Greenwood, 7/10, makes the difference for Man United at Wolves

Manchester United travelled to Molineux on Sunday where they took all three points with a 1-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

The away side almost found themselves down early after Fred‘s careless play allowed Adama Traore to run clear before David De Gea was forced into a save at the near post. And the hosts soon had another chance, this time diverted away from goal by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Paul Pogba showed his intent to try to win the game in the second half with some dangerous balls helping create positive moments for the Red Devils, but it was the United goalkeeper who would have the biggest moment of the game, producing a world-class double save against Romain Saiss, who looked certain to score from the corner. The Spain international’s save would prove to be significant as Mason Greenwood later made space before unleashing a strike that Jose Sa couldn’t keep out, guiding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to an important three points away from home.

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Positives

Moments of pressure were handled well by Man United’s centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane. Starts for both Varane and Jadon Sancho will only help the two summer recruits settle in more as they garner more minutes in the first team for upcoming matches. Greenwood continued his goal-scoring form with his third in as many games after being omitted from the England squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

Negatives

The first-half performance wasn’t good enough for a side who will be looking to be in the title race after the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester United also struggled to cope with Traore, too often giving the ball away cheaply to allow Wolves counterattacking situations. It could have been another story had the hosts been more clinical.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — A positive team selection saw United set up with just a single defensive midfielder, and fans will want to see that, but it did little to improve Solskjaer’s side’s attacking output for most of the game.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 8 — The Spain international’s save against Saiss is an early contender for the save of the season. With the game in the balance, those are the sort of interventions that will win points across the campaign.

DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 7 — Manchester United would have found themselves 1-0 down if it weren’t for Wan-Bissaka, who got back excellently to clear Francisco Trincao’s effort. A strong display from the defender on the day.

DF Harry Maguire, 7 — A commanding performance from Maguire as the England international rarely allowed any danger to progress. The 28-year-old’s organisation helped keep Wolves at bay during a number of intensive counterattacks. Despite one moment that saw Maguire beat too easily by Trincao, it was a positive display on the whole.

DF Raphael Varane, 7 — Solskjaer’s side had a lot to deal with, which makes it positive that their latest addition at centre-back didn’t make any mistakes. The 28-year-old covered well by stopping the cross after his partner was nutmegged by Trincao, and that was indicative of an overall assured display.

DF Luke Shaw, 6 — The England international didn’t allow much down his side but Shaw’s link-up play with Sancho is something that will have to improve in future games.

MF Fred, 5 — The Brazil midfielder gave away the ball cheaply early on, allowing Traore to break at the United defence, and another mistake almost saw Wolves score again. While Fred did make some good defensive plays, his two notable mistakes would have been punished against more clinical opposition.

MF Paul Pogba, 7 — The transition from midfield to attack was lacking at times in the first half but it was a different story after the break as the France star displayed his passing quality, moving the ball incisively into attacking areas.

MF Daniel James, 5 — The Wales international looked to challenge his defender when given the opportunity but lacked end product. A frustrating performance.

MF Bruno Fernandes, 6 — The Manchester United talisman looked to fade out of the game in spells despite producing some moments of quality. The Portugal international linked well with Pogba throughout the game as he found space behind the defensive line, having the ball in the back of the net at one point in the first half before being ruled offside.

MF Jadon Sancho, 5 — A reluctant first half saw United’s big summer addition struggle to get going. The winger’s passing wasn’t what he would have liked, giving up possession too cheaply in moments while never looking like threatening the defence.

FW Mason Greenwood, 7 — A half chance just before the break was hit well by the forward, who struck narrowly wide of the goal. The 19-year-old was isolated for large parts of the game but was clinical when making a yard of space before striking past the goalkeeper to give his side the lead.

Substitutes

FW Edinson Cavani, 5 — While normally a handful for defenders, Cavani was anonymous after being introduced in the 54th minute.

MF Anthony Martial, N/R — The 25-year-old was introduced for Sancho but couldn’t make an impact in the little time he had on the pitch.

MF Diogo Dalot, N/R — The defender came on late to help see the game out for Solskjaer’s side.