Manchester United 0-1 Wolves Match Report

A game, result and performance that will be etched into the Wolves history books for years to come. Wolverhampton Wanderers leave Old Trafford victorious for the first time during the Premier League era after their 0-1 win. Top class performances littered the field as Joao Moutinho turned his Manchester playground into the Theatre of Nightmares, striking home eight minutes from time, sending the travelling fans into bank holiday ecstasy.

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The combination of positive COVID cases and injuries have caused many a postponement during the congested winter period, as Wolves faced after a two-week layoff from fixtures. Their return was against a Manchester United side under new management, with Ralf Rangnick at the helm. The German is notoriously recognised for his aggressive Gegen-press style of football, yet the evidence of this from this performance was lacking hugely. From minute one, United were unable to keep up with the pace of Lage’s Wolves. Neves and Moutinho schooled Matic and McTominay in their own backyard, through a lesson of midfield mastery, winding the clocks back to their debut season together in the Premier League. 

Lage opted for Trincao and Daniel Podence over Adama Traore, who was perhaps left out due to the ongoing transfer speculation that surrounds him, or perhaps to be utilised as an effective substitute later in the affair. Following a string of uninspiring performances, Wolves fans may have questioned the choice of Trincao, but the loanee decided to get more physical than usual, whilst registering another handful of nutmegs doing so – hopefully a sign towards further improvements for the Barca boy. The defence remained unchanged and for good reason, another clean sheet to add to their already impressive tally this season – resolute when called upon, but the midfield prevented most of the concern, against two of the best forwards of this generation. 

However, one performance stood out to me and not in the positive sense I had initially hoped for. For me, Raul Jimenez was chasing shadows, there were a couple of moments where he linked up nicely with Trincao and Podence, but something isn’t quite clicking for the Mexican Sensation. Although his movement wasn’t particularly poor, chances on goal are few and far between, and those chances are often flagged offside. Considering the lack of game time and the reported issues with Fabio Silva’s application to warm up, he performed excellently in his late cameo, barring the silly foul, the game management for someone his age was impressive to see.


Key Moments

Wolves’ recent performances have been those of defensive focus, their poor eye for goal has resulted in the recognised label of: “well that’ll be last on Match of the Day.” Therefore, for Wolves to be the team to have the most shots at Old Trafford in the first half of a league game since 03/04 (@OptaJoe on Twitter), was a surprising, yet welcome spectacle. Neves had an audacious goal of the month attempt prevented by a David De Gea early on, combined with a couple of early attempts from the heavily involved Podence. A short rally from United was born after Fernandes rattled the crossbar and CR7 decided he was too good for the offside rule. But it was our own Portuguese veteran that stunned the Theatre of Dreams into a sea of insomnia, as Moutinho fired Wolves ahead late in the game.


Man of the match –  Joao Moutinho

Daniel Podence is quickly becoming a fan favourite amongst Wolves fans, another electric performance from the little wizard, intricate passing and his low centre of gravity caused trouble all night long. However, another little genius gets my man of the match. Last season, many wrote Joao “no legs” Moutinho off, including myself. Lage must be promising some quality vino for our midfield mastermind, Joao is playing like a man possessed. Exquisite passing, strong in the tackle, progressive ball carrying, and a goal to top off an easy night at the office for this god amongst men. Truly football heaven.  


Things to improve on

For the first time this season, I collectively couldn’t have wished for more from Wolves. Tactical astuteness from Lage, effective substitutions, immense work rate and the quality to comfortably beat the second most expensive squad in Europe. Of course, we can hope for more goals, but if my manager says the goals will come, I will believe every word that he says. Differently, outside of the pitch, there are improvements to be made. Upon evaluation of the board’s current intentions, Lage will almost certainly be frustrated. There are the foundations to really achieve with Bruno in charge, three quality additions are all we need. The transfer strategy will not dampen this result in the slightest though. Thank you, lads. We’ll remember this one for a while.


Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here


Wolves 1-2 Man Utd Player Ratings

Wolves’ season came to an end with a disappointing defeat against Manchester United at Molineux. Goals from Anthony Elanga and a controversial penalty dispatched by Juan Mata either side of Nelson Semedo’s first Wolves goal was enough to give United all three points. Wolves were dull and uninspiring to say the least, but the match was of little importance as 4,500 fans enjoyed being back inside Molineux for the first time in 14 months and bid farewell to the greatest manager in the club’s modern history. It was an emotional afternoon for those inside and outside the stadium, but attention turns quickly to Nuno’s successor and the summer transfer window.  


Rui Patricio

 Could do little about the two United goals and pulled off an excellent save when Brandon Williams was through on goal mid-way through the first half. Was largely untroubled in the second period. Speculation continues to mount over the Portuguese number one’s future, and if he is to go, he has been an excellent servant during his three-year spell in the Black Country. 7/10


Willy Boly

 It was great to see Boly back on the pitch and looking more like his old self for various reasons after suffering long term effects of COVID-19. He put in a solid performance, intercepting United’s persistent through balls and dominant in the air. 7/10


Conor Coady

Visibly upset at the final whistle as the man who changed his career departs the club. As for the game, Coady was his usual self, attempting to spread the ball and utilise the wing back whenever possible. A couple of momentary lapses in concentration led to United half chances. The new man in charge will have a massive decision to make on Conor’s future in the Wolves side. 6/10


Romain Saiss

 A substandard performance from Saiss who looked a yard behind the pace of the game. He clumsily went in late on Van De Beek which led to United’s penalty. The decision was harsh considering the United midfielder took another two steps before going down, but there was absolutely no need for Saiss to go to ground. 5/10


Nelson Semedo

One of his better Wolves performances at it led to his first Wolves goal in front of the Southbank. He was a constant threat down the right-hand side and would have created many more chances if some of the other attacking players on the field were on the same wavelength. He linked well with Fabio Silva on a number of occasions, ending a poor season for Wolves’ record signing on a promising note. 8/10


Leander Dendoncker

Played in his more familiar central midfield and put in a solid display. He set Fabio Silva away with a positive stride forwards which ultimately led to the goal. He was a physical presence in the middle of the park, but it remains to be seen if he will still be a Wolves player next season. 6/10


Joao Moutinho

Followed on from his recent poor performances and was largely ineffective at both ends of the pitch. He like so many others, seems to be a player who could have played his final game at Molineux. How fitting it will be if that is the case that fans were there to show their appreciation for the midfield maestro who for two seasons was superb and a joy to watch. 5/10


Ruben Neves

Was more conservative in his play as has been the case for most of the season. Neves seems more reluctant to play through balls and break lines of defence, but that may well be down to a lack of movement and physical presence ahead of him. He won the ball back in transition in important moments in the game. 6/10


Rayan Ait-Nouri

Couldn’t live up to the heights that he produced since being re-instated into the squad in April. Elanga had the better of him to head home the opener, and Ait-Nouri’s attacking output was poor, creating no clear-cut chances. There is certainly a player in there, but it remains to be seen as to whether Wolves will take up the option to sign him on a permanent basis. 5/10


Adama Traore

Only played 27 minutes before being withdrawn through injury. He was a threat early on and Wolves clearly missed him as they created little in the second half. He has been selected for Spain’s Euro2020 squad, meaning Wolves have more players in the Spain squad than Real Madrid! 6/10


Fabio Silva

Lively and enthusiastic as has been the case all season with Silva. He finally got to play in front of Wolves fans, and he marked the occasions with an assist, playing a vital role in a great move. He couldn’t link with Willian Jose as he did with Traore and Semedo which meant his output reduced as the game went on. 7/10



Willian Jose

Came on for Traore in the first half and had no impact on the game at all. Wolves’ early fluidity disappeared as they failed to fashion a clear-cut chance to equalise. It was his first appearance in front of fans at Molineux and it will almost certainly be his last. 4/10


Morgan Gibbs-White

Played the final half an hour and injected some energy into the midfield. He played further forward than Dendoncker but couldn’t link with the forwards as Wolves saw little of the ball in the final third. 6/10


Fernando Marcal 

Returned for a long-standing injury problem and played the final eight minutes. N/A


Matthew Cooper is a Talking Wolves founder and Digital Editor – you can follow him on Twitter here. (4) (1)

Wolves 1-2 Man Utd Match Report

Wolves were overcome by a youthful Manchester United side as they bid farewell to their departing manager Nuno Espirito Santo. 

Antony Elanga gave the visitors the lead with a bullet header from 12 yards, but the lead was cancelled out by Nelson Semedo who poked home from Fabio Silva’s pass. 

United retook the lead on the brink of half-time as Juan Mata converted a controversial penalty, and it proved to be the decisive goal. 


Match Report

This match was always going to be the backdrop to what was an emotional farewell to a coach who has transformed the club over his four year tenure. Nuno was greeted by hundreds of fans as he said goodbye to the city that has welcomed him with open arms, and it proved to be as emotional as we thought it would be. 

However, there was a game to be played, and Nuno went with his tried and trusted five at the back with a midfield trio and two up top. Underperforming players Joao Moutinho and Leander Dendoncker started with Ruben Neves, whilst the usual back three of Conor Coady, Romain Saiss and Willy Boly kept their places. Rayan Ait-Nouri played what could be his last game for Wolves should they decide not to take up their permanent option to buy. 

Fabio Silva and Adama Traore were tasked with providing the creative output, and the latter did what he needed. Traore opened up the game only four minutes in when he burst past several United defenders before putting his shot wide of the post. Young Brandon Williams, who has previously performed well against the Spaniard, couldn’t get close to him and this allowed Wolves to create space in behind and look dangerous. 

The danger wasn’t able yield results however, as Wolves fell behind early on yet again this season on 13 minutes. A cross from the right-hand side beat the back three, and 19-year-old Elanga peeled off Ait-Nouri to power home a header for his first ever Premier League goal. The goal was indicative of the issues Wolves have had aerially this season and it was again frustrating to see a lack of learning from their mistakes as the centre-backs were sluggish to close out any chance of an effort on goal. 

Soon after going behind, things went from bad to worse as Traore had to be taken off with what looked like a hamstring issue – not the first injury woe Wolves have had this season. Willian Jose came on to replace him and it looked drab for a team that has struggled in front of goal this season. 

Fortunately for the side, there was still some good football left in the tank as they were able to combine the midfield and forward lines effectively to draw level. Dendoncker made rare use of his physical stature to burst through midfield after a lovely Moutinho flick, he then played the ball on for Fabio Silva who placed an excellent ball across the box and Nelson Semedo was there to side foot home his first of the season 39 minutes in.

The game ended up being an even contest after the equaliser, but Rui Patricio still had to stay alive as he made a sharp save at his near post to deny United a second. The goal wasn’t to be denied though as Mike Dean controversially awarded a penalty to the away side in added time of the first half after Saiss was adjudged to have tripped Donny Van De Beek. Juan Mata confidently dispatched the spot kick and it was back to the drawing board for Wolves at the break. 

The second half proved to be a real stalemate yet again as Wolves found it difficult to break down United’s defence, either through the wide/inside channels and centrally. Willian Jose was proving to be as ineffective as ever and Silva couldn’t find much service to play off. The Red Devils could and should have added a third when Dan James was sent clean through on goal, but his poor attempt at a chipped finish bounced well wide of the net. 

United’s young side were able to hold on to all three points despite some late pressure from Wolves which saw the midfield push up and Morgan Gibbs-White added centrally to add some creative flair. 

It wasn’t the way Nuno would have wanted to bow out, but it’s a result which summarises the season and shows why Fosun have been looking for a new direction heading into next season. 

The scenes at full-time were incredible, as Nuno was given a true lap of honour with fans belting out the famous ‘Nuno had a dream’ and lauding him with the loudest cheers and applause heard at Molineux in over a year. It showed how he is a manager that has connected an entire city and has been a stellar person and gentleman throughout his whole tenure. The eloquence of his quotes, the memories of Europe and off the field connections were all symbolised in what was a magical moment for him and his coaching staff. 

He was given a guard of honour by his players and looked on with teary eyes as he left the pitch for the final time. A fitting farewell for the best Wolves manager of a generation. 

The club now look on to an enormous summer which will show what Fosun have outlined for next season. The next managerial appointment is expected to be swift, but no matter who they are, they will be backed by a full house at Molineux next season, with fans ready to see a rejuvenated squad that can push up the league and build on from the foundations built by Nuno. 

Tom Parker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.


Wolves v Manchester United Preview


Wolves will look to end a disappointing season on a high note as they face Manchester United at Molineux on Sunday. 

Richarlison’s header at Goodison Park on Wednesday succumbed Wanderers to their second straight away defeat as they lost 1-0 to Everton, but Nuno’s side did win their last home outing against Brighton a fortnight ago. 

Since securing a Champions League place and a first second place finish in three years, United are winless in three and are expected to heavily rotate their side ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdansk. 

Kick off at Molineux is at 4pm and the game will be broadcast on BT Sport.


Wolves form

In any other part of the season Wolves’ last two defeats and the lack of attacking edge surrounding them may have sparked concern, but with Nuno’s side having had nothing to play for for the best part of five months now, everyone around Molineux is simply desperate for the season to end. Thankfully, they’ll get their wish at 6pm on Sunday. 

Wanderers produced just six shots on target in their last two defeats to Tottenham and Everton, which will probably surprise most who endured both games. At the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium especially Wolves were completely devoid of any attacking threat and the scoreline flattered them, while at Goodison an uncharacteristically impressive first half showing fizzled out as the second 45 wore on. 

Although Wolves’ squad simply isn’t good enough to compete in the Premier League and their manager has always been safety-first since promotion to the top-flight, it’s been disappointing that their nothing-to-play-for status hasn’t produced some entertaining football. Adama Traore has played well for most of Wolves’ recent games, but he is currently being expected to produce goals almost single-handedly, which hasn’t been possible since Lewis Dunk’s dismissal two weeks ago. 

With just 90 more miserable minutes to contend with, it would be nice if Nuno’s side could send their 4,500 returning fans home feeling even slightly entertained. 


Manchester United form

Although facing the second place team on the final day of the campaign would normally be a daunting prospect, there’s no doubt United have their sights set on other goals.

Since beating Aston Villa and securing their Champions League status for next campaign two weeks ago United have lost to Leicester (albeit with a heavily rotated side) and Liverpool and drawn with relegated Fulham, signalling their intention to focus on Wednesday’s final in Poland. 

With absolutely nothing to play for in the league and a huge final around the corner it’s not expected that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will field any of his big hitters at Molineux, it’s hard to pick a player that Wolves should look out for. Should they be involved in any capacity, Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani will cause Wolves all manner of problems, with the latter especially hitting great form in the final couple of months of the season. 


Wolves v Manchester United team news

While rumours persisted over the last couple of weeks that Raul Jimenez may be involved on the bench against United, the Mexican will not return until the start of next season following tests on his skull this week. 

As well as Jimenez, Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence and Jonny will not be involved on Sunday, while John Ruddy is expected to start in what may well prove to be his final game for Wolves. 

As mentioned previously United are expected to heavily rotate their side, with Scott McTominay and Fred unlikely to be involved after picking up knocks against Fulham on Tuesday. 

Captain Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial will miss out and face unlikely races against time to be fit for Gdansk, while Daniel James is a minor doubt after returning from injury.


Wolves line up prediction: Ruddy; Hoever, Coady, Boly, Ait-Nouri; Neves, Moutinho; Traore, Vitinha, Gibbs-White; Silva.


Wolves v Manchester United head to head

United will head to Molineux for a league game for the first time in almost two years, with Ruben Neves’ brilliant long-range strike earning Wolves a 1-1 draw in August 2019. 

Remarkably, Solskjaer’s side haven’t won at Molineux in four visits in any competition since Wolves returned to the Premier League in 2018, including two 2-1 defeats in 2018-19 and 1-1 and 0-0 draws in league and cup in 2019-20.

United’s last win at Molineux came in a 5-0 success under Sir Alex Ferguson in March 2012. 


Wolves v Manchester United prediction


With neither side seemingly interested in playing this game, this one really could go either way.

United are probably favourites, even if they are expected to make eight to 11 changes, although their already depleted back line being rotated even further could cause trouble. 

Or at least it would against any other side. Wolves have scored one goal against a side with 11 men on the field in their last five games, are on course for their second-lowest ever Premier League goal tally and have had almost no forward threat since Raul Jimenez went off at the Emirates. 

It could end up being the stoppable force against the moveable object, but it’s hard to back anything but a United win to cap off one of the dullest seasons in recent Wolves history. 


Prediction: Wolves 0-2 Manchester United


James Wynn is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.