Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers. Premier League.
Report and highlights as United drop more points at home in front of Sir Alex Ferguson
Saturday 22 September 2018 22:58, UK
Joao Moutinho's second-half equaliser denied Manchester United a fourth successive win in all competitions as Wolves earned a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson was in attendance for the first time since undergoing brain surgery in May as Fred became the 500th different player to score a competitive goal for United when he drilled home the opener, wonderfully set up by Paul Pogba in the 18th minute.
Wolves did not let United's opener unsettle them, though, as they remained a real threat and engineered a deserved equaliser for Moutinho in the 53rd minute.
United pressed for the winner, but could not find a way past a stubborn Wolves side who were more than good value for the point that keeps them in the top half. United sit fifth, eight points behind leaders Liverpool, after a disappointing afternoon that means they've have dropped six points from seven Premier League games at Old Trafford against newly-promoted opposition under Jose Mourinho.
Man Utd: De Gea (8), Lindelof (6), Smalling (7), Shaw (7), Valencia (6), Fred (8), Lingard (6), Fellaini (6), Pogba (7), Sanchez (3), Lukaku (4).
Subs used: Mata (6), Martial (6), Pereira (6).
Wolves: Patricio (8), Doherty (7), Bennett (6), Boly (8), Jonny (7), Coady (7), Neves (7), Jota (7), Moutinho (8), Costa (7), Jimenez (8).
Subs used: Saiss (6) Gibbs-White (N/A), Traore (7)
Man of the match: Joao Moutinho
Wolves were much the better side in the opening stages, forcing David de Gea into two fine saves, one from a close-range Raul Jimenez effort, and the other, a more impressive one from a Ryan Bennett header.
Wolves were made to pay for not taking their chances as Fred fired United into the lead. It was all about the Pogba pass, as the France international controlled the ball brilliantly into the path of Fred, who arrived just at the right moment to fire into the net from the edge of the box.
The goal did not deter Wolves, though, as they continued to put United on the back foot, but for all their good possession and pressure, they could not find that killer pass.
Two changes for United from the side that beat Watford last weekend, with Fred and Luke Shaw coming in for the suspended Nemanja Matic and Ashley Young. Marouane Fellaini, who sat out of United’s Champions League win in midweek, started in midfield. Wolves, for the sixth game in a row, were unchanged.
Cue Raul Jimenez to provide that telling assist eight minutes into the second half, as he held the ball up in the box and laid it off perfectly for Moutinho, who slammed the ball into the top corner from the 18 yards.
United pressed for the winner, with Marouane Fellaini denied by a smart save from Rui Patricio, but Wolves had chances of their own to win it, with lively substitute Adama Traore forcing De Gea into another save with his feet in stoppage time.
The result dents recent good work from United, who had overcome back-to-back defeats at the end of August by going on a three-match winning streak on the road. Wolves, though, will cause many a team problems this season.
No United player put in more crosses into the middle in one play than Luke Shaw, but he was often off target. Chris Smalling had a solid game in the heart of the United defence, but Jesse Lingard was very ineffective before being substituted.
Eyebrows were raised when Wolves managed to snare Moutinho in the summer for what appeared to be a nominal fee, and he proved why he has garnered such a prestigious reputation at Old Trafford, dictating the play for much of the contest, against impressive opposition.
No team-mate created more chances, while he put in double the crosses of any Wolves player. It was the control with which he went about his business that was most impressive, though.
United host Derby next in the Carabao Cup, live in Sky Sports on Tuesday night, before travelling to West Ham next weekend. Wolves host Leicester in the cup also on Tuesday night, before then welcoming Southampton to Molineux on Saturday.