Manchester United opened their Premier League season with a 1-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Monday night. Erik Ten Hag’s team won their first three points of the new campaign thanks to a Raphael Varane header, but the win is one of the only two good things to come out of this match, considering a poor performance from the Red Devils.
Wolves created plenty of problems to United, so these three points will be valuable, but also a good reminder that such wins will not be occurring often and things will need to get better. Here is what we learned from this match.
Man United Wide Open On Opening Night
It was incredible just how wide open Man United were throughout the match. The team overall did not look cohesive at all, as if there were a handful of new players in the lineup that did not have a pre-season together. We all know that was not the fact, therefore the surprise to see a disbalanced side who was overrun in midfield by an aggressive Wolves side. Ten Hag will probably realise that having Casemiro alone in defensive midfield, with Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount in front will leave his team way too exposed as it did last night. There was no strength to face the challenge from Wolves midfielders, there was no pace and the remainder of the attack made it easier on the visitors since almost none of them showed much.
Onana Shines On His Debut
While Mount will want to forget his 68 minutes on his competitive debut for Man United, Andre Onana will have a great memory of this match. The Cameroonian made six saves throughout, which further highlights how vulnerable United were. Onana made a couple of tough saves to keep a clean sheet, although he will be lucky for not conceding a penalty in the 97th minute, when he failed to reach the ball and hit Sasa Kalajdzic in the process.
Garnacho Far From Expected Excitement
Last season, whenever Alejandro Garnacho was on the pitch, it felt he brought excitement and vibrancy among the crowd. He was often making moves that were getting people up from their seats, adding zest and unpredictability in United’s attack. But last night, the Argentine was hugely innefective on the left wing, Whatever he tried to do was easily stopped by the opposition, he lost the ball 12 times and did not even get in situations where he could get past his markers. When Jadon Sancho replaced him after 68 minutes, no one was surprised.
Antony Encapsulates His Year In One Move
While Antony may have shown a bit more than Garnacho against Wolves, one of his moves was a great representation of his first season at Man United – big expectations and early promise, followed by frustration. United were in attack in the right-hand side channel with Antony on the ball, they were approaching the penalty area, when Antony’s lack of ideas led to him giving a ball to Bruno Fernandes behind his back, with the Portuguese just a couple of yards next to him. United lost possession, Wolves pounced on the counter-attack and Antony just trotted back without ever applying any pressure following his mistake. By the time Wolves’ attack passed the halfway line, the Brazilian was nowhere to be seen, while the visitors continued to create a dangerous chance from which they could have scored. That was probably enough for Ten Hag as well, to sub him off and give a chance to Facundo Pellistri.