Manchester United will have to go again in the FA Cup third round after a dull 0-0 draw against Wolves at Molineux on Saturday night forced a replay in the tie. Matt Doherty and Pedro Neto had strong chances for Wolves that were well saved by Sergio Romero, while Marcus Rashford hit the bar and Juan Mata saw his free kick drift ever so slightly wide. In short, it’s a game to forget for the Red Devils.
Playing the possession game isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but United did so well and neutralised Wolves in the middle of the park as a result. Their fringe players put in that extra bit of effort that’ll pique the interest of the manager, and it never felt like they were overwhelmed whenever Wolves came forward, which is an improvement if nothing else.
The lazy nature of Manchester United’s play — also evident in the New Year’s Day loss to Arsenal — certainly caught the attention of many travelling fans as they just felt lethargic at times. They showed gaps at the back and, in the first half especially, they were chasing shadows and seemed to be a step or two off the pace of the game. The physicality of their game also wasn’t up to scratch, at least not in comparison to Wolves.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI was a daring one as he was able to blend a few regulars together with fringe stars who had a point to prove. He stuck with a similar formation, which was the right way to go given the structure of Wolves’ first team, and it seems like Ole was able to learn from some mistakes from his past failures at Molineux. The Norwegian’s substitutions were also well-thought-out and made sense.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Sergio Romero, 7 — Kept United in the game early on in the first and second half with a few really important saves after stinging shots from Doherty and Neto.
DF Ashley Young, 5 — Continues to provide United fans with a complete lack of entertainment, and while he doesn’t necessarily need to give them that, he continues to second-guess himself at every available opportunity.
DF Victor Lindelof, 5 — Affords forwards far too much respect and just can’t seem to find any sort of relaxed cohesion with his centre-back partner.
DF Harry Maguire, 6 — Drifts into the opposition’s half far too often, has questionable decision-making and needs to be more of a leader at the back.
DF Brandon Williams, 6 — Went a bit quiet in the second half, but in the first he was active and determined, especially when bursting forward.
MF Andreas Pereira, 5 — Should not be positioned as a central midfielder, doesn’t feel natural at all there and looks lost at times.
MF Nemanja Matic, 5 — Always looks a bit tired as a result of his distinct lack of pace. Does the simple things well, but allows sloppy moments to creep into his game.
MF Tahith Chong, 6 — Needs to work on his positioning but has a real engine that allows him to track back and have strong bursts of energy in equal measure.
MF Juan Mata, 7 — Tends to find his man well and strings together opportunities for others. Went close with a nice free kick in the second half.
MF Daniel James, 6 — Has to rediscover the end product that made him such a hot commodity at the start of the season. Succeeds when he gets in round the back, but doesn’t do it enough.
FW Mason Greenwood, 6 — Serves as a striker that gives United nice sustained periods of pressure, but is forced to drop back far too often to cover his teammates.
MF Fred, 6 — Provided the visitors with some creativity in the final third, but really shouldn’t be put on set pieces as it doesn’t play to his strengths whatsoever.
FW Marcus Rashford, 6 — Hit the bar within minutes of coming on and was an immediate danger man for Wolves to deal with.
MF Diogo Dalot, N/A — The most notable thing he did was blaze a cross, or perhaps shot, over the bar late in the game.