Monday Night Football is a ‘take it or leave it’ game of football more often than not for Premier League fans, mainly because you just don’t know what kind of match-up you’re going to get. This past Monday, though, it felt like we were always going to be in for a good one as Wolverhampton Wanderers went head to head with Manchester United.
It’s the kind of fixture we’ve seen many times over the years, but now, it’s no longer a big club vs little club kind of affair. These two sides are relatively similar to one another in terms of natural quality, and the sport is really starting to recognise that. Wolves had previously won their last two encounters against the Red Devils, further increasing the intrigue surrounding this game.
Old school warfare
Wolves kicked off their campaign with a 0-0 draw against Leicester City, and while you could argue that was the right result, they will certainly feel like they were hard done by courtesy of a disallowed goal from our new pals VAR. Manchester United, on the other hand, put Chelsea to the sword with a 4-0 win that really opened the eyes of the football world to what they were capable of.
United started off as the brighter of the two sides, and in the entirety of the first half it never really felt like Wolves were able to find their footing. They were chasing shadows most of the time, whereas the multiple-time Premier League champions looked in full control. They made their superiority count when a nice overlapping run from Anthony Martial saw the Frenchman give the visitors the advantage at Molineux.
Start as you mean to go on
When the second half began, though, the hosts seemed to come alive. Adama Traore’s introduction caused havoc for United down the right hand side, with Ole’s men struggling to cope with his pace. After Raul Jimenez flicked a header onto the post, Wolves equalised after a Ruben Neves wonder strike from the edge of the box to add to his collection.
The goal was almost ruled out for VAR but it wasn’t to be, drawing a less than pleasant response from Wanderers fans. The game continued to swing back and forth right up until full time, with the best chance for a winner coming when Paul Pogba was fouled inside the box by Conor Coady. The World Cup-winning midfielder stepped up himself to take it, and missed thanks to a really nice save from Rui Patricio. The big criticism after the game was that Marcus Rashford should’ve been the man to take it, but as we all know, hindsight can be an awful thing.
Wolves will now turn their attention towards a crucial two-legged Europa League tie with Torino, whereas Manchester United have two very winnable fixtures coming up against Crystal Palace and Southampton.
The bookmakers favoured United to get the three points here and while they couldn’t quite get themselves over the finish line, they certainly looked better than they have done in recent times against Nuno’s men.