The only thing you absolutely need to know from last night’s game is that Manchester United manages zero shots on target from a possible 12. A dire stat to take away from a mediocre game of football. Despite patches of link-up and individual brilliance from Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams and Tahith Chong towards the end of the first half, United were on the back foot for most of the game. Indeed, if Doherty hadn’t fluffed his clear header and Raul Jimenez had struck the ball an inch to the left then United would be put out of their misery. Wolves will have to travel to Old Trafford for the replay, something they won’t relish despite being the better team. Which team of Ole’s will show up? The confident, almost cocky attacking wave?; the unsure youthful squad that look like conceding at any minute?; or the team that showed up last night, full of indecision and a lack of quality in the final third?
I am a staunch supporter of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He should be afforded the time allotted to the previous two managers. He comes in for unfair criticisms from pundits and tweeters alike (Robiv Van Persie). He is giving youth a chance and selecting a team each week that are United through and through. There are mistakes being made by players and an indecision in attack that can be frustrating for us fans but there are chinks of light in the darkness.
Here are some talking points from the goalless draw.
Romero up for the game
A pinpoint save to stop an almost certain goal has solidified Romero’s position as the best back-up goalkeeper in the world. This begs the question: Would De Gea have saved that shot? And should Romero get a chance at the first spot?
Williams should start
Watching Williams tear down the wing in search of a ball that should have but never came was frustrating to watch. However, it was indicative of the lack of service United have received from left back in the years since Shaw’s injuries. Shaw offers more of a defensive quality and Williams needs to stop sliding in the box. However, if Romero and Williams start against Man City in the league cup on Tuesday it will show progress on Ole’s part.
Who’s in the box?
Ashley Young, of all people, was putting searching and stellar crosses into the box last night. Daniel James arrived late for one and nobody was to be seen. Greenwood seemed to be coming out to the right to collect the ball and leaving the box empty. While he and Chong linked up well on the byline he should leave the winger do his job and make life difficult for defenders in the box.
Another clear penalty!
Another game and another clear penalty not awarded. Williams does well to recover and get in front of a clumsy Dedoncker only to be tripped up right in front of the ref. Again, if that was anywhere else on the pitch it is given as a foul. I thought the ref had a good game to be fair but that was a glaring mistake. The less said about the VAR decision as well, the better.
United got away scot free last night. A brilliant save, Doherty bottling a free header amid woeful defending and Jimenez rattling the frame of the goal at an almost impossible angle meant that the Red Devils live to see another day. How was the Irish international afforeded a free header so close to goal at such a crucial stage in the match? The defence is vulnerable in these situations.
Rashford should have scored
There’s no way around it; Rashford should have put that chance away. Ole he former super-sub has shown his knack for picking substitutes that may pay off. Pereira nearly scored against Arsenal the other day and Rashford hit the post with the help of a deflection. He really should have hit it straight away.
I could be extremely picky and mention Greenwood and Dalot being wasteful with the ball and the fact that once again Harry Maguire was muscled off the ball in the middle of the park but a clean sheet and a draw at the Molineux, a stadium where we have not been so lucky in recent times, can’t draw too much criticism. Obviously, Twitter was on fire with calls for Ole’s head and a new manager but once again, the problem is the Glazers and Woodward. The players mightn’t be the best but they are what we have at the moment. All eyes on Tuesday night at the Theatre of Dreams. GGMU.