It was far from a great game but only wins are important at this stage of the season and that is what we got. Antony squared to Martial, something the former should have done about 20 mins before, so the Frenchman could tap into an open net to break the deadlock of a testimonial worthy stalemate. United had a lot of shots but didn’t really work the debutant keeper, Dan Bentley, until the second half. Antony and Sancho stretched the keeper. Weghorst missed an open header and it had to wait for Garnacho’s first game back since the international break to finally settle the game. It takes us level with Newcastle who drew earlier on in the day and within 2 wins of securing a spot in the top four.
Crawl To The Finish
It will almost be 2 months from when Old Trafford applaud the team off the pitch after an accomplished second half performance completely washed away a poor one against a bad Leicester City side. United were preparing for a showdown with Barcelona in the Europa League and a cup final against Newcastle. Since then, the Europa League ended in a ball of flames courtesy of De Gea but United at least have another cup final date, this time against their city rivals in Man City. That Leicester win took us to 49 points. 10 games later, it was 63 points. 14 points out of 30 is mid table form at best and it has given us a nervous end to the season requiring 3 wins from the last 4.
With performances like today and the previous few weeks, you see why those were the points accrued in that time. In the first half United had 16 shots in total but only 4 were on target. It didn’t feel like we had that many shots however. Antony had two good chances, one of which he should have really passed to Martial, and of course the tap in from Martial but apart from that, a lot were speculative or contested shots. Even in possession, Wolves had more of it in totality despite ceding much of it in the opening exchanges. It looked as if both United and Wolves had nothing to play for today. The rigours of the season have perhaps caught up to Man Utd as the players looked remarkably lethargic in a game that carried massive importance. Even with that, it is still the basics that are not being achieved that are continual grating factors. How many times does a pass have to play at a tepid pace before they realise that intensity has to be in the pass to actual disorganise a deep block?
I am sure they do realise it but a lot of it comes down to knowing the capabilities of both themselves and their team mates. The technical level of the team is just so low that they know play those types of passes leaves the team liable to turning over possession over and over again. Because United had a counter with Antony who only needed to usher it into the path of Bruno Fernandes and he overhit it. It almost became a goal at the other end as well. Garnacho too had another to the same recipient and he also overhit it to cancel out the danger of a 5v3. Whilst the former was a main culprit, he wasn’t the only one. Sancho, Eriksen and Casemiro all made really poor passing decisions that fed into this lax way of playing that was a hallmark of the game. In fact, United looked at their most dangerous when Wolves came out or if they turned over the ball in poor positions. We can’t keep going on like this. After Leicester, it looked as if we were building to a strong finish. It still could be but it would be a crawl to that finish.
There are only so many times you can watch Jadon Sancho stand still and pass the ball back before you lose faith in his ability to stake a serious claim as a rotation piece in this United team, let alone a starter. It is infuriating to see someone with so much ability reduce their own game to that of a neat and tidy defensive midfielder. His poverty offering on the ball is just not worthy the known lack of physicality he has off it. His passing isn’t sharp, his touch are haphazard and his decision making in the final third isn’t even good anymore. What is he doing out there half the time, genuinely?
Then you see what Garnacho can bring when he comes on the pitch. He can get things wrong, as he done with the aforementioned pass to Bruno he overhit but he is always involved and more often than not, he at least makes a positive action. The second goal, that made the game safe, is an example of that. How we have missed him these past few weeks