Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Manchester United 1-0 to bag all three points at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Monday. This was Ralf Rangnick’s first-ever loss as Manchester United interim manager.
Joao Moutinho scored a beautiful goal in the 82nd minute of the game to seal the deal in favor of Wolves.
Wolves started the game in an explosive manner. Bruno Lage’s side took Manchester United by surprise as they did not allow the hosts any breathing space. They created numerous chances throughout the game but Manchester United somehow managed to stay afloat. It was late on in the second half that they were rewarded for their hard work.
On that note, here’s a look at the five talking points from the game:
Ralf Rangnick under serious pressure
Ralf Rangnick is yet to click for Manchester United. A lot of hype was built around the German following his arrival but the results have not been in his favor. Since his appointment, Manchester United have not won a single game convincingly. Moreover, today’s loss and the draw against relegation strapped Newcastle United a week ago have worked against him.
Old Trafford is yet to witness the ‘geggenpress’ philosophy and relentless attacking football combined with the composed defensive structure that was promised. On a contradictory note, fans are bewildered by how low they’ve stooped in terms of creativity. Rangnick will have to make things click quickly if he is to stick around for longer.
The formation is yet to click for Manchester United
Rangnick has deployed a 4-2-2-2 formation since taking over the club. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm, Manchester United were flexible with their formation. But with Rangnick at the wheel, we are yet to see those experimentations. The German seems rigid as far as his approach is concerned.
Manchester United lost their midfield battle to Wolves on Monday. A double pivot of Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic deployed was beaten by numerical superiority in the center put forward by Wolves.
Moreover, this formation leaves quite a few gaps in the center which forces the forwards to drop deep. It also left the players quite detached from each other.
Manchester United were completely outplayed by Wolves
Wolves from the very beginning of the match looked more composed when compared to Manchester United. They looked hungry and were out to prove a point. Today’s win against Manchester United was Wolves’ first-ever win at Old Trafford since 1980.
The visitors choked Manchester United in the center of the park. They forced them to distort their shape on numerous occasions. Moreover, their compact defensive line allowed the Manchester United attackers no chance. Wolves were rewarded for their all-around masterclass as Joao Moutinho smashed a beautiful goal to hand them the win.
David de Gea saved Manchester United from embarrassment
At one end, where Manchester United struggled to create chances, Wolves kept David de Gea on his toes. Wolves had a fantastic opening half as they had 14 shots. If not for David de Gea, Manchester United would have lost the game in the opening half itself.
The Spaniard made some beautiful saves to deny Wolves in the first half. His double save in the 13th minute was supreme. It was a shame he could not end the game with a clean sheet.
Playing Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani together backfired
It’s not like Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani cannot play together, but if they are to do so they need proper service. If two of the best forwards in the world start up-front, then your whole game should be focused on creating chances for them. But that was not the case. To put matters into context, Manchester United had just two shots on target.
Ronaldo was a frustrated figure up-front. He had no assistance higher up and had to drop deep on numerous occasions just to make his presence felt. The fullbacks were abysmal with their crossing. Meanwhile, the midfielders looked disconnected, to say the least. Bruno Fernandes came closest to scoring as he hit the crossbar after coming off the bench.