Manchester United suffered a major blow to their top four hopes as Wolves came from behind to beat them 2-1 at Molineux on Tuesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men started the stronger of the two sides on the night before grabbing a deserved lead in the 13th minute when Scott McTominay unleashed a precise long range effort to score his first goal for Manchester United.
Thereafter, United continue to dominate the proceedings but could not capitalise on their domination as Jesse Lingard came the closest to scoring. The visitors’s profligacy did eventually end up hurting them as ten minutes later, Diogo Jota finished from close range to make it 1-1.
While Manchester United retained the upper hand thereafter, they saw their aspirations take a hit when Ashley Young was sent off for a second bookable offence just before the hour mark. While Wolves did not threaten a lot, the crushing blow did arrive in the 77th minute, although it was Chris Smalling who ended up turning the ball into his own net.
The goal ended up being the final act in a close game as Wolves won 2-1, while Manchester United missed the chance to climb into the top four. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges following a disappointing night.
David de Gea: 4/10
A season full of inexplicable lows continued to be marred by more forgettable moments for David de Gea on Tuesday. At fault for putting Fred under pressure in the build-up to Diogo Jota’s goal, the Spaniard never looked comfortable on the ball.
Should have dealt with the long ball for Wolves’ winner in a better manner instead of letting the centre-backs deal with it. The season just does not show signs of improving for De Gea, and with his contract talks still ongoing, Manchester United fans have every reason to be worried.
Ashley Young: 3/10
If De Gea was unimpressive, Ashley Young was nothing short of embarrassing. The fact that he started as part of a back-three in itself appeared to be an absurd thought and showed his discomfort in the position when he played Jota onside for Wolves’ first goal. Poor awareness ultimately his undoing as the veteran saw red for a challenge on the Portuguese.
Chris Smalling: 5/10
Smalling did not do much wrong on the night, dealing with the threat of the tricky Jota quite well. But, the pace of the game caught him off guard at times, and he should have done better for the hosts’ winner, although De Gea was more at fault for the goal.
Victor Lindelof: 5/10
Much like the FA Cup encounter between the two sides a few weeks ago, Lindelof did not look at ease on the night, with the nippy Raul Jimenez always keeping his hands full. His prowess on the ball though, helped Manchester United build up play from the back, but he needs to do better in his primary tasks.
Diogo Dalot: 6/10
Starting in a position that suits him best, Dalot was a constant outlet for Manchester United down the right flank, creating perhaps the best chance of the game when Romelu Lukaku headed straight at Rui Patricio. Remained a threat throughout, but did struggle against the pace of Ruben Vinagre at times.
Scott McTominay: 7/10
Ever since he received a shock start against Liverpool, McTominay has been an impressive quantity for Manchester United. And, he produced another solid showing on Tuesday, which was capped off with a scintillating goal – what a way for an academy graduate to open his account for the club.
Apart from his goal, McTominay was also a reliable outlet on the ball, keeping things simple and the play ticking when his side needed it. And, playing in the new position, the Scot might have proven himself to be an alternative to Ander Herrera. Needs to be trusted more by Solskjaer.
Another of the changes in midfield, Fred did start off well. But, as the game wore on, there were signs on show that the no. 6 role does not really suit him well. One of the several players at fault for the equaliser, the Brazilian suffered a dip in confidence following his sloppy moment on the ball, which resulted in his passing being rather wayward thereafter.
Paul Pogba: 4/10
In the news regarding rumours of a possible move away from Manchester United, Pogba produced another dreadful performance on the pitch, which continues his run of sub-par showings. Anonymous for large parts of the game, the Frenchman just could not produce a single moment that made a difference. Needs to turn it around, and how.
Luke Shaw: 6/10
Starting as the left wing-back, Shaw looked to be a potent threat for Manchester United early on, but saw himself being pegged back constantly against the dangerous Matt Doherty. Picked up a 10th booking of the league campaign, which means he will miss the next two games, in what will be a huge blow for Manchester United.
Romelu Lukaku: 6/10
Returning to the side after over three weeks, Lukaku looked quite sharp in his movement but should have done better when presented with a golden chance by Dalot. Always looked like a good target man for the visitors, but found himself being isolated for large stretches. Will be ruing his missed chances.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
Lingard started alongside Lukaku in the front two and looked dangerous with his movement while roaming across the width of the park. Showed tremendous touch and awareness in the build-up to McTominay’s goal, but lacked the clinical touch when handed a solid opportunity to make it 2-0. Needs to finish better.
Phil Jones: 6/10
On for Fred after Young’s dismissal. Jones slotted into the back-three that stood well to the challenge of the Wolves attack, but should have done better for the winner. Solid otherwise.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Martial replaced Lukaku in the 73rd minute, but could not do enough to inspire his side to a point or three.
Andreas Pereira: N/A
On for the last six minutes, Pereira barely had any time to make an impact.