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Manchester United were determined on heading into the winter break on a positive note by scoring a win over Wolves. The game also marked the debut of new signing Bruno Fernandes. But they could only reap a point, being held 0-0 by the visitors & going back being six points behind 4th placed Chelsea.
Both teams basically cancelled each other out in what was a cagey first-half, with Wolves creating more noticeable chances. The game opened up in the second half and while United did force a few solid saves from Rui Patricio, they just couldn’t convert their opportunities.
This was basically the resulted of these two teams playing each other 4 TIMES in the space off roundabout 6 months this season. Both knew how the other operates and neither could find the winner to get closer to that Champions League spot.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (5.0) –
A pretty standard team- barring Fernandes’ inclusion- and tactically not much changed from the last time United met Wolves. Solskjaer’s decisions to move Pereira to left-wing & keeping an underperforming James for far too long ultimately cost his side. Just couldn’t get his team to break the visitors and now United are goalless in last three league games.
David de Gea (7.0) –
Punched away Doherty’s 20th-minute looping header with defiance. Tipped off Jimenez’s 69th-minute shot very well. Apart from that, however, he didn’t really have to do anything. Deserves the clean-sheet for his solid saves though.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.0)-
Wan-Bissaka’s again being underwhelming moving forward, barely being able to put in threatening passes. Created Mata’s 60th minute chance by showcasing clever movement. Sent in an inch-perfect cross in the 94th minute but robbed off an assist. He kept pegging forward & harried Wolves with his tenacity. Put in crucial spider-tackles & timely interceptions to retain his unmovable defensive reputation.
Harry Maguire (7.5) –
Thwarted away early cold feet with strong clearances. Leading by example by making emphatic tackles with relative ease. Makes a crucial block to deny Podence from close in the 84th. But shockingly scuffed a big scoring chance in the 87th. Apart from that, Maguire was superb today. Aerially indomitable, made clutch challenges and stamped his authority over Wolves’ dangerous attackers.
Victor Lindelof (7.0) –
Working in tandem with Maguire to stop Wolves’ early onslaught. Brilliant block in added time to deny a late scare. He moved around the ball with ease, being composed with his defending and keeping Jimenez’s threat nullified. Outwitted on occasions, but recovered with strong clearances to keep things cool at the back.
Luke Shaw (6.5)–
Shaw’s going to get his defensive strengths by the dangerous Adama Traore today. Tipped a great low ball to Fernandes in the 39th. He dealt with Traore’s threat pretty well, putting in smart challenges to dispossess him multiple times. Put in an energetic showing running up & down, being defensively sold with timely challenges. Not so inspiring going forward though.
Fred (7.0) –
United’s January Player of the Month is booming with confidence, biting into opponents with incisive challenges. Chasing the ball like a hound, winning back possession and driving United forward with his swift passes. His set-piece delivery was much better today. Fred remained a vigilant figure in the middle, recovering the ball cleverly and putting in compelling tackles. Continues his good run.
Andreas Pereira (4.5)-
Struggling to establish authority in centre midfield again. Blasted a shot wide from just outside the area in the 18th minute. Exposing his midfielders with his shoddy defensive work. Shot one straight at Patricio in the 71st before being subbed. Another disappointing performance where he created nothing and frustrated by losing possession.
Bruno Fernandes (6.5) –
Bruno’s demanding the ball with confidence early on. Linking together a few good chances with fancy passes but failed to assert his authority in first half-hour. Swerves a long-ranger just wide in the 33rd. Whips another one at Patricio in the 39th. Booked for a cynical foul before the hour-mark. Curled a decent free-kick on goal at the 58th.
To be honest, he tried the hardest to force a goal with his attempts and moved around the ball pretty well. Not the dream debut everyone hoped, but showcased promising signs nonetheless.
Juan Mata (6.5) –
Linked together brilliantly with team-mates to create Pereira’s chance in the 18th. Swept a shot from range just wide at the 60th. He showed commendable work-rate in moving all over attack, but just couldn’t produce that special moment despite all his efforts. Wore out towards the end, limiting his threat.
Daniel James (4.5) –
James is struggling to penetrate through the left in the initial stages. Getting dispossessed too easily and failing to deliver proper crosses. Moved into the right flank in the second half but ineffective there as well. He did make his blazing forward runs at times, but never found a proper cross. Bullied by Wolves physicality. His confident seems shot now.
Anthony Martial (4.5) –
Trying to get more involved in churning chances, dragging Wolves defenders by dropping deeper. His hold-up play has been impressive. But apart from that, he was kept very quiet by Wolves. Moved to a natural left-wing role after Greenwood’s introduction, but barely able to penetrate through that side. Another uninspired performance.
Mason Greenwood (6.0) –
The youngster almost made immediate impact, with his 78th-minute long-ranger almost deflecting its way into goal. Troubled Wolves with his clever movement but unable to find that winner.
Jesse Lingard (N/R) –
When United need a goal, he’s the last person they should bring on now. Didn’t add anything in the little minutes he featured in.
Diogo Dalot (N/R) –
Had the chance to become Old Trafford’s hero late on, but placed a header agonizingly wide late on.
I think Wan-Bissaka & Maguire were undoubtedly United’s two best players today. I’ll give this to Maguire, as he dominated Jimenez & co and made it look so very easy. Gaining confidence as captain with each game.