Manchester United and Wolves played out a goalless draw on Saturday evening in the FA Cup, meaning the two sides will have to play once more at Old Trafford to decide who goes through to the next round of the competition.
United dominated possession in the early stages of the game, but it was Wolves who created the first notable opportunity. Matt Doherty’s ferocious strike from inside the area was expertly saved by Sergio Romero.
The away side thought they should have been awarded a penalty with half an hour on the clock for a challenge on Brandon Williams, but VAR deemed it not to be a foul. The hosts made the brighter start to the second half and it was Pedro Neto who forced Romero into action once more, but he was equal to it.
However, Juan Mata came close ten minutes into the second half. His free-kick wrong-footed John Ruddy, but luckily for the shot-stopper, the ball flew just past the post. Second half substitute Marcus Rashford came on and hit the bar just 27 seconds later with a deflected strike, but Raul Jimenez later hit the woodwork for the home side. Both sides continued to search for a winner, but there wasn’t to be one.
Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
Wolves came into the FA Cup clash having lost to relegation-threatened Watford in midweek. In that game, they looked like a team that were playing their 35th match of the season. They were lethargic and they were punished.
Nuno made four changes, including a first senior start for Benny Ashley-Seal. Although Doherty came very close to opening the scoring in the first half, it was a fairly sloppy opening 45 minutes from the hosts, playing a number of loose passes that United capitalised on. They looked resolute at the back, but they lacked any real tempo to their play.
However, they were much improved in the second period, following the introduction of Raul Jimenez. The hosts played with greater intensity and looked to put their opponent’s on the back foot, which they did. Ultimately, however, they were unable to find the winner and now face a replay.
— Akshay Vara #GTTO (@ThatGuyAkshay) January 4, 2020
Ashley-Seal doing alright, a bit isolated when he gets the ball though. Distribution from the back is poor. All guilty of giving it away, Kilman the latest.
— Tim Spiers (@TimSpiers) January 4, 2020
Starting XI: Ruddy (5), Dendoncker (5), Coady (6), Kilman (6), Doherty (6), Saiss (6), Neves (6), Vinagre (6), Adama (8*), Ashley-Seal (5), Neto (6).
Substitutes: Jimenez (6), Moutinho (6), Jonny (6).
STAR PLAYER – Adama Traore was outstanding for Wolves, not for the first time this season, either.
Traore is a real talent and every time he receives the ball, he constantly looks to make things happen. Wolves struggled to really get out of their own half during the first period, but it was the Spaniard who worked tirelessly to win the ball back before carrying it forward at pace and testing the United backline.
Despite his sensational speed, Traore showed the quality to look up and provide an end product. A nightmare to defend against.
Traore just breezed past Andreas like he wasn’t there 臘♂️ #WOLMUN
— YOUTUBE : DillzTV (@YT_DillzTV) January 4, 2020
Key Talking Point
Manchester United were disappointing last time out against Arsenal, with the Gunners thoroughly deserving of their 2-0 win. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made seven changes for the trip to Molineux, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Fred handed a much-needed rest.
At Molineux, the Red Devils’ problems were once again exposed. They lacked creativity and struggled to break down their opponent. The early stages against Wolves saw them dominate possession, but ultimately, there was no threat.
Mason Greenwood dropped deep to link up with his teammates and while they had controlled possession in the middle of the park, when the ball came into the box, there were very few numbers in the area to pose any real threat. The introduction of Rashford and Fred had a positive impact, but they continued to lack any real cutting edge.
In the end, the Red Devils finished the game having had 12 shots…but they failed to manage a single one on target. The problems are all too obvious.
we keep trying to get inside the opposition box
even if we did, when is the last time that paid off? #WOLMUN
— ken (@pawapress) January 4, 2020
— Ashwin Balasubramanian (@ashwin_manian) January 4, 2020
Greenwood on the ball a lot but no one in the box to play the ball to #WOLMUN
— Gareth Rees (@GTRees1992) January 4, 2020
Starting XI: Romero (7), Young (6), Lindelof (6), Maguire (6), Williams (7*), Pereira (5), Matic (5), Chong (6), Mata (6), James (5), Greenwood (6).
Substitutes: Rashford (6), Fred (6), Dalot (5).
STAR PLAYER – United were disappointing once again, but Brandon Williams took his opportunity once more with another impressive display.
While Traore was Wolves’ best player, Williams did well to nullify his threat, tracking his surging runs and preventing him from being able to get in behind and cause real damage. The 19-year-old looked equally bright going forward, providing the width to support the attacks.
It was a real test for Williams against Traore, but he did exceptionally well to limit his threat. Special mention also goes to Sergio Romero for a stunning save, however.
— Steve Wade (@swade1987) January 4, 2020
Wolves return to Premier League action on Saturday as they host Newcastle. They then travel to take on Southampton the following Saturday.
Manchester United, meanwhile, host local rivals Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, before welcoming Norwich to Old Trafford on Saturday.