Man Utd hold Wolves to force replay

Adam Bate

Comment and Analysis @ghostgoal

Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Raul Jimenez hit the woodwork

Last Updated: 04/01/20 8:38pm

Adama Traore takes on Nemanja Matic in the goalless draw at Molineux
Adama Traore takes on Nemanja Matic in the goalless draw at Molineux

Manchester United and Wolves will require a replay after playing out a goalless draw in the FA Cup third-round tie at Molineux.

Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Raul Jimenez both came off the bench to hit the woodwork for their respective sides but neither team did enough to progress on the night.

Wolves had the better of the game early on with Romain Saiss heading just wide from a corner before Matt Doherty forced a good save from Sergio Romero.

But that was the only shot on target from either team before the interval as Wolves struggled to build attacks, while United’s domination of possession was too sterile.

Player ratings

Wolves: Ruddy (6), Dendoncker (5), Coady (7), Kilman (5), Doherty (7), Saiss (6), Neves (6), Vinagre (5), Traore (7), Ashley-Seal (5), Neto (6).

Subs: Jimenez (7), Moutinho (6), Jonny (6)

Man Utd: Romero (7), Young (6), Lindelof (6), Maguire (6), Williams (6), Pereira (6), Matic (5), Chong (6), Mata (6), James (6), Greenwood (7).

Subs: Fred (6), Rashford (6), Dalot (5)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was without Anthony Martial and named Rashford among the substitutes so while Mason Greenwood impressed, there was a lack of cutting edge.

The introduction of Jimenez for young forward Benny Ashley-Seal at half-time looked to change that for Wolves and they showed much more purpose in the second half.

Matt Doherty was denied a goal as Manchester United held Wolves
Matt Doherty was denied a goal as Manchester United held Wolves

The lively Adama Traore fed Pedro Neto on the edge of the box and his low shot demanded another good save by Romero in the Manchester United goal.

Greenwood sparked a counter-attack soon after and when Tahith Chong was fouled, Juan Mata completely deceived John Ruddy with the free-kick only to see it go just wide.

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It was Solskjaer’s turn to seek a breakthrough from the bench and it almost paid off instantly when Rashford’s shot was deflected onto the crossbar within seconds of his arrival.

It was Wolves who were pushing hardest for the winner though and they thought they had found it when Doherty headed home only for it to be ruled out as the ball had glanced his arm first.

Wolves made five changes to the team that were beaten at Watford on New Year’s Day with John Ruddy coming in as well as Ruben Neves, Ruben Vinagre and Max Kilman. The surprise inclusion was 21-year-old striker Benny Ashley-Seal who was handed his first senior start.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also freshened things up following Manchester United’s defeat to Arsenal. Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Brandon Williams, Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood all came into the team as seven changes were made.

Jimenez then struck the frame of the goal from a narrow angle following a driving run as the atmosphere really cranked up in front of a packed house of 31,381 fans.

But the decisive goal did not come and the teams must do it all over again in Manchester.

What the managers said about the replay…

Nuno Espirito Santo: “I would like to go to penalties. Straight to penalties. I am not saying I don’t want the replay. We will go to Old Trafford and compete. But if you are asking me my preference then I would go straight to penalties. The FA Cup would become more emotional for sure because both teams would go for it.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “Why not? We do have enough games over the course of season and we will probably play Wolverhampton in the Europa League soon, you never know. But that’s what we are in it for. We want to play games and I would rather have a replay than be out. We had nine [games] in 29 or 30 in December so we might as well carry on. That’s just the schedule that we are in and we have got to accept it.”

Opta stats

  • Manchester United failed to have a single shot on target in this match, the second time they have done so in all competitions this season (also against AZ in the Europa League).
  • Manchester United failed to direct a single shot on target in a domestic league or cup game for the first time since January 2015.
  • Wolves are unbeaten in their last five matches against Manchester United in all competitions, their longest such streak against them since a run of six between 1959-1962.
  • Manchester United have been taken to an FA Cup third round replay for the first time since 2013, when they eliminated West Ham at Old Trafford.

What’s next?

Wolves have a rare free midweek coming up. They are back in action next Saturday when they host a Newcastle United, a team that have lost their last three Premier League games.

Manchester United face local rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday evening. That game is live on Sky Sports Football. Back in the Premier League, United take on Norwich City at Old Trafford next Saturday.

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Source : Sky Sports