Manchester United 1 Wolverhampton 0 – Stoppage time Rashford winner catapults Red Devils to second spot
2020-21 English Premier League report: Manchester United vs. Wolverhampton – Tuesday, 29th December 2020
Manchester United 1 Wolverhampton 0 – Old Trafford
Manchester United climbed two places on the EPL table to the second spot as Marcus Rashford scored deep into stoppage time to give his side a hard-fought 1-0 win against the visiting Wolves at Old Trafford.
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With Edinson Cavani given only his second start for the Premier League season, Ole Solsjaer’s message to his team was clear: hit the wide areas and cash in on Cavani’s movement inside the box.
But the Wolves spotted the ploy early enough and restricted United to central areas of the pitch in an essentially lackluster first half.
The Red Devils did get a brilliant opportunity to score when Bruno Fernandes found himself at the end of a superb Mason Greenwood delivery, but the prolific Portuguese failed to connect his close-range volley properly as his shot was easily blocked by compatriot Rui Patricio.
With United having more of the ball, the Wolves looked to hit on the breaks and it was they who had the better of whatever few opportunities that came before the interval. Romain Saiss’s looping header found the top of the crossbar while the defender’s flick to the near post from a set-piece was well dealt with by David de Gea.
Solksjaer introduced Luke Shaw at half-time in place of Alex Telles as the game followed a similar trend post interval. United had the ball in the net as Cavani turn one in from close-range from a corner but VAR declared him offside.
There were shouts from the United players for a handball off Connor Coady but the VAR was unfazed. Two of United’s only three shots on target came midway through the second-half as Paul Pogba’s long-range effort stung the hands of Rui Patricio before Rashford’s low effort from ten yards was blocked superbly off the line by Saiss.
As the match petered into what seemed like a certain goalless affair, United got the lucky break they needed in the 3rd minute of stoppage time.
For Nuno Espirito Santo the move to bring in fresh faces Ki-Jana Hoever, Max Kilman, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Vitinha to the starting XI in place of the injured Nelson Semedo, Fernando Marcal, Daniel Podence and Fabio Silva almost paid off only to be left heartbroken at the very end.
While United jockeyed to the second place with 30 points (only 2 behind table toppers Liverpool), the Wolves have slipped to the 12th and only a point ahead of a resurgent Arsenal.
Man Utd starting XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation: De Gea (goal), Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Cavani
Subs: Shaw, Martial, McTominay
Wolves starting XI in a 3-4-2-1 formation: Rui Patricio, Hoever, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Ait Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Traore, Vitinha, Neto
Subs: Podence, Silva
Man of the match: Romain Saiss
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