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Ratings: Elanga and Mata score to seal United victory over Wolves; Tuanzebe, Telles, Van de Beek and Elanga in running for MOTM

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.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Conceded in the 39th minute with Semedo finding the equaliser. Made a few good saves to deny Wolves. Booked in the second half. He put the effort into his performance and is deserving of his place in this squad. He's the future, not matter what those who lack patience say.

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33 Brandon Williams

Having not player frequently this season, this was a good performance from the academy graduate. He's not first choice and should perhaps have a season out on loan. Did what he needed to do today and could have had a goal in the first half.

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3 Eric Bailly

Now the best central defender on this day. The Wolves goal had a slight deflection off him. Tuanzebe was the player that stood up and was counted in this match. United can do much better than Bailly but he is a handy squad player, if he stays at the club.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Was the better performer for me against Wolves. He seems to be aiming to prove himself for the Europa League final should Maguire not make it and deservedly so. United should offer Tuanzebe a new long-term contract and give hims a guarantee of minutes on the pitch as if they lose him, they will be losing a player who has the belief, talent and determination to succeed at the club.

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27 Alex Telles

Did what was expected from him, although Shaw is still ahead of him at this time. It was a positive performance for him. Will be looking forward to Wednesday now.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played a solid game for United. Dependable, experienced and gave his all on the pitch.

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34 Donny van de Beek

ad a largely positive performance at times. Won the penalty for United ahead of the break.

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16 Amad Diallo

Seemed to be getting up to speed in the Premier League. Played some good passes from the right-wing, including a good through-ball for James, who tried to chip the keeper which saw his effort going wide of the target. Came off in the 82nd minute with Shoretire replacing him.

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8 Juan Mata

Put United ahead before the break form the penalty spot. It could well be his last appearance for United and it was good that he could sign off with another goal. He's been a great player for United in his seven years at the club. Came off in the 82nd minute with Hannibal replacing him.

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Ratings: Elanga and Mata score to seal United victory over Wolves; Tuanzebe, Telles, Van de Beek and Elanga in running for MOTM

Got the assist for Elanga's goal, which was a good ball to play into the box for the academy graduate. Had the chance to put United further ahead but tried to chip the keeper, resulting in his shot way off target. His final ball needs to improve. Fish replaced him in the fifth minute of added time.

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36 Anthony Elanga

Scored his first senior goal in the 13th minute of the match, having two credible chances prior to that. It was a good strike from the academy graduate and was great to see. Played well for the remainder of the match.

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Substitutes

46 Hannibal Mejbri

Replaced Mata 82'. Looked up for the challenge and picked up the ball in some good positions. Great to see another youth player blooded into this team.

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47 Shola Shoretire

Replaced Amad 82'. Had some involvement against Wolves, which helped peg the home side back. Did what was expected of him.

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48 Will Fish

Replaced James 90+5'. Came on at the death. It was nothing more than a cameo but yet another player ingrained into the DNA of the club.

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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

Confirmed XI: Amad, Mata, James and Elanga lead the line against Wolves; Hannibal, Fish and Shoretire on the bench

Manchester United face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in the final Premier League match of the season this afternoon. United have already confirmed their second-placed finish in the league after their 1-1 draw with Fulham on Tuesday evening but only confirmed their place after Chelsea beat Leicester City later that evening. As it currently stands, Leicester have dropped out of the UEFA Champions League places with Liverpool breaking into the top four, having a better goal difference – it will be a tense final match of the season to see which team takes fourth place. Wolves have nothing to play for in this match but will want a home win.

United face Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday, so there will be many players rested for this match and it is possible that the youth at the club and those coming back from injury get some minutes under their belts against Wolves with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer probably set on his XI for the final. As there is nothing to play for in this match, it would be the best way to go as another injury would severely hamper United’s chances of lifting the trophy in Gdansk. It has been a long tough season and considering where United started, there is an immense amount of pride in where they will finish – not matter what the haters say.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles;

Matic, Van de Beek, Mata;

Amad, Mata, James;

Elanga

Substitutes:

Grant; Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka, Fish; McTominay, Hannibal, Shoretire; Rashford, Greenwood

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Patricio;

Boly, Coady, Saiss;

Dendoncker;

Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri;

Traore, Silva

Substitutes:

Ruddy, Söndergaard; Hoever, Marçal, Kilman; Gibbs-White, Vitinha; José

United and Wolves have met 13 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing three times with Wolves winning three times. United have scored 21 goals against Wolves, winning two penalties and scoring just one of them. Wolves have scored nine goals against United, not yet winning a penalty against them. United have kept six clean sheets with Wolves heaping two. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 18 yellow cards with one red card whilst Wolves players have been shown 16 yellow cards and one red card. Both teams will be seeking to win this match.

Earlier in the season, United beat Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League with Marcus Rashford scoring the only goal of the match three minutes into added time, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. The last match between the two clubs at the Molineux was at the start of the 2019/20 season with the result a 1-1 draw. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 27th minute of the match, assisted by Rashford. Rúben Neves got an equaliser in the 55th minute of the match, assisted by João Moutinho. In the last five matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, but prior to that, had lost twice in a row in the league and the FA Cup.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Elanga, Amad, Hannibal, Shoretire and Galbraith to start against Wolves? Bigger eyes on Villarreal?

Manchester United face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday afternoon. United have already confirmed their second-placed finish in the league after their 1-1 draw with Fulham on Tuesday evening but only confirmed their place after Chelsea beat Leicester City later that evening. As it currently stands, Leicester have dropped out of the UEFA Champions League places with Liverpool breaking into the top four, having a better goal difference – it will be a tense final match of the season to see which team takes fourth place. Wolves have nothing to play for in this match but will want a home win.

United face Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday, so there will be many players rested for this match and it is possible that the youth at the club and those coming back from injury get some minutes under their belts against Wolves with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer probably set on his XI for the final. As there is nothing to play for in this match, it would be the best way to go as another injury would severely hamper United’s chances of lifting the trophy in Gdansk. It has been a long tough season and considering where United started, there is an immense amount of pride in where they will finish – not matter what the haters say.

How United have faired against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

United and Wolves have met 13 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing three times with Wolves winning three times. United have scored 21 goals against Wolves, winning two penalties and scoring just one of them. Wolves have scored nine goals against United, not yet winning a penalty against them. United have kept six clean sheets with Wolves heaping two. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 18 yellow cards with one red card whilst Wolves players have been shown 16 yellow cards and one red card. Both teams will be seeking to win this match.

Earlier in the season, United beat Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League with Marcus Rashford scoring the only goal of the match three minutes into added time, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. The last match between the two clubs at the Molineux was at the start of the 2019/20 season with the result a 1-1 draw. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 27th minute of the match, assisted by Rashford. Rúben Neves got an equaliser in the 55th minute of the match, assisted by João Moutinho. In the last five matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, but prior to that, had lost twice in a row in the league and the FA Cup.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Wolves in the Premier League at the Molineux on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson has had a largely positive season, despite that 4-2 defeat to Liverpool last week. He did not feature against Fulham on Tuesday so will be in line to start this match with David De Gea likely to start in the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal on Wednesday. Henderson has made a positive start at United, making 25 appearances for the club, keeping 13 clean sheets and conceding 21 goals in all competitions. It is not the best but for a player that made his Premier League debut during the 2019/20 season, he is not expected to be as good as the likes of Peter Schmeichel or Edin van der Sar at this time, at least by the supporters of the club who know what to expect and do not rely on computer games to level expectation.

Defenders: Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Alex Telles

The defence has suffered a big blow this season with the recent injury to Harry Maguire. United have conceded seven goals in the last three matches without the captain on the pitch. He’s likely to miss the UEFA Europa League final too, if you believe what Solskjaer says. There could be a game being played here – hopefully. Against Wolves, Brandon Williams and Alex Telles could feature in the fullback positions with no need to further tire Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw. Eric Bailly could play as the right-sided central defender with Axel Tuanzebe on the right – although he could be the player that steps in for Maguire if he is ruled out of the final on Wednesday, which is yet to be confirmed. It is not ideal but there is a more important match on the horizon.

Midfield: Ethan Galbraith, Donny van de Beek

The midfield would be better if the main players in the first team were rested. Scott McTominay and Fred normally feature here with Paul Pogba also featuring at times, when he has not featured on the left-wing. Against Wolves, keeping these players rested is important. Therefore, Ethan Galbraith should be starting for the club as he really is a talented midfielder and could show his manager what he is capable of ahead of pre-season and the new season, which I am sure many of these players will have involvement, especially pre-season because of the Euro’s this summer. Donny van de Beek could partner him in the midfield, adding some experience but also a player on the fringes of the first team. It will probably do for United.

Attacking Midfield: Amad Diallo, Hannibal Mejbri, Daniel James

Solskjaer should rest the liked of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford for this match as they will be better off being fully fit for the clash with Villarreal on Wednesday in Gdansk. Amad Diallo should be starting on the right-wing as he could use this match to show him the level that he would need to compete at next season, to get his place in the first team cemented – which will be tough. Hannibal Mejbri could all feature in the number ten position ahead of Fernandes. The Frenchman scored five goals and 10 assists at U23 level this season but he perhaps needs to control his anger at times. Daniel James should be back from injury and could start on the left-wing, giving this youthful side some experience in attack.

Forwards: Anthony Elanga

Anthony Elanga played well against Leicester City last week and he could be in line to start for United once again this season. It would be good to see more of him ahead of next season, when it is suggested that he will be a first team player, which shows Solskjaer has his eyes on him and is seeking a way to bolster his squad for the long, hard season they will feature in. At U23 level this season, Elanga scored 11 goals and four assists throughout the season, finishing as the top scorer for United at that level. It seems to be time for him to get more advanced football and that could be a good thing for him, especially with it likely to get more difficult for players at United after the summer transfer window.

Substitutes: Nathan Bishop; Will Fish, Alvaro Fernandez; Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal; Mason Greenwood, Charlie McNeill

The final match of the season is not really a competitive one for United as their fate this season has already been sealed – a second-placed finish and qualification for the UEFA Champions League next season. The UEFA Europa League final is the match that the players will have their eyes on. With that in mind, Solskjaer can give many youth players a chance to feature at this level. Nathan Bishop could be the replacement goalkeeper. In defence, Will Fish and Alvaro Fernandez could be used. In midfield, Juan Mata. Nemanja Matic, Shola Shoretire and Zidane Iqbal could be in contention. The could leave both Mason Greenwood and Charlie McNeill on the bench in an attacking sense. Experimental but with experience in places.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give youth a chance against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday?

Wolverhampton Wanderers -v- Manchester United

Premier League

The Molineux, Wolverhampton

Sunday 23 May 2021, KO 16:00 BST

Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: John Brooks

VAR: Andy Madley Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Manchester United face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday afternoon. United have already confirmed their second-placed finish in the league after their 1-1 draw with Fulham on Tuesday evening but only confirmed their place after Chelsea beat Leicester City later that evening. As it currently stands, Leicester have dropped out of the UEFA Champions League places with Liverpool breaking into the top four, having a better goal difference – it will be a tense final match of the season to see which team takes fourth place. Wolves have nothing to play for in this match but will want a home win.

United face Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday, so there will be many players rested for this match and it is possible that the youth at the club and those coming back from injury get some minutes under their belts against Wolves with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer probably set on his XI for the final. As there is nothing to play for in this match, it would be the best way to go as another injury would severely hamper United’s chances of lifting the trophy in Gdansk. It has been a long tough season and considering where United started, there is an immense amount of pride in where they will finish – not matter what the haters say.

Manchester United: DLLWLW

Fulham 1-1 D, Liverpool 4-2 L, Leicester City 2-1 L, Aston Villa 3-1 W, AS Roma 3-2 L, AS Roma 6-2 W

Wolverhampton Wanderers: LLWDLW

Everton 1-0 L, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Burnley 4-0 L, Sheffield United 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes (28), Marcus Rashford (21), Edinson Cavani (16) and Mason Greenwood (12) top the United goalscorer charts after a turbulent but promising season.

Manchester United Goals: 28 – Bruno Fernandes, 21 – Marcus Rashford, 16 – Edinson Cavani, 12 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

Over the last six matches, United’s form changed. They have won two matches, drawn one match and lost three matches. It is the poorest form since the start of the season – which was bad for United. Solskjaer’s side scored 15 goals, conceded 13 and kept no clean sheets. United will end the Premier League season in second place, that already being confirmed after the 1-1 draw with Fulham and Leicester City’s defeat to Chelsea. This last match of the season is a dead rubber for United and Wolves and should be used to give some of the promising youth players a chance to see what they need to do nest season to be give more chances.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Goals: 5 – Pedro Neto, Rúben Neves, 4 – Raúl Jiménez, Fábio Silva, 3 – Daniel Podence, Romain Saïss, Adama Traoré, 1 – Rayan Aït-Nouri, Willy Boly, Conor Coady, Leander Dendoncker, Morgan Gibbs-White, Willian José, João Moutinho, Vitinha

It has been a long and tough season for Wolves. In their last six matches, they have been in similar form to United in terms of results – two wins, one draw and three defeats. However, Wolves have scored just four goals, conceding nine goals and keeping just one clean sheet. Wolves are 12th in the Premier League before the final round of matches are played and if the likes of Crystal Place, Southampton and Newcastle United all win and Wolves lose, they could finish as lowly as 15th in the league. A win would keep then 12th and a draw could see them in the same place, or slightly lower. This is a dead rubber for them as much as it is for United.

Team News: Five players out for Wolves with three players definitely out for United ahead of the final Premier League match of the season.

Phil Jones (knee) and Harry Maguire (ankle) have been ruled out of the final Premier League match of the season with Maguire running out of time to be fit for the Europa League final on Wednesday. Fred and Scott McTominay had received knocks against Fulham on Tuesday with the latter being replaced in the match, but are both available. Daniel James has recovered and will play a part but Anthony Martial (knee) is unlikely to face Wolves. It could be a match where Solskjaer brings in some of the talented youth players, keeping many of his first team players fit for Gdansk, which is the important match.

Daniel Podence (groin/hip), Raul Jimenez (head), Owen Otasowie (knock), Pedro Neto (knee) and Jonny Otto (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit of United in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday. Wolves are in a position whereby they cannot finish any higher than 13th, which is where they sit after 37 matches played but could finish as low as 15th providing Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United all win, which will be a tough one considering some of their opponents on Sunday. It has not been a memorable season for Wolves but they will regroup ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Predicted Starting XI: A youthful squad for United in the final Premier League fixture against Wolves; first team rested ahead of the UEFA Europa League final.

Solskjaer will need to keep his players fresh for the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday evening. Therefore, the majority of the players that will be involved in Gdansk should be kept out of this match. United have nothing further to gain from the Premier League this season and have safely confirmed their second-placed finish and a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. The important match in three days after this one. Hannibal Mejbri, Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga, Ethan Galbraith and Will Fish, among others could find some involvement in this match, either starting or appearing on the bench.

Match Prediction: 13 matches played between United and Wolves; United have won seven times with Wolves winning three with the pair drawing three times.

United and Wolves have met 13 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing three times with Wolves winning three times. United have scored 21 goals against Wolves, winning two penalties and scoring just one of them. Wolves have scored nine goals against United, not yet winning a penalty against them. United have kept six clean sheets with Wolves heaping two. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 18 yellow cards with one red card whilst Wolves players have been shown 16 yellow cards and one red card. Both teams will be seeking to win this match.

Earlier in the season, United beat Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League with Marcus Rashford scoring the only goal of the match three minutes into added time, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. The last match between the two clubs at the Molineux was at the start of the 2019/20 season with the result a 1-1 draw. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 27th minute of the match, assisted by Rashford. Rúben Neves got an equaliser in the 55th minute of the match, assisted by João Moutinho. In the last five matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, but prior to that, had lost twice in a row in the league and the FA Cup.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW