Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester United: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis | FA Cup 2018-19
Wolverhampton Wanderers upstaged Manchester United twice in two matches this season, this time around at their home.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s team completely outclassed United as they never let the visitors settle down by continuously breaching their slow midfield and probing the feeble backline. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team succumbed to the incessant bounds of pressure eventually, conceding twice within a matter of few minutes to completely lose any sort of control over the game.
Marcus Rashford notched a consolation goal in the final minute of the game but it hardly had any impact on the game as Wolves had well and truly closed down the match by then.
Their sheer tenacity and diligence, combined with an astute tactically flexible gameplay struck a meaty blow to United, who face their first difficult period ever since the Norwegian took over the reins.
Here, we discuss the numerous sub-plots from the game and analyze certain crucial moments throughout the course of the ninety minutes.
#5 Wolves take control, breach the midfield and display their tactical acumen for the most part of the game
For some time now, United have had a knack of starting matches poorly and then taking charge over the proceedings. As some teams have allowed them the luxury of freely doing so and then clawing their way back into the match, Wolves were clearly in no mood to do so.
The duo of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves, who had previously caused a lot of trouble to United’s midfield in September, came back again to outclass the trio at the center of the park for Solskjaer’s team. Moutinho particularly ran circles by recovering the ball, switching the play and regularly making his way inside the box through small channels towards the backline.
Neves recovered possession brilliantly, as Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic had another lackluster game. The Portuguese was diligent, timing his challenges to perfection and moving the ball up ahead as the likes of Matic took one touch too many before passing the ball to wider areas quite a few times.
They were quicker in moving the ball around, passing it to their fullbacks or the forwards who shifted to lateral areas, drawing players there and then suddenly switching play to exploit on the space created by the opposition players.
Moreover, Wolves garnered a lot of set-piece opportunities and were genuinely threatening from such situations. They took advantage of a slackened United team, that looked a bit undercooked and certainly lacked the drive that had propelled them to some excellent victories in the last few months.