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Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers: 3 Talking Points | FA Cup 2019-2020

Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 16 Jan 2020, 08:52 IST

Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - FA Cup Third Round: Replay
Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - FA Cup Third Round: Replay

Manchester United are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after dispatching Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in a third round replay at Old Trafford.

Both sides battled to a goalless stalemate two weeks ago, with Wolves keeping Manchester United from registering a single shot on target and for much of this fixture, the game towed the line of the first match.

The Red Devils controlled most of the proceedings and had the giant share of possession but struggled to break down a resolute Wolves defence who seemed content to sit back and absorb the pressure while trying to catch the hosts on the counter.

They put the ball in the back of the net in the first half through Pedro Neto but the goal was ruled out after Raul Jimenez was deemed to have handled the ball in the buildup to the goal.

Solskjaer's side continued to have the upper hand in the second half and got just rewards for their efforts when Wolves were caught out in attack and Anthony Martial released Juan Mata quickly for the Spanish international to break the deadlock with an excellent lob over John Ruddy midway through the second period.

The visitors expectedly upped the ante in a bid to force the equalizer but for all of the industriousness of Adama Traore on the wings, they were let down by their decision making in the final third and could not find a way past the excellent combination of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Manchester United would now take on the winner of the postponed fixture between Watford and Tranmere Rovers in the fourth round and here, we shall be highlighting three talking points from their clash against Wolves.


#3 Nuno Espirito loses unbeaten record against Manchester United

Nuno Espirito has lost to Manchester United after five matches
Nuno Espirito has lost to Manchester United after five matches
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Nuno Espirito won praise across the land when he guided Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Championship title in 2018, blowing the rest of the competition away with his three-at-the -back system.

Upon promotion, he stuck to this style, helped in the development of previously unheralded players like Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore, and Ruben Nevez and guided the West Midlands club to a brilliant seventh place finish in the league.

This season, they have continued from where they left off and impressively topped their Europa League group, while they also obliterated Manchester City in December, making Nuno only the second manager to do a league double over Pep Guardiola and the first to have more possession than him in victory.

Wolves have been something of a boogie team since their promotion and the top sides have always found them a tough nut to crack.

They, however, posted better results against Manchester United, having not lost any of their previous five fixtures since gaining promotion last season.

A draw and win were registered in their Premier League clashes last term, while Ole Gunner Solskjaer was also knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolves last season.

Two stalemates were played out earlier in the campaign before this replay and with his victory, Solskjaer has finally gotten one over Nuno at the fourth time of asking.


#2 Juan Mata continues good run of form

Mata scored the winning goal
Mata scored the winning goal

Juan Mata is one of the most decorated players of his generation, having won almost everything winnable at both club and international level.

Over the last six years, he has been one of the better performers in what has been a shambolic group of Manchester United players but he has seen his place taken in the team in recent times.

Despite this, the former Chelsea man remains a highly technical player capable of breaking down any defence on his day and he highlighted this with a pair of assists in the 4-0 victory over Norwich last time out.

His display against the Canaries won him a starting spot against Wolves and he proved to be the match-winner, showing great execution and technique - despite being under pressure - to calmly lift the ball over an onrushing Ruddy and settle the contest.

While it might be far-fetched to expect him to produce displays like these on a regular basis due to his advanced age, Mata proved that he still has a lot to offer to the Manchester United cause.


#1 Injury scare for Marcus Rashford

Rashford has been in great form this season
Rashford has been in great form this season

After many years of stop-start campaigns, Marcus Rashford is finally growing into his own and showing consistent proof of the undoubted talent he exhibited from the moment he made his first team debut.

The 22-year-old has been by far Manchester United's most reliable player this season and the fledgling hope they have of a top four finish is down to his displays in front of goal.

Rashford has already hit his best ever goal-return in a season at the halfway point of this campaign and he is on course for his first 30-goal season barring any injuries or drastic dip in form.

The England international has scored 19 goals in his last 23 games for club and country and his 14 league goals is only bettered by the 17 managed by Jamie Vardy.

To state that Manchester United are heavily dependent on him is merely stating the obvious and the club would need him fit and fresh as they launch their assault on the home run of the season.

It was with this in mind that Solskjaer started with him on the bench but with his side struggling to break down Wolves, he summoned his talisman and his impact was almost immediate, with the hosts generating the penetration that was sorely lacking earlier.

However, just seven minutes after Rashford's introduction, there was a sight that would have given fans of the club cause for concern, as he fell to the floor with what appeared to be a muscle pull.

It was immediately clear that he could not continue and Jesse Lingaard would have incurred more wrath from an antagonistic fanbase after he forced Rashford to stay on and hobble around the field for another five minutes due to his unpreparedness when summoned from the bench as a replacement.

This extra strain likely compounded the injury and with Manchester United due to face heated rivals Liverpool on Sunday, fans of the club would be hoping with bated breath that they would do so with their star striker.


Also Read: Official bid for Bruno Fernandes to be made today, Pogba's agent in talks with Real Madrid and Juventus, and more: Manchester United Transfer Roundup, 15th January 2020

Published 16 Jan 2020, 08:52 IST
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