Wolverhampton Wanderers eliminated Manchester United from the FA Cup thus inflicting second consecutive defeat for Solskjaer.
In the end, Wolverhampton Wanderers were the deserving victors. They had convincingly beaten Manchester United, dumping them out of the FA Cup. Promoted to the Premier League this season, Wolves have been a nightmare to those in the top six in the league. At Molineux, they delivered an outstanding performance and were dominant against the Red Devils. This was a reality check for Solskjaer, United and their fans who were over the moon after pulling off the improbable at Le Parc des Princes.
Two goals in six minutes ensured Wolves’ place in the semi-finals where they will face Watford at Wembley. Marcus Rashford, United’s golden boy, returned one in the fourth minute of the stoppage time but it couldn’t stop the dominant Black Country side from winning the game.
Arsenal had defeated Manchester United at the Emirates in the previous fixture. This was, in all aspects, a double for Manchester United.
United dominated possession, Wolves produced more chances
Manchester United had dominated 61.6% of the possession. However, the home side managed to produce more chances on the night. Wolves attempted 17 shots with seven of those on target. Meanwhile United could only produce 11 shots with a meagre two on goal. Despite having the lion’s share of possession, the Red Devils clearly failed to convert their possession to goalscoring opportunities.
Aerially, Wolves outplayed United. Deployed in a 3-5-2 formation against United’s 4-3-1-2, Wolves won 68% of the aerial duels. The home side made 23 successful tackles compared to United’s 13. From these stats, it’s clear that United failed to make use of their dominance on the ball.
Wolverhampton’s attacks were mainly down the flanks. As the above image shows, 75% of their attacking movements were on the flanks. A reason for this was United’s formation. They played centrally and vacated space on the flanks. The below image shows that.
Had the attacker been a little more clinical, Wolves would have scored their first goal in the first half.
The Portuguese midfield duo outshines Manchester United
Although United dominated possession, it was Wolves’ midfielders who shone throughout the night. The Portuguese duo of Neves and Moutinho was more influential and effective than the United midfielders. While Manchester United made seven key passes against Wolves, Moutinho alone delivered the same number of key passes. The Portuguese midfielder also played nine crosses against Manchester United.
His compatriot Neves also had an excellent game against United. Neves had four shots and one on goal and played two key passes. When we compare his position against Moutinho’s, he sat deeper to support the defence. The youngster made four tackles, intercepted and cleared the ball twice.
Meanwhile, Paul Pogba disappointed everyone with his performance. The French midfielder delivered only one key pass. Matić, who played in central midfield, had an awful game in attacking terms. However, he tackled three times, made one clearance and blocked one shot, putting in a decent defensive contribution. Herrera, the other midfielder in their 3-man midfield also struggled to shine at Molineux.
A victory which they completely deserved. Wolves exploited United’s frailties to put them to the sword. Two defeats in their previous two matches, United may start to worry. Their defeat to Arsenal gave the North Londoners clear advantage in the race for top-four. In the Champions League, they face the mammoth task of overcoming high-flying FC Barcelona. United will be hoping Solskjaer find new ways to get back on track after the international break.