Joao Moutinho Netted The Winner As Wolverhampton Wanderers Enjoyed A Magical Night At Old Trafford On Monday

Wolves secured their first win over United at Old Trafford since 1980 and their first in Premier League history.

Moutinho’s 82nd-minute goal capped a fine display by Bruno Lage’s side, who dominated most of the game and created far more chances than their opponents.

The win moved Wolves up to eighth in the Premier League, three points shy of seventh-placed United and just seven behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Wolves, who boast the second best defensive record in the league, have now kept six clean sheets in their last eight games.

Wolves had 15 shots at goal in the first half. That’s the most any visiting team at Old Trafford has had in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game since the 2003/04 season (thanks to Opta).

The performance was typical of early-season Wolves in many ways. Back in August, Lage watched his team dominate United before losing 1-0 in controversial circumstances. They outplayed United then, and they outplayed United here.

David De Gea was forced into action on four occasions and there were multiple last-ditch defensive blocks, as well as one gilt-edged Raul Jimenez miss. Meanwhile, Jose Sa was untroubled at the other end.

The only save of note Sa had to make all evening was a spectacular one in stoppage time to deny Bruno Fernandes from a free-kick.

Wolves completely controlled proceedings in a near-perfect performance. This is exactly what Lage wants.

“Sometimes we can create a lot of chances, sometimes we can create less chances,” Lage explained. “The most important thing is when you look at the goals we’ve conceded, 14, and the goals we’ve scored, 14, we are not a team who puts the bus in front of our box, we are a team that likes to play.

“It’s very important that people don’t confuse that. We are a team that likes to play when we have the ball. But when we don’t have the ball we need to protect our goal. We are a team when we have the ball and we are a team when we are defending.”

United’s captain for the night, Cristiano Ronaldo, was supposed to grab the headlines. A huge roar greeted his name when it was announced prior to kick-off, but this is no longer five-time Ballon d’Or winning Ronaldo.

Wolves’ defensive trio of Max Kilman, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss handled the 36-year-old with ease and he failed to legitimately test Sa all evening.

Ronaldo is an icon to all of Wolves’ Portuguese stars, but they completely upstaged United’s number seven at Old Trafford on Monday.

Nelson Semedo produced one of his best performances in a Wolves shirt, while Daniel Podence – who has still only been capped once by Portugal – was absolutely electric in attack.

The two stars of the show were Ruben Neves and Moutinho, with the latter stealing the headlines from his long-time international colleague with the winning goal.

Ronaldo’s statistics are unmatched by his compatriots, but he’s no longer the irresistible force that he once was.

It’s now common knowledge that Wolves aren’t in a position to invest heavily in the playing squad this month, which has understandably frustrated supporters.

As the club’s chairman and Fosun’s frontman, Shi will inevitably receive some stick from fans who have been annoyed by the lack of investment in recent transfer windows.

In the summer just gone, Lage wasn’t backed sufficiently and Wolves missed out on several key targets.

While Shi isn’t particularly popular right now, Lage is the toast of Wolverhampton after leading the team to a first Premier League win at Old Trafford.

It was rather interesting that Lage used his post-match press conference to throw his support behind Shi and the club’s hierarchy, despite not being asked to comment on transfers.

Maybe he was prompted by those above him, who knows, but while Lage is getting results with the players he’s got, frustrations will only simmer about the ones he hasn’t got.

Part of the anger directed towards Shi centres around the £35million signing of rookie striker Fabio Silva.

While the former Porto player is undoubtedly talented, questions must be asked as to why Wolves forked out a club-record fee on an unproven teenager when they have since pulled out of far more sensible transfers.

Silva has barely played under Lage, but he made a vital contribution in his latest cameo appearance off the bench after a string of forgetful ones.

In a 10-minute outing against United Silva played his part in Moutinho’s goal with an excellent piece of hold up play, and used the ball intelligently to help Wolves see the game out.

That performance needs to be the benchmark for Silva, who is likely to start next weekend’s FA Cup tie with Sheffield United.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.