Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was a match that saw Phil Jones return to the centre of the defence almost three weeks shy of a two-year gap since his last first team fixture because of injury. However, despite Bruno Fernandes hitting the crossbar in the second half and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring an offside goal, United seemed to lack major inspiration in this match. It was Joao Moutinho who found the winner in the 82nd minute of the match which gave the struggling side three important points in the league in this outing.
United did not start so well against Wolves at the Theatre of Dreams. Despite Wolves not playing a match since their 0-0 draw with Chelsea on the 19 December, they seemed in good spirits as they tried to get the better of United from the first minute of the match. United seemed lackadaisical in attack, defence and in the midfield and seemed to struggle to string a pass together, which was a major worry. The team that started, despite being balanced, was unable to get the better of their visitors. There would be a problem for Rangnick to sort out in the match to guide his team to victory, or even avoid a defeat.
United had just five shots in the first half of the match – one of those on target which was not good enough for a team like United, who were playing at home. Wolves got the better of United in possession, shots, shots on target, also having more touches of the ball in the first half. David De Gea was United’s saviour of the first half, making some good saves to deny the opposition from scoring. Scott McTominay seemed to be fired up for this match, showing his aggression and determination for United to succeed. So many so-called supporter of the club hate him for playing well, also suggesting that he has no ability, but he matched Paul Pogba last season.
It was 0-0 at the end of the first half with both teams needing to dig deep to get something in the second half. There were no substitutions for their team at the break with both managers seemingly trying to see what they can gain from the start of the second half before changing anything. United seemed to be playing the same game at the start of the second half with Wolves more likely of getting ahead, which is not how it should be. Some of these United players need a shock to the system. McTominay became the first player booked in the 48th minute, followed by Luke Shaw eight minutes later – meaning his missed he league match at Villa.
United brought on Bruno Fernandes for Mason Greenwood in the 60th minute of the match and United seemed to gain something from that change with them looking more fluid. The Portuguese midfielder hit the crossbar minutes later which looked like he was about to score the first goal of the match. Cristiano Ronaldo scored minutes later, but he was ruled offside and United were back to trying to find a goal. Wolves then burst into life with United weathering the storm, at least so far. Adama Traore replaced Trincao in the 66th minute for Wolves and he was part of their burst to life in the attack.
United made their second substitution in the 75th minute, just after Nemanja Matic was booked, Marcus Rashford replaced Jadon Sancho, who has a largely positive game for United, seemingly starting to find his feet at the club – but still in search of his first goal under Rangnick’s rule. In the 81st minute of the match, Wolves brought on Fábio Silva for Raul Jimenez which seemed to start something – resulting in Joao Moutinho opening the scoring a minute later. It looked like this could be the first defeat for United under Rangnick and a victory at Old Trafford for the first time in around 40 years for Wolves.
United lacked any kind of inspiration against Wolves. The defeat was deserved and it shows an immense lack of respect by these players. They are lauded as heroes, get a great wage, have a job that they (apparently) love doing and are treated like superstars. Perhaps that is what is wrong with this game. Too much money involved and the people getting the money tend to become detached from the real world and instead of taking any of the blame themselves, point the fingers at other people, who may not be the problem. The same thing tends to happen at United from David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and now Rangnick.
United will have a long week before facing Aston Villa in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup. Granted it will be a rest for these players, who have not exactly had a tough period of matches but they are all millionaires so they will deserve it (insert sarcasm here). Rangnick will need to find some answers as it seems that nothing has changed since Solskjaer and Michael Carrick left compared to when he arrived. United have lost yet another home game in the Premier League that they should have won. It was not a tough match and seems like some players are not putting in the kind of effort that is expected and if that is the case, they should be ashamed.
Goals: Joao Moutinho 82′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Elanga 84′), Varane, Jones, Shaw; Greenwood (Fernandes 60′), Matic, McTominay, Sancho (Rashford 75′); Cavani, Ronaldo
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Dalot, Telles; Lingard, Fred, Van de Beek
Bookings: Scott McTominay 48′, Luke Shaw 56′, Nemanja Matic 74′; Jose Sa 90+4′
Written by John Walker