Paul Pogba saw a penalty saved as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Wolves on Monday Night Football.
Anthony Martial scored for the second game in a row to put United ahead in the 27th minute, but Ruben Neves levelled with a brilliant curling strike from outside the box shortly after half time. Pogba had the chance to restore United’s lead when he was tripped in the box, but his 67th-minute penalty was well saved by Rui Patricio.
Wolves: Patricio (6), Doherty (5), Boly (6), Coady (6), Bennett (6), Jonny (6), Moutinho (6), Dendoncker (6), Neves (7), Jota (6), Jimenez (7)
Subs: Traore (7), Neto (5), Cutrone (5)
Manchester United: De Gea (6), Wan-Bissaka (7), Lindelof (6), Maguire (6), Shaw (6), McTominay (6), Pogba (5), James (5), Lingard (6), Martial (7), Rashford (6)
Subs: Mata (5), Pereira (5), Greenwood (5)
Man of the match: Ruben Neves
There appeared to be discussions between Pogba and Marcus Rashford over who would take the penalty, before Rashford, who scored from the spot on the opening weekend against Chelsea, gave the ball to Pogba. The draw means United have now failed to win on their last three visits to Molineux.
I think Pogba might be the penalty taker and Rashford took it off him last week. That’s then caused a problem this week. It isn’t right. We don’t come on air tonight and ask each other which pieces of analysis we’re doing – we decide before we come on. They should decide in the dressing room – it’s embarrassing. This is a Manchester United penalty – this isn’t a tombola. This is not under fives football on the playground
How Wolves battled back for draw
Neither side created much in a cagey opening that saw United dominate possession and Wolves defend deep. The first clear sight of goal saw the deadlock broken as the ball was quickly worked from Jesse Lingard and Rashford onto Martial, who fired past Patricio from inside the box.
Wolves offered little in response and United comfortably saw out the rest of the first half. The home side went agonisingly close to equalising in the 55th minute as Raul Jimenez glanced a header against the post and the ball rebounded off David de Gea.
But Wolves did level less than a minute later thanks to a stunning 20-yard strike from Neves that curled into the top corner. There was concern among the home fans that the goal was going to be chalked off by VAR after a check for offside in the build-up, but it was allowed to stand.
The goal looked to have swung the momentum in Wolves’ favour, at least until Conor Coady tripped Pogba in the box and referee Jon Moss pointed to the penalty spot. Rashford had taken United’s penalty in their 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening weekend but on this occasion it was Pogba who stepped up and saw a powerful effort saved by Patricio.
Wolves stuck with the same starting XI that drew at Leicester while summer signing Daniel James made his first start for Manchester United, replacing Andreas Pereira in the team.
Wolves went closest to snatching victory in the final stages as Diogo Jota saw a header saved and then shot over in the closing stages.
Nuno Espirito Santo: “First half was very tough, United were strong and dominated the game. The second half the boys were fantastic. The dynamic, the tempo, the intensity, the pressure, it was very good work.” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “The two of them are the designated penalty shooters. It’s up to them there and then to decide that ‘this is mine’. Sometimes players feel they are confident enough – Paul has scored so many penalties for us, today Patricio made a good save.”
Man of the match – Ruben Neves
The Wolves midfielder scored a superb goal to equalise, curling an effort into the top corner and beyond the reach of David de Gea. The goal is Neves’ 10th from outside the penalty area for Wolves – his other three goals for the club have been penalties.
- Wolves are the first to team to come from behind and avoid defeat in three consecutive Premier League games against Manchester United.
- Wolves are unbeaten in their last four games against Manchester United in all competitions (W2 D2 L0), last tasting defeat in March 2012 (0-5).
- Referee Jonathan Moss booked Daniel James for diving and has now brandished 12 cards for diving in the competition since the start of the 2017/18 campaign; double the amount of any other referee.