Manchester United dropped points for the third time this season as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.
On an emotional day for Manchester United fans, Wolves set the pace early on, taking the game to their hosts and conjuring up two big chances, only to be denied by David de Gea. But, Manchester United went on to grab the lead, pretty much against the run of play in the 18th minute.
Fred scored his first goal in Manchester United colours from range, after Paul Pogba set him up with a delicate touch. The Brazilian international came close to doubling his tally from a free-kick at the stroke of half-time, but Rui Patricio parried the ball away superbly.
Wolves though, were back in the game early in the second half as Raul Jimenez teed up Joao Moutinho, who scored a fantastic long-range goal to level things up. Thereafter, Manchester United dominated the possession, but were lacking in their end product.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 22, 2018
Ultimately, the match ended in 1-1 draw, as Manchester United’s three-game winning run was snapped by a resolute Wolves side. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jose Mourinho’s men following a disappointing evening.
David de Gea: 8/10
By far, the best player for Manchester United on Saturday, de Gea made a string of saves to spare his side’s blushes on the day. Much improved while distributing the ball as well, and he continues to be Mr. Consistent for the Red Devils. Couldn’t have done anything to stop Wolves’ goal.
Antonio Valencia: 4/10
Valencia wasn’t much at fault defensively, apart from the rare occasion when he was caught out of possession. But, his failure to make any sort of impact in the final third is starting to make the Manchester United captain a liability, especially with Diogo Dalot setting a high benchmark with his midweek performance.
High time Valencia stepped up, although he looks bereft of ideas more often than not against most opponents these days. His days as a regular may be numbered, depending on Dalot’s progress over the course of the season.
Chris Smalling: 6.5/10
The best defender on show for Manchester United, Smalling used all his experience to deal with the threat posed by Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez. The Englishman was confident on the ball as well, while being formidable in the air. Not at fault for the goal that Manchester United conceded.
Victor Lindelof: 5/10
A torrid evening for Lindelof, who struggled to contain the burly Raul Jimenez, with the Wolves striker using his strength to good effect. While the Swede distributed the ball well, he needs to address the physical side of his game, so as to not get dominated by opposition players who are larger in frame than him.
Luke Shaw: 6/10
A rare underwhelming performance from Shaw, who produced his worst outing of the season thus far. The pacy Helder Costa took a lot out of the young left-back before Adama Traore made it worse in the final minutes of the game. Not as assured on the ball as he had been before Saturday. Shaw had his fair share of positive moments as well, but those came few and far between.
Marouane Fellaini: 7/10
Another solid outing for Fellaini, who continues to provide a steady presence as a sort of an auxiliary centre-back. Confident on the ball while being a potent outlet inside the Wolves box, the Belgian was once again a consistent performer. One of the few Manchester United players who can hold their head up high.
A day to remember for Fred, even though the result didn’t exactly go his way. His goal was well taken, especially considering the deft finish came from his weaker foot. In the process, Fred became the 500th player to score a competitive goal for Manchester United. Could have doubled his tally, if not for a fine save by Rui Patricio.
Fred’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
94.1% passing accuracy
2 shots on target
Off the mark for Man Utd. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/NwKmCfpFOY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 22, 2018
Apart from the two moments, it was a determined performance by the Brazilian international, who drove forward with purpose and produced his best performance for Manchester United to date.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Another one of the players who performed admirably. Fred had played the support act for Pogba against Young Boys a couple of days ago, and the roles were reversed this time, as an exquisite first touch created the space for the Brazilian to take aim at goal.
While Pogba was at fault for the goals that Wolves scored, it was perhaps the only blip in another strong showing. In fact, the Frenchman looked like the only Manchester United player who was capable of breaking down the stubborn opposition defence as full-time approached.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
A mixed bag of a display from Lingard, who would have wanted to prove a point or two on Saturday. The Englishman pressed with intensity – perhaps, the only player to do so on Saturday. But, that was about it, when it came to the positive intent shown by Lingard, who never really looked like making a difference bar a long-range effort that was straight at Rui Patricio.
Romelu Lukaku: 4/10
There could be an argument that Lukaku wasn’t supported adequately on the day, but that was also his own doing, in part. The Belgian had nothing to show as far as hold-up play was concerned, which meant he cut an isolated figure for large parts of the game. Lukaku still had a couple of chances to seal the win, but he showed horrible decision making to not put his foot on the ball.
Alexis Sanchez: 3/10
If Lukaku was abysmal, there was one player who was even worse – Alexis Sanchez. This was supposed to be the season when Sanchez would rise to the occasion after struggling in the second half of 2017-18.
But, there was absolutely nothing on show in terms of creativity or goalscoring threat. Instead, wayward passing and clueless decisions were the name of the game for Sanchez, who is just failing to be the superstar that joined from Arsenal earlier this year.
Anthony Martial: 6/10
He may not have been able to inspire Manchester United to a win. But, in the 30 minutes that he was on the pitch, Martial offered far more threat than Sanchez while linking up well with those around him. Might just have done enough to usurp the Chilean for now.
Juan Mata: 5/10
On for Fred, Mata offered very little in terms of creativity, and forced to pass sideways for the most part. Set-pieces didn’t threaten much either.
Andreas Pereira: 5/10
On for the final 15 minutes, Pereira brought on a sense of urgency, but couldn’t affect the proceedings all that much.