into the centre, with Greenwood waiting to tap in from the six-yard box, but some good defending saw the ball turned behind for a corner. From the resulting set-play the ball was flicked clear by Wolves, but having recycled the play Luke Shaw whipped in a cross. Greenwood was among a string of United players queueing up to put the ball away, but keeper Jose Sa was off his line smartly to deal with the aerial danger.

Seven minutes before the break and United had the ball in the net when Bruno Fernandes coolly slotted home after bursting past the Wolves defence, but after tucking away the chance, he turned to see the linesman with his flag up. TV replays suggested offside was the correct decision.

Among the last action of the half, Sancho picked out Greenwood who drove into the box from the left and struck an effort that was curling away from the keeper, but narrowly away from goal too.

SECOND HALF – GUTSY AND GLORIOUS

It was a slightly worrying start to the second half for a moment when Fernandes got a boot in the face as he leant into a challenge with Ruben Neves, but thankfully after a quick assessment he was fine to continue.

After a similar pattern to the first period, with neither side doing enough to create a breakthrough, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turned to the bench after nine minutes – introducing Edinson Cavani for the first time this season. The Uruguayan was left wondering what might have been had he and Fernandes not tripped over one another in the area shortly after he came on. Fernandes then tried to feed the ball to Sancho. The pass was cut out, but dropped to Fred in the process – although his shot was saved.

Up the other end and it was that man Traore looking to do damage again in the area and he worked the ball across to Trincao. Despite being in an excellent position just inside the 18-yard-box, he fluffed his lines and scuffed his shot wide.

Wolves then followed that with another great opportunity, but were denied by pure brilliance from De Gea. The Spaniard threw himself to the floor to keep out Roman Saiss’s downward header inside the six-yard box from a corner, before Saiss then had another bite of the cherry from even closer in. Getting back on his feet and diving to his left, De Gea stopped the shot expertly before Wan-Bissaka could hustle the ball clear.

Meanwhile, Sa pulled out a smart stop of his own to keep out Paul Pogba’s powerful strike soon after as the Frenchman turned nicely in the box. Greenwood was having success on the right wing and slid the ball neatly to Fernandes, who shot across the face of goal.

The ball then found Greenwood again after a 50-50 involving Pogba and Neves and after spurning a couple of first-half chances, Mason was going to make no mistake this time. His shot was too quick for Sa as it crept under him and had the net bulging. The scorer gleefully set off towards the away fans to celebrate.

It was a hostile atmosphere as the home side worked hard for an equaliser, all the way to the fifth minute of added time, but the United defence held firm for our first clean sheet in 10 matches.

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MATCH DETAILS

Wolves: Sa; Kilman, Coady (c) (Gibbs-White 87), Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Trincao (Podence 70), Jimenez, Traore (Silva 87).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Boly, Dendoncker, Cundle.

Booked: Neves, Saiss, Gibbs-White.

United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire (c), Shaw; Fred, Pogba; Sancho (Martial 72), Fernandes, James (Cavani 53); Greenwood (Dalot 89).

Subs not used: Heaton, Lindelof, Mata, Lingard, Matic, van de Beek.

Goal: Greenwood 80.

Booked: Fernandes, Fred, Dalot, Pogba.

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