Manchester United were outplayed in every department as a goal-shy Wolves secured a famous 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Only Norwich have scored fewer goals than Bruno Lage’s men this term, but they only needed a solitary Joao Moutinho strike to secure a deserved win against a United side who were second best throughout.
Phil Jones came into the heart of the United defence that was suffering from injury issues and the Englishman was arguably United’s standout performer on a poor night all round for Ralf Rangnick’s side. Cristiano Ronaldo wore the captain’s armband but his impact was negligible as Wolves dominated in the first half.
United were penned in as the away team created chance after chance, but as has been their issue this season, they were unable to find the back of the net, even with the talented Raul Jimenez leading the line.
Man of the match Daniel Podence saw his early effort parried and from the resulting corner, Ruben Neves unleashed a corking boley that was remarkably tipped over by David de Gea. Wolves kept on pressing and could have had the lead as Ronaldo headed the ball into the path of Jimenez and he headed the ball wide when he seemingly could have run on to the misplaced header.
Jones made a brilliant interception from a Nelson Semedo cross to deny Jimenez and United were lucky to get in at the break with the scores level. In the second half, United improved and they should have had the lead just past the hour mark as Bruno Fernandes, off the substitute bench, missed an absolute sitter. As the ball was cut back to him in the penalty area, he blasted it against the crossbar when all he needed to do was keep it down and get it on target. It was a pivotal and costly moment for the home side.
From a free-kick, Ronaldo then had a header correctly ruled out for offside as Old Trafford roared their side on. Having received a battering in the first half, United finally came to life, but couldn’t quite make the breakthrough.
Despite the resurgence, Wolves had more chances of their own. Romain Saiss hit the bar from a free-kick after Adam Traore drew a foul from Nemanja Matic. Then the moment that silenced Old Trafford.
Traore beat Shaw down the right and dinked the ball in and although Jones’ header was a solid one that got the ball out of the box, Moutinho was there to control and finish past De Gea. The packed out away end, who have only seen their side score 14 goals all season, treasured this one perhaps more than any other.
This goal shy Wolves side, who have only outscored a woeful Norwich team in the league this season, may not be emphatic in attack, but boy do they know how to defend. Only probably champions Manchester City have leaked fewer goals this term, and with the lead at Old Trafford they used all the tricks in the books to record another clean sheet.
They’ve only scored three in their last nine games, but Wolves are incredibly solid and difficult to play against. United missed their big chance of the match and the away side took theirs to secure all three points. Fernandes almost equalised with a free-kick deep into injury time, but it was his miss that ultimately changed the outcome of this match.
More work to do for United, who remain four points off the top four, but for Wolves - this massive win takes them up to eighth, just three points behind the Red Devils.