Wolves 0-1 Man Utd: Player ratings as super-sub Rashford decides the game

Finley Crebolder
Rashford showed his worth
Rashford showed his worth / Naomi Baker/GettyImages
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Marcus Rashford came off the bench to give Manchester United all three points in what was a tight affair with Wolves.

The forward was left out of the starting lineup by Erik ten Hag for disciplinary reasons but came to their rescue to end 2022 on a high.

Man Utd edged the opening 10 minutes of the match, winning a few corners and almost scoring from them with Casemiro having a goal-bound header deflected over the bar.

All the talk heading into the game was about how Rashford had been dropped, and replacement Alejandro Garnacho had a huge chance to make his mark 16 minutes in after being played in by a poor back pass from Nelson Semedo, but Josa Sa saved his effort.

Wolves had two chances of their own after that with Aaron Wan-Bissaka blocking a shot inside the box from Joao Moutinho before Diego Costa fired straight at David de Gea.

The game then briefly began to open up with Anthony Martial and Ruben Neves ending up with the ball in their opponent's respective boxes but seeing their efforts blocked by defenders.

37 minutes in, Antony had the opportunity to break the deadlock but headed a cross from Tyrell Malacia straight at Sa from the middle of the penalty area.

The winger then had an even bigger one just before the end of the first half with a misplaced effort from Martial falling to him perfectly, but the Brazilian couldn't get enough power on a stooped header to get it past Sa, meaning the sides went into the break level.

Adama Traore replaced Costa for the second half and got involved immediately, going on two good runs and sending in two dangerous crosses that his team-mates weren't able to get on the end of.

Man Utd had made a change too, bringing Rashford on for Garnacho, and some good play from the England international at the other end saw the ball fall to Antony in the Wolves box but Sa was once again on hand to keep the Brazilian out.

His opposite number then produced some heroics of his own with De Gea diving across his goal to keep out a free-kick from Ruben Neves.

The flow of the game was disrupted by injuries and substitutions after that but Rashford injected life back into it after 76 minutes when he opened the scoring from inside the box after playing a quick one-two with Fernandes and using his strength to hold off Wolves defenders before firing in.

He briefly thought he'd got bagged his second goal eight minutes later but had it ruled out by VAR as he handled the ball in the process.

That left Wolves with some hope heading into the closing stages of the game and they so nearly drew level when substitute Raul Jimenez got on the end of a corner, but an excellent save from De Gea kept the visitors ahead.

That was ultimately the final chance of a game that Man Utd just about deserved to win, but Julen Lopetegui will be encouraged by his team's performance.


Wolves player ratings (4-3-3)

Jose Sa
Sa did his best / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

GK: Jose Sa - 8/10 - Made some top saves to keep his team in the game and couldn't do much about the goal.

RB: Nelson Semedo - 6/10 - Made a huge error that so nearly cost his team a goal but was decent after that, making a positive impact at both ends.

CB: Nathan Collins - 7/10 - Made some crucial blocks and did well on the ball as well.

CB: Max Kilman - 6/10 - Helped keep Martial silent.

LB: Hugo Bueno - 5/10 - Made a few good overlapping runs but lost Antony a number of times at the other end.

CM: Matheus Nunes - 6/10 - Held his own in the midfield for most of the match.

CM: Ruben Neves - 7/10 - As is often the case, looked his team's best player and nearly scored with an excellent free kick.

CM: Joao Moutinho - 5/10 - Had some touches of class but wasn't able to make a massive impact on the match in the middle of the park.

RW: Hwang Hee-chan - 5/10 - Struggled to make his mark both out wide and playing through the middle.

ST: Diego Costa - 5/10 - Caused the Man Utd backline a few problems in the half he played with his physicality but missed a decent chance.

LW: Daniel Podence - 4/10 - Got the ball in good positions a few times but wasn't able to do much with it.


Substitutes

Adama Traore (45' for Costa) - 6/10 - Caused Man Utd problems straight after coming on but faded after that.

Jonny (65' for Semedo) - N/A

Rayan Ait Nouri (73' for Moutinho) - N/A

Toti Gomes (73' for Bueno) - N/A

Raul Jimenez (81' for Podence) -


Manager

Julen Lopetegui - 6/10 - Generally set up his side well but the decision to play without a striker for much of the game was questionable.


Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)

GK: David de Gea - 7/10 - Played a big part in his team's victory, making two excellent saves.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 6/10 - Was solid at the back and had a few good moments at the other end, but his final ball could have been better.

CB: Raphael Varane - 7/10 - Led his backline well, not doing much wrong.

CB: Luke Shaw - 7/10 - Centre-back isn't Shaw's natural position but you wouldn't be able to tell by his performances alone with the Englishman looking comfortable there.

LB: Tyrell Malacia - 7/10 - Played a part in the only goal of the match and was excellent defensively.

CM: Casemiro - 6/10 - Protected his backline well for the most part but wasn't great in possession.

CM: Christian Eriksen - 5/10 - Made a few really good passes but wasn't able to dictate things as much as he would have hoped or create many chances before being subbed off after an hour.

RW: Antony - 4/10 - Had a number of huge chances to open the scoring but failed to take them.

AM: Bruno Fernandes - 7/10 - Created a number of chances including his side's opening goal with some lovely passes.

LW: Alejandro Garnacho - 4/10 - Missed a big chance and couldn't do too much else in the 45 minutes that he played.

ST: Anthony Martial - 3/10 - Wasn't able to cause Wolves any problems, having just one shot and not creating any big chances for his team-mates.


Substitutes

Marcus Rashford (45' for Garnacho) - 8/10 - Made up for whatever he did to upset his manager prior to the game, coming off the bench to create chances, score the winner and so nearly a second.

Fred (61' for Eriksen) - 6/10 - Added some much-needed steel to the United midfield.

Donny van de Beek (81' for Martial) - N/A

Harry Maguire (90' for Fernandes) - N/A

Anthony Elanga (90' for Antony) - N/A


Manager

Erik ten Hag - 8/10 - Made substitutions that won his team the match, all while showing Rashford who was boss by benching him.


Player of the match - Marcus Rashford (Man Utd)

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