Premier League • Day 16
  • 2nd Half
  • Manchester United
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • FernandesMcTominay
    90'
  • Rashford
    90'
  • Patrício
    73'
  • NetoSilva
    68'
  • GreenwoodMartial
    64'
  • FerreiraPodence
    55'
  • Rashford
    50'
  • 1/2 Time
  • Manchester United
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • TellesShaw
    45'
avant-match

Manchester United - Wolverhampton Wanderers

Follow the Premier League live Football match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers with Eurosport. The match starts at 20:00 on 29 December 2020.
Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær or Nuno? Find out by following our live matchcast.

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Tickets: Barclays Premier League official site

    
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Highlights 
 
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21:56 

Anyhow, thanks for your company - night night.

21:55 

That's a gigantic win for United, who go second, two points behind Liverpool. Do we have ourselves a title race?

21:55

Full-time: Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

90+4' 

United have pushed the pace a bit these last 10 minutes, but they've done very well to nab this, because they've not done enough on the balance of things.

90+3'

90+3’ - GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Rashford) The Dr has won it! Fernandes drills a fine pass over the top, that forces him wide. But he comes inside, checks to commit his man and buys a yard, then whacks towards the far post - it's a decent effort too - but Saiss sticks out a leg and deflects it inside the far!

90+3' 

Clive Tyldesley just thanked the NHS workers. Be nice if his employers paid their share to keep things going.

90+2' 

This is one of those games that really needed a crowd. United again take ages to move the ball, then Pogba finds Martial and he zones into the box, beating Neves who just manages to get out of the way before he concedes a penalty.

90' 

There'll be five added minutes.

89' 

Alan Shearer gives man of the match to Roman Saiss. He'll be delighted to learn that I agree with him.

87' 

It's all a big nothing.

85'

Shaw moves the ball hard and low into Fernandes and it sits up nicely, so he absolutely leathers it ... directly into Coady. There's a shout for a penalty, but his arms were doing nothing untoward.

83' 

De Gea is down and looking in pain; turns out he encountered Traore on the move. He'll be fine.

81'

Excellent from Ait-Nouri, who screams in from the touchline and shoots low and hard, forcing De Gea to save; he'll be delighted that the ball dropped to Maguire, because Wolves had plenty of men in the box.

79' 

Maguire sticks Rashford in over the top and his first touch is lovely, but Saiss gets back well to block before the flag goes up anyway.

77'

Better from United, Pogba - who's playing much further forward now - snaps a square pass into Martial, just outside the box. it runs across him nicely, but he can only smack over the bar.

77' 

A point isn't a terrible result for United, but they need to make a statement and they'll only get so many chances.

76' 

Just a moment before that, United won a throw and one of the Wolves' subs nudged the ball further away; they;ll be happy with a point, right enough.

75'

Fernandes drifts left and clips a pass towards Pogba, on the edge of the box. He wants to knock it off, but not seeing any options, when it sits up nicely he drives hard at goal, but Rui Patricio saves down by his near post.

73'

Rui Patricio is booked for timewasting.

73' 

The game is opening up a little.

72' 

Wolves win a corner down the right and when United cleat it, Podence sticks it straight back, and De Gea has to tip Saiss' header over the top - though the flag then goes up.

70' 

Earlier in the season, that's a penalty, but now the law is more sensible, we're in a much better place.

69' 

United win a corner down the right, Bailly wins the first header, the ball hits Coady's arm, and Cavani sticks it past Patricio. Immediately, the flag goes up for offside, and VAR has a look at the penalty. I don't think it'll be given because Coady's arm was by his side and not moving towards the ball ... and that's indeed the verdict.

69' 

Matic and Pogba have played so deep tonight - if they step up, United will immediately have more in attack.

68'

Wolves send on Fabio Silva for Neto.

67' 

United have been clueless tonight.

65'

United send Martial on for Greenwood. I'm not sure a line-for-line resolves this - they need something different in midfield, not just a different attacker.

64'

Podence goes down holding his calf after being robbed by Bailly; United keep going and eventually work an opportunity for Bruno to cross, but though Rashford gets up above Coady, he gets under the ball and directs a header over the bar.

63' 

Wolves really fancy this now and Traore sends Hoever to the line, where he digs out a cross, but Bailly is a lot bigger than Podence and hammers a header clear.

61' 

Traore nips between Bruno and Shaw, standing across up to the back post, where Big Joao Moutinho can't leap high enough.

61' 

Podence runs by Ait-Nouri to collect his pass, but Matic reads the cut-back and intercepts nicely.

60' 

Nice from Fernandes, finding Greenwood just before he's fouled, but Wolves get three men in front of the ball and Kilman emerges with it.

57' 

Bit better from United, Pogba flighting a ball over the Wolves defence for Rashford, but it's slightly overhit and Rui Patricio collects easily enough.

57' 

Greenwood releases Wan-Bissaka, but Ait-Nouri blocks his cross then unloads him when he tries to run by along the line.

55' 

United need Solskjaer to act now, because they've not managed any sustained pressure and there's no reason to think that'll change.

54'

Ey up, Wolves are going for this. Podence comes on for Vitinha, and he'll present United with a whole new set of problems.

54' 

This is miserable from both teams. So many good players, so little good play.

53' 

United work it wide to Wan-Bissaka, who lumps in to no one.

51' 

Pogba sweeps a ball over the top to no one. Of course he does.

50'

Rashford gets Hoever one v one but Hoever does really well to block him off and skip away; Rashford can't help but leg it back to trip him, and is booked.

49' 

It's still pretty slow - Pogba is caught in possession, and I wouldn't be shocked to see him taken off next.

47' 

I've a feeling Solskjaer won't give the other strikers much more time. I'd expect Martial or Van de Beek pretty soon, in a straight swap, then whichever one of them isn't used for Matic.

46'

Shaw replaces Telles - I'm not sure if he's injured, but Solskjaer might want Shaw's speed and relationship with Rashford.

46'

Off we go again.

20:47 

Yeah, games between these two are still dreadful.

20:47

Half-time: Manchester United 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

45' 

There'll be one added minute.

44' 

Now Neto drives at the United box, cutting in from the right, and this looks like a chance, but Maguire does brilliantly to hold him up for long enough so that Bailly can arrive on the scene and get between man and ball.

45' 

Neto streaks clear with the ball and Wolves have two on two, but Bailly does really well to get close enough to Traore to intercept the pass when it comes.

44' 

A long pass from Bruno sets Rashford away, but he has to check and return the favour; Bruno treis a cross, but it's too pacy for his mates.

44' 

This is very slow and boring. I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell youse.

41' 

Ait-Nouri and Rashford challenge for a high ball and the former comes off worse, taking some help from the physio after landing on his shoulder.

39'

Neto swerves in low and hard and Saiss gets across Rashford on his way towards the near post, flicking hard; De Gea does really well to parry away.

38' 

Rahford drives across his man just inside the box, pokes through Neves's legs, and anticipating a challenge from Moutinho, doesn't shoot, instead going down, and Wolves counter; Maguire can't help but stand in Neto's way, and Wolves have a free-kick just outside the box down its right-hand side.

36' 

In co-comms, Alan Shearer notes that the United bench are exhorting their players to move the ball quicker. They've actually been a bit better in that aspect these last few minutes, but have wasted the first 30 minutes of the game.

34'

A chance! Greenwood teases Kilman, then tosses a luscious cross to the back post where Fernandes arrives. The ball is slightly behind though, so he has to bring a flick from around his arse, on the volley while leaping, and the consequent lack of power allows Rui Patirico to block. Good play all round.

32' 

United could use Van de Beek's touches around box and third-man runs here. I'm sure we'll see him if it's still goalless after 50 minutes or so.

30' 

Telles and Rashford tap about down the left before Telles crosses again, and this time it's easy for Rui Patricio. United need to have Greenwood attacking the ball when it's coming over from the opposite flank.

29' 

United get Wan-Bissaka away down the right, but he naturally crosses into the nearest defender.

28' 

Neves curves a really good ball to the back post but neither striker gambles, so it's left to Ait-Nouri to pick up the piece and he can't find anything constructive to do with them.

26' 

But this is better, Rashford dashing to the line, checking, and only just failing to pick out Greenwood, then Matic swings over a cross that Cavani gets a head on, but insufficiently solidly.

26' 

United probably think they're being patient and maybe they are, but their movement needs to be sharper. They're not making it hard for Wolves, who are doing really well in shutting them down.

25' 

More slow possession from United.

23'

Neto wins a free-kick 30 yards out and Moutinho flights a ball into the box; Saiss is up highest and loops header than actually clips the top of the bar, but De Gea had it covered.

22' 

I wonder if United are missing Martial's ability to hold the ball up and beat men.

20' 

United knock it about, and as soon as they take a risk, a flick from Bruno, they're crowded out and Traore breaks. He tears into the United half, but then offloads to Neto when he might keep going, and the attack breaks down.

18' 

Another Telles cross is only cleared as far as Bruno, whose first-time shot is blocked.

17' 

Fernandes turns up on the left and darts a ball in behind for Cavani, but he can't quite keep it from going over the by-line.

16' 

Wolves are knocking it about nicely, taking time and heat out of the game.

15' 

But this is a bit better from them, Rashford injecting some pace and Bruno keeping it going, tip-toeing into the box and finding Cavani, who could turn and shoot. But not quite sure where the defender is, he anticipates more pressure than arrives, trying a flick that eludes Greenwood when he really didn't need to.

14' 

This is a good start from Wolves. United have been too slow and deliberate so far.

13'

De Gea comes out of his goal to face Traore down the left and Bailly doesn't deal, so Traore lays back to Neves who thunders a shot that the keeper, now back on his line, punches clear.

12' 

Ah, there's Pogba, humping a long diag out of play. Lovely stuff.

11'

Vitinha barges Pogba off the ball and fancies his chances so tries a shot from distance; De Gea doesn't handle it cleanly, but with no one following in he's fine to scramble and collect at the second attempt.

11' 

I'm not sure Pogba has even had a touch yet.

9'

Rashford sticks a ball in behind for Greenwood, backing him up to collect a return. Without many options, he wipes his foot across a shot that scoots a couple of yards wide of the far post.

8'

Traore screams around two tackles, Maguire selling himself as though doing so deliberately, before finding Neto; from 20 yards, he tries a shot, but it's straight at De Gea.

7' 

Rashford weaves past two challenges and pokes square for Greeenwood, whose first touch is awry. United are dominating possession but have yet to create any kind of chance.

6' 

Vitinha picks up the ball between the lines and looks to slide a pass in behind for Traore, but his radar is off.

4' 

Another fine cross from Telles, that Saiss does well to head away.

3' 

As we discussed earlier, Telles and Cavani looks like a partnership, the former moving down the line to cross first-time for the latter, winning a corner that comes to nowt.

2' 

Wolves have got Vitinha playing as a 10, while Coady, usually in the middle of the back three, is on the right. My guess is that he's there to use his pace against Rashford.

1' 

After a long while starting miserably, United have found momentum from the off in their last few games. They won't want to let Wolves settle into thjeir slow passing game.

1'

Away we go!

20:01 

The players take a knee. Black lives matter.

19:58 

if united win tonight, they tuck in two points behind Liverpool in second place; this is a very big game for them.

19:57 

Here come the teams!

19:55 

I said earlier that Wolves will want to block up the middle against United, who don't have proper wingers, but United will be fancying their chances of getting in behind two young wing-backs. They'll try and keep all three of their attackers up the pitch at all times, I'd expect.

19:52 

This is a big game for Eric Bailly, who's running out time to establish himself as a first pick. I'm certain Solskjaer would like his pace next to Harry Maguire, but he can't stay fit and even when available, he's liable to make an error at any moment. But his top level is a pretty good level and he's been good lately; with Victor Lindelof injured, he might get a go at building on that.

19:49 

Looking at Wolves' team again, I wonder if their club Twitter is having us over. I'd not be at all surprised to see Vitinha at the third man in midfield, with Neto and Traore playing through the middle.

19:45 

Nuno has yet to lose a league game to United, but says tonight is a very big challenge. In rotating tonight, he's giving chances to players who are training well and wants his team to focus on their tasks. He wants Traore to being his talent to the team, and reckons he's doing better now than earlier in the season.

19:43 

Pogba tells Amazon that United are on a good run and playing consistently, so they need to just keep it up. He's asked what he's going to do tonight, but he says he's just being asked to give all he's good - and to be fair, he's been doing that lately, winning headers,tackles and second balls.

19:42 

Lee Dixon notes that the problem with Fernandes is how many places he turns up in - you think he's a 10 but then he runs by the strikers to play as a 10, next moment he's on the left and an 11. He forgot to note that he also runs back, and sometimes I think his best position is as an 8, except you don't want him chasing back when he's so dangerous closer to goal.

19:41 

Phil Neville thinks Bruno Fernandes is good. More news as I get it.

19:38 

Solskjaer tells Amazon that he's had trouble with Wolves recently, and isn't looking beyond this game to his side's league position. He says he's very happy with Cavani, making his first league start for United, and praises the brilliance of Fernandes - it's revolutionary stuff, I must say - then notes that Neto and Traore are dangerous. He also says that Neves and Moutinho are good in possession and can slow the game down, so "We need to go after them and get after that ball."

19:37 

Elsewhere, Leeds are 5-0 up at West Brom, Arsenal 1-0 up at Brighton and Burnley 1-0 up against Sheffield United; Southampton and West Ham is 0-0.

19:34 

I was going to wonder how Wolves would deal with Fernandes, but I'm not really sure that's part of the gameplan - unless one of their centre-backs goes man to man and they play a flat back-four. Good luck with that, lads.

19:30 

Plush.

19:26 

Exciting!

19:22 

Wolves, meanwhile, look extremely mobile and threatening in attack. I'm sure United will be pleased that Podence is on the bench, but Neto did well against Spurs the other night and Traore was also good in flashes. Last season, Wolves got a draw in the home version of this fixture, mainly because he turned it on for 10 minutes against Luke Shaw, and he'll be gagging for a go at Alex Telles.

It's no surprise Nuno has gone back to three at the back - United don't have any serious wingers, so aren't as well-placed to pick holes in the system as other teams. But I think he might regret not picking an extra midfielder instead of an attacker, because it's hard to see how his team compete in that area, never mind against a side who had an extra day and a half to recover and who can also make more changes.

19:17 

I'm not surprised by that United team. Out of nowhere, they now have a squad, and with so many games coming up, the aim is to get wins, not settle a particular XI. I wondered if this might be the time to gibe Bruno Fernandes a rest - Wolves are slow in the middle of midfield, so Solskjaer could have played Pogba with Van de Beek - but the game is probably too crucial to rest the man who makes it all work. I also wonder if he likes playing Telles and Cavani together, because their left-wing crosses and near-post runs look a decent marriage, as I do if he saved Cavani and Greenwood, his two best finishers, for this game because he can't afford profligacy in a game that might yield few chances. I might have left Rashford out of this one, because there'll be more space in behind against Villa on Friday, but he's probably playing too well for that.

19:15 

Wolves, meanwhile, revert from 4-2-3-1 for 3-4-3. At the back, that means Kilman replacing Marcal, while Semedo also drops out; Ait-Nouri and Hoever are at wing-back, while up front, Podence and Silva are on the bench, with Vitinha coming in.

19:12 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes six changes from the weekend draw at Leicester, two in each position. He changes both full-backs, bringing in Wan-Bissaka and Telles for Lindelof and Shaw; in midfield, it's Matic and Pogba, not Fred and McTominay; and up front, Greenwood and Cavani replace Martial and James.

19:09 
19:08 
19:05 

Let's take a look at the teams...

19:01 

This is an absolutely monstrous game. Over the last few weeks, United have started to resemble a football team, and because the league and season are as they are - tight, truncated and unpredictable - they have a chance of contending for the title for the first time since 2013. But to put Liverpool under pressure, they absolutely must win tonight.

United have had a lot of trouble with Wolves over the last three seasons, and the games between the sides have mainly been dull, Wolves sitting deep and United without the wit to break them down. But perhaps we meet both sides at a crossroads, because United look confident and cohesive, while Nuno Espirito Santo seems to be moving away from his ultra-cautious approach in favour of picking more attackers and giving them licence to play. I say this with trepidation, but this might just be good.

18:58 

Evening all, and welcome to Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers!