Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Manchester United 2-0 Wolves: What Were The Main Talking Points As Ten Hag’s Side Take A Huge Step Towards A Champions League Return?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 13 May 2023

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Glad to make a return to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, Manchester United claimed a crucial boost as they secured a 2-0 victory against Wolves.

Watching Newcastle drop a pair of points away at relegation scrappers Leeds earlier in the day, Erik ten Hag’s side will know that they have taken a huge step in clinching a Champions League return this month.

Although the former Ajax boss might have been unable to call upon attacking talisman Marcus Rashford here, it was Anthony Martial who handed United a deserved lead just after the half-hour mark.

Not really having to get out of third gear and with the returning Alejandro Garnacho wrapping up all three points in the final seconds, the Red Devils end Saturday’s fixtures holding a four-point buffer over slipping out of the Champions League spots.

Cashing in on a Wolves side that have now failed to record just a single Premier League win on their travels since opening 2023, United’s destiny certainly remains in their own hands.

In what was a largely routine home performance on Saturday afternoon, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Old Trafford.

United extend on their Old Trafford romp

While Manchester United might have continued to gain a reputation for their struggles away from Old Trafford this season, ten Hag’s side have enjoyed a real romp on home soil.

Claiming what was a crucial boost here after suffering back-to-back 1-0 losses against Brighton and West Ham, the former Ajax boss still knows that his squad are sat in pole position to claim an essential Champions League return this month.

Coming under a huge amount of scrutiny last month as they saw their Europa League adventure come to an end thanks to a 3-0 defeat away at Sevilla, Saturday’s hosts will take plenty of positives away from a professional display here.

Now holding a commanding four-point buffer over historic rivals Liverpool and slipping out of the Champions League spots, United have now won each of their last four straight Premier League appearances at Old Trafford.

Likewise, with an FA Cup final against Manchester City fast approaching on the horizon, United have remarkably not suffered a single domestic defeat in front of their supporters since the opening weekend.

Wolves’ issues away from Molineux worsen

Claiming Midlands bragging rights last weekend as they secured a 1-0 victory against European outsiders Aston Villa, Wolves would have been desperate to spring another upset on Saturday afternoon.

However, while Julen Lopetegui’s side might have dragged themselves away from a looming relegation scrap, the one-time Real Madrid boss will have a real headache over his squad’s extended issues on the road.

Last seen away from Molineux putting in a woeful display as they slumped to an infamous 6-0 drumming at the hands of Brighton on April 29th, Wolves have lost each of their last three Premier League away fixtures by an aggregate score of 9-1.

Likewise, with that extended rut highlighted by a 2-1 loss against leading bottom-three candidates Leicester last month, Saturday’s guests have also recorded just a single away win in their last 12 meetings against Premier League opposition.

With that run stemming all the way back to a 2-1 victory against Everton on Boxing Day, Lopetegui’s side are simply hoping to end the 2022/23 campaign with some much-needed stability over the final fortnight.

A mixed day of injury news for ten Hag’s side

While fans around Old Trafford might have been excited to see Raphael Varane mark his return from a month-long ankle injury on Saturday afternoon, there will be huge concern over Rashford’s untimely blow.

Making their return to Manchester after failing to find the net in their back-to-back Premier League defeats against Brighton and West Ham, it is no secret that Rashford has been United’s talisman this season.

With many feeling that the England international has a huge role to play in ten Hag’s bid to book an essential top-four return, there are growing concerns that the 25-year-old could also miss next week’s trip to Bournemouth.

Joining a United injury list that already includes the likes of Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and defensive star Lisandro Martinez, Rashford has only continued on a career-best romp this season.

Notching 16 Premier League strikes and really enjoying a clinical flurry on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, it will arguably be Rashford’s absence here that could still all of the headlines from Old Trafford.

Match Report

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen, Antony, Fernandes, Sancho, Martial

Subs: Weghorst, Maguire, Fred, Garnacho

Wolves: Bentley, Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Toti, Neto, Lemina, Neves, Nunes, Chunha, Costa

Subs: Hwang Hee-Chan, Traore, Jiminez, Bueno, Podence

Goals: Martial (32’), Garnacho (90+4’)

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Casemiro, Garnacho, Shaw – Wolves: Costa, Dawson

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Jonathan Brooks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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