Man Utd ground out a vital 1-0 victory over Wolves on a day where Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane made their full Premier League debuts.
Adama Traore sparked a surprisingly dominant first half for the home side at Molineux. The speedster proved unplayable at times and gave Fred in particular a torrid time with his piercing runs through the lines.
With the game in the balance, David de Gea produced a truly spectacular double save to deny Romain Saiss from close range. That would prove pivotal moments later when Mason Greenwood fired a low strike between the arm and body of Jose Sa as Man Utd ground out a hotly-contested 1-0 victory.
Jose Sa: Practically a spectator in the first half as Man Utd struggled to contain Wolves going forward. On hand to palm Pogba’s wicked drive over the bar with 15 minutes remaining. Will have expected to do better with Greenwood’s goal with the ball squirming between his body and arm. 5/10
Max Kilman: Physical approach to Man Utd’s forwards helped keep them largely in check before the break. 6/10
Conor Coady: Marshalled the troops well in the central role of the back three. 7/10
Romain Saiss: Forceful in the challenge and given less work to do with the majority of Man Utd’s attacks coming down Shaw and Sancho’s side. Won’t be able to believe how he didn’t score with back-to-back efforts superbly saved by De Gea. 6/10
Nelson Semedo: Brave in attack and caused Sancho to spend more time in his own half than he would’ve liked. 7/10
Ruben Neves: Helped wolves assert their dominance with an all-action display alongside Moutinho in the first half. Man Utd’s ongoing interest in him does not look misplaced given the contrasting performances of Neves and Fred. 7/10
Joao Moutinho: Helped establish Wolves as the dominant side early on. Blazed over from a good position and unusually lacked quality on his set piece deliveries. 6/10
Fernando Marcal: Contributed well to Wolves’ dominance down the left with Traore. Looked assured on the ball and always available, though could’ve been a touch more ambitious going forward in his role as wing-back. 7/10
Francisco Trincao: Great run soon after kick-off and should’ve punished Man Utd but saw his strike blocked on the line. Clever footwork and always a threat when in full flow. Spurned a glorious chance as Wolves countered when his composure seemed to desert him. 7/10
Raul Jimenez: Terrific link-up play showed why he was such a big miss last season. Tame effort when afforded the chance to test De Gea. 7/10
Adama Traore: Blistering pace showcased early on as Man Utd struggled to contain him in full flow. Unplayable when stretching his legs and unmoveable off the ball. Gave Wan-Bissaka and Fred in particular a torrid time. Will be a revelation if he can add end product to his game. 9/10 (Man of the match)
Adama Traoré completed more take-ons (7) than everyone else on the pitch combined in the first half (3).
So fun to watch. 😍 pic.twitter.com/tUL0Wc2usP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 29, 2021
Daniel Podence (On for Trincao, 70): 6/10
Morgan Gibbs-White (On for Conor Coady, 87): N/A
Fabio Silva (On for Traore, 87): N/A
David de Gea: Truly remarkable double save to deny Saiss from a corner in the 68th minute. The second in particular had visions of the Spaniard when he was at his impenetrable best. 8/10
What a save! How has that not gone in?!
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 29, 2021
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Critical goal-line clearance to prevent Trincao form opening the scoring. Shrugged off and left on the turf by Traore in a trademark lung-bursting run, though he will not be the last. 7/10
Raphael Varane: Rarely targeted by Traore but handled the speedster well when tested one-v-one on a single occasion in the first half. Calm and composed in possession and already looks a cut above most centre-halves in the league. You’ll be able to count the mistakes he makes this season on one hand judging by today’s performance. Was beaten in the air by Saiss for his double chance but an otherwise superb outing. Grabbed the assist for Greenwood’s goal. 8/10
Harry Maguire: Could do little to prevent Wolves’ early onslaught as his midfield in front were regularly overrun. Strong when called upon in the air and ultimately helped to steady the ship. 7/10
Luke Shaw: Sharp in the early going and quick into the tackle. Always strived to provide an attacking outlet but had his hands full containing Trincao and the marauding Semedo. 7/10
Paul Pogba: Anonymous going forward in the first half and didn’t do enough defensively in the deeper role to stem Wolves’ pressure. Afforded more chances to shine after the break and picked out Fernandes with a divine lofted through ball. 6/10
Fred: No match for Traore’s piercing runs through the lines in the first half. Mis-controlled a pass into the path of Trincao soon after and could neither outmuscle nor keep pace with the Portuguese winger as he raced away on goal. A torrid afternoon all-round. 3/10
Daniel James: Failed to make an impact in what will likely be a rare start. Did not lack for energy and determination but his contribution can only be described as minimal. Replaced by Cavani soon after the break. 5/10
Bruno Fernandes: Had the ball in the net prior to half-time after being set free by Pogba but was rightfully chalked off for offside. Talked his way into a booking before a superb flick set Greenwood scampering away in an otherwise subdued first half. An increasingly influential figure after the interval, but not his best day. 7/10
NO GOAL ❌
Fernandes finishes well but is offside.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 29, 2021
Jadon Sancho: Almost made an impact at the wrong end when gifting possession to Jimenez who then fed Moutinho. Did not shirk his defensive responsibilities when Wolves were on top. Not the impact many might have expected from the highly-rated Englishman and was duly replaced by Martial with the game still in the balance. 5/10
Mason Greenwood: Starved of supply in the first half until the final moments. Fired narrowly wide after a superb flick from Fernandes gave him a chance to stretch his legs. Shifted out wide after Cavani’s introduction but again showed he is lethal from anywhere when powering the match-deciding goal through Sa with 10 minutes remaining. 8/10
Edinson Cavani (On for James, 52): 6/10
Anthony Martial (On for Sancho, 72): 6/10
Diogo Dalot (On for Greenwood, 90): N/A