Greenwood and De Gea win it for United despite Traore running amok
WOLVES 0-1 MAN UNITED
A 36-year-old goalscoring machine would have been watching on approvingly as Mason Greenwood, a player 17 years his junior, claimed all three points for Manchester United.
United fans were in fine spirits at Molineux, this afternoon, as they joyously sang of the impending return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
One United supporter had brought a cardboard cut-out of Ronaldo to the Midlands and it was sent bouncing and skidding across the 'away' section at Wolves ground. At times, with Adama Traore running amok for the hosts, you'd be forgiven for thinking United had fielded a few cardboard cut-outs in their Starting XI.
Traore has been linked with a move to Tottenham and this was his last game in a Wolves jersey before the summer transfer window closes. If the Spain international was looking to generate interest, he certainly did so.
On countless occasions he took the ball at full pelt and went on mazy runs that left the likes of Fred and Paul Pogba in his wake. It was not all pace and foot-work - Traore used his strength to hold off challenges and drive past soft shoulders. The only flaw in his performance is the issue that separates him from that next level - goal involvements [assists or goals].
Wolves were the better team in this Premier League encounter, and only sloppy finishing and a few inspired stops by David De Gea spared United from losing with a couple of goals to spare.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was required for a goal-line clearance, in the first half, but Wolves' best chance of the game fell to Romain Saiss, late in the game. First up, he met an in-swinging corner with a header that De Gea repelled. The rebound fell to Saiss but United's No.1 dived to his right to save that one at point-blank range.
United made Wolves pay, after that. Pogba won a 50/50 with Ruben Neves and Raphael Varane - making his United debut - fed the ball to Greenwood. The teenager sized up his options before cracking a low drive that Malheiro de Sá could not keep out.
Mason Greenwood has been the best United player on show (again)
Another quality strike pic.twitter.com/E03974cMPc
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 29, 2021
Neves and Wolves caterwauled about the Pogba challenge, but there was little in it and replays backed up referee Mike Dean's decision to play on. Neves later told Sky Sports about the moment:
"After the game [Dean] said, ‘You both go to the ball’ and I said, ‘Yes, we both go to win the ball but I was the one who touched the ball’. It’s a foul, a clear foul."
On the pitch, after the final whistle sounded, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulated his players, but he saved his biggest reaction for De Gea.
Ole and De gea sharing a massive hug 😍 pic.twitter.com/79PSuUFoO9
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 29, 2021
Ahead of the game, United legend Roy Keane had questioned Solskjaer's side as genuine title contenders due to "problems" in midfield and in goal.
While United still need a better disruptor and distributor than the hapless Fred, perhaps the David De Gea of old is returning to his form of old. If that proves to be the case, this side could yet sustain a decent tilt at Manchester City's title.
Our Man of the Match: Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)