The Red Devils won a breathtaking victory with a score of 4-3 in their trip to Molineux to meet Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite leading 2-0 thanks to goals in the first minutes from Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund, Man Utd still could not finish off the opponent and made the match much more difficult in the late stages.
Pedro Neto was tackled by Casemiro, resulting in Wolves being awarded a penalty and Pablo Sarabia shortened the score to 1-2. Even though the substitute Scott McTominay then hit the ground and scored in the 75th minute, the Old Trafford home team still allowed the opponent to score 2 consecutive goals in the 85th and 90+5 minutes.
It seemed like the match would end with a disappointing draw for the Red Devils, but Kobbie Mainoo spoke up at the right time with a beautiful solo and curled strike that brought 3 points for Erik Ten Hag’s team. Although the victory was emotional, this was not the way the fans and team wanted to win 3 points. They need to learn how to finish off their opponents, like Liverpool or Manchester City are still doing in the Premier League.
With Pep or Klopp, 1 or 2 goals in the Premier League is a relatively slim distance. Therefore, they will often maintain the same pace of attack and look for the next goals to ‘destroy’ the opponent’s spirit before taking control of the match. In the hands of the two strategists of Manchester City and Liverpool, both have midfielders who hold the ball well like Rodri or Alexis Mac Allister, which allows them to slow down the pace of the match when they feel the score is safe.
Meanwhile, with Manchester United, the players will proactively reduce the pace of the match by retreating to play with the mindset of ‘stalking’ a counterattack with quick transition passes from Bruno Fernandes. With a defense that is not too solid, deploying this strategy makes the Red Devils easily vulnerable.
This season, MU has faced unfortunate comebacks many times, typically losing 3-4 to FC Copenhagen. Erik Ten Hag’s team took a 2-0 lead but let their opponents recover and had to leave empty-handed. In addition, we can mention the two matches against Galatasaray when in those matches they were not able to preserve the score even though they took the lead. This directly caused the Red Devils to leave the Champions League empty-handed when they did not even have a ticket to qualify for the Europa League.
The 4-3 victory over Wolves could not cover up the fact that the red half of Manchester was very poor in controlling the match. They cannot keep pace with the current elements in the squad. This may be an emotional victory, but it is also a ‘double-edged sword’ in Man Utd’s current playing style.
Dang Truong | 13:59 February 2, 2024