Manchester United beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at the Molineux on the final day of the Premier League season. Their second-placed finish was already guaranteed so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made ten changes to his team. Anthony Elanga scored his first senior goal in the 13th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James. Wolves got one back six minutes before the break with Nélson Semedo, assisted by Fábio Silva. However, in added time at the end of the half, in added time, United won a penalty which was scored by Juan Mata. Hannibal Mejbri and Will Fish made their league debuts with Shola Shoretire also appearing.
United started well against Wolves but it was the home club who got the first chance in the match with Adama Traore having a shot on goal in the second minute, which was off target. Anthony Elanga had a few good chances in the early stages of the match but his luck was not there was he tried to score his first senior goal for the club. However, that came in the 13th minute of the match after Daniel James played the cross into the box and Elanga opened the scoring for his club with a superb finish. Thats what Solskjaer will be happy to see at this stage of the season, another youth player blooded into the squad and scoring his first goal.
In the 17th minute of the match Eric Bailly had a chance with a header in the box after the ball was played in by Alex Telles but the Ivorian missed the target with his header. Fabio Silva had a chance for Wolves minutes later after the ball was played in by Traore, however his effort was wide of the target too. Wolves then seemed to be getting comfortable attacking United, camping on the edge of the box and sending balls into the box to find an equaliser, but their final ball quality was lacking to do some real damage to United. Solskjaer’s side seemed comfortable defensively at this time, which was a good sign – but no need for complacency though.
Wolves were forced into a substitution in the 27th minute with Traore unable to continue after seemingly diving in the box and suffering from something as a result of that. Willian José was the player brought on to replace him, which took some attacking threat off the pitch at that time. It was a pretty even match from there with chances being crested by both teams, but neither finding a goalscoring opportunity. However, in the 39th minute of the match, Nelson Semedo found the equaliser after United’s defence was split with Dean Henderson being beaten from a slight deflection off Bailly. United would now need to dig deeper to get the win.
United had a good chance to take the lead again minutes after Wolves’ equaliser with Brandon Williams the player furthest forward and firing to the bottom right corner, which was saved by Rui Patricio. Telles then had a shot on goal after being played in by Elanga, but his effort was high and wide of the target. United then spend some time on the edge of the Wolves area, trying to force themselves into the box with the ball to find a second goal. In added time at the end of the first half, there was penalty shout for United after Donny van de Beek was fouled in the box. Mike Dean did not give it but VAR intervened. The penalty was given.
Juan Mata took the penalty, restoring United’s lead in the fourth minute of added time in the first half. There was not much left to play ahead of the break, which once against sees Wolves behind. The supporters in the stadium were not happy with the penalty decision, but they will have to live with that. United were back in front with 45 minute of the season left to play before United’s biggest match of the season – the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdańsk. Solskjaer will have been happy that his gamble, resting the majority of his first-choice XI, has, at least so far, paid off with United 2-1 up at the break.
There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half of the match. There were chances for both teams in the opening stages of the second half with the best chance coming in the 58th minute after Amad Diallo played the ball into Daniel James, who tried to dink the goalkeeper from close range but ended up putting his shot off target, which could have seen United go 3-1 up inn the match. Before that chance, Dean Henderson was booked for time wasting, which is a warning sign for him and United. Wolves made their second substitution on the hour mark with Leander Dendoncker being replaced by Morgan Gibbs-White.
Solskjaer made double substitution in the 82nd minute of the match with Hannibal Mejbri replacing Mata, making his Premier League debut and Shola Shoretire replaced Amad Diallo. It was a good feeling for the two youth players, one of which (Shoretire) came through the academy with Hannibal signing for the club during the summer of 2019. He did say he wanted to play for the first team within two years and he seems to have achieved that. It will be a cameo for both players. Hannibal was perhaps the player that showed his gratitude for the appearance against Wolves, looking up for the challenge on his first team debut.
Five minutes were added on at the end of the second half with Wolves pushing for another equaliser but so far, Axel Tuanzebe doing everything he could to stop that from happening. He really is a player that should be afforded more time on the pitch for United. He has everything in his locker to achieve something at this club and could well be a player that offers more than Eric Bailly and Phil Jones in the future for United. Solskjaer made a final substitution in the fifth minute of added time with Will Fish replacing Daniel James. He did not have much time on the pitch but will be happy with his Premier League debut this season.
Goals: Nélson Semedo 39′; Anthony Elanga 13’, Juan Mata 45+4′ penalty
Assists: Fábio Silva 39′; Daniel James 13’
Manchester United: Henderson; Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles; Matic, Van de Beek, Amad (Shoretire 82′), Mata (Hannibal 82′), James (Fish 90+5′); Elanga
Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay; Rashford, Greenwood
Bookings: Rayan Ait-Nouri 41′, Leander Dendoncker 41′, Moron Gibbs-White 90+6′; Dean Henderson 57′
Written by John Walker