Here’s our match report.
“Everyone saw it,” says Neves. They have meetings, and were told that if the contact’s strong enough they’ll given a foul, perhaps unwittingly elucidating why one wasn’t awarded – contact was minimal. “I was the one who touched the ball, it’s a clear foul, nothing more to say,” he summarises.
More generally, he’s never been in a team playing so well but not scoring, and is sure the results will come if they keep it up. If they have 10 games at that level, they’ll win eight of them, and that seems fair enough to me. Better finishing today, and it’s not close.
For what it’s worth, in the studio, Roy Keane, Robbie Keane and Graeme Souness think it’s a foul – Souness threateningly so – but here’s Neves.
“Deep red Manchester United fan as I am,” confesses Matthew Richman. “Pogba definitely made contact on Neves. You can see his shin pad shift all the way over from the hit. United have got away with one here.”
Contact with the shin pad doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a foul – I thought Pogba’s studs got the top of the ball first – which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a foul. Once the ref has allowed the goal, though, I don’t think it’s a clear and obvious error, though watching it again while not trying to type and all the rest of it, it’s more of a foul than i thought at the time.
David de Gea, whose double save was so important, tells Sky that it’s a big win for United though they didn’t play well. Paul Pogba, who’s with him, says they had a chance but Bruno was offside and De Gea was “incredible as always”. De Gea says he tried to get hid body in the way of Saiss – “natural for him says Pogba” and you can’t really do a better job of explaining what happened because you either have those reactions of you don’t.
On the goal, Pogba says it’s the Premier League and it was a 50/50 challenge, and asked about Ronaldo, De Gea says “Who?” They’re both looking forward to playing with him.
“Watch the video,” says Jeff. “You can clearly see the contact of Pogba’s studs on Neves’s shinguards during his over-the-ball, potentially leg-breaking tackle that immediately preceded the goal. It’s astonishing you didn’t even mention this or the Wolves’ players understandable fury over this missed call in your commentary, instead dismissing it as ‘bitching’, which hardly seems objective.”
Every tackle is a potential leg-breaker. Pogba barely touched Neves, if at all, got the ball – though that doesn’t always mean it’s not a foul – and the three officials, the video ref, and Jamie Carragher in commentary all thought it wasn’t a foul never mind a sending off, so I don’t feel that my agreeing with them is a problem. Neves didn’t react until he knew the ball was gone either, and he did bitch at the ref thereafter.
I really enjoyed Wolves’ performance today, and once Jimenez is back up to speed, they’ll be a very good side indeed. The league really needs them, and others like them, to get their mojo back so that we don’t end up with the richer clubs winning every week so that the champions and the two or three teams behind them getting upwards of 90 points
United go third in the table with seven points from two games, while Wolves are second-bottom. As the teams go off, Neves wants a chat with Mike Dean, presumably wondering where he finds his intense cool. But he might also want to know why Pogba wasn’t penalised when winning the ball before the goal, and looking again, it seems to me that he won possession just about fairly, his leg extending and not making contact with the man. Maybe, had Dean given the foul, VAR wouldn’t have overruled him, but if we’re trying not to penalise attackers, then I don’t think there’s loads about which to complain.
Full-time: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Manchester United
United snaffle the points with an act of grand larceny, recording their 28th away game without defeat – a Premier League record. Wolves played really well again, but arte still pointless and goalless after three games.
90+6 min United are threatening a second now, Martial and Fernandes combining inside the box, but Wolves clear and Varane wins a towering header then, when the ball is belted towards the box, Maguire gets up first. Eventually, it makes its way to the edge where Gibbs-White waits, but he can only shoot wide.
90+5 min Martial wins a header down the left, then Saiss slides the ball into touch and United find Cavani, who concedes a throw.
90+4 min Ah, Pogba was then late on Podence, which earned him his caution. Wolves send the free-kick down the line, but when the cross comes in the flag goes up, because Silva went too soon.
90+3 min Dalot is late on Saiss and is booked, then Pogba goes down with purported cramp and is also booked, though presumably not for that.
90+2 min Gibbs-White is booked for a late tackle on Martial.
90+1 min Podence stands up a cross but Varane, who’s been quietly authoritative, flexes his neck to clear. In particular, United have looked really secure at set pieces, a significant weakness last season, and though they’ve got a coach in specifically to address that, I’m sure he’s also a big part of that.
90 min United have disappeared the final few minutes pretty competently, but Wolves have five minutes of added time to save themselves.
88 min Wolves have been a joy to watch today, as I believe they were in defeat to Spurs last Sunday. As United have improved in the final quarter, they’ve wilted just a little, but they’ll give a hard time to every team in the country playing like this.
87 min Gibbs-White and Silva replace Coady, who passes the armband to Moutinho, and the glorious Traore.
86 min “Great game for the neutrals like me,” says Rick Harris. “Chances at both ends and I can see how Lage has already made Wolves as entertaining as they were in their first season back in the PL. Van de Beek has had plenty of chances it seems to me, but hasn’t done anything with them. That might sound harsh, but at a club like United you have to win the right to wear the shirt. He isn’t first choice for his country either.”
Hmmm, agree it’s been a good game but Wolves have created almost all the serious chances. I’m not certain Van de Beek has had chances, but you’ve got to assume he’s not been good enough in training to earn them.
85 min United have been so poor today, justifying what all the critics have said – they lack structure and need a midfielder – but when you’ve got so many brilliant attacking players, you can beat anyone.
84 min Fred is booked for fouling Saiss, who’s booked for mouthing about it and life in general.
83 min Moutinho knees Pogba’s thigh as he makes off with the ball and Wolves need to keep the head here. They’ve played so well today, but their composure at key moments has let them down.
81 min This is like cricket, Wolves essentially asking Mike Dean to review. But Pogba won the ball off Neves, and Neves is booked for bitching about the call.
GOAL! Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Manchester United (Greenwood 80)
Three in three! Greenwood is a superstar! Pogba dives in on Neves, winning the ball and, I think, missing the man. The ball goes to Varane then wide to Greenwood, who shifts it outside Saiss then drives low and hard from wide in the box – we’ve seen that before – seeking the far corner. Sa should cut it out but is surprised by the earliness and power of the shot, only able to deflect it into the net!
79 min Pogba narrowly avoids being caught in possession just outside his own box sending Wan-Bissaka away. He finds Greenwood, whose cross is tickled by Fernandes … and trickles across the face.
77 min “Has the lesser-spotted van de Beek now become completely extinct?” asks Justin Kavanagh.
It’s an odd one isn’t it? It’s hard to believe he’s of as little use as his manager seems to deem him, and if he’s only ever going to be trusted as a number 10, there’s no point him being at United given their options in that area. But they need to find something in midfield, and how much worse can he be than what we’ve seen these last two games?
76 min Sa clears well and De Gea has to come racing out of his box, sticking the ball into touch. He’d gone stale over the last few seasons – understandable I guess, playing in a team not even challenging for the big pots while getting paid loads with no competition for his place – but he looks to have found himself again over the summer.
75 min The corner isn’t cleared properly and Greenwood looks to come around the outside, slipping and knocking to Pogba as a consequence. He shimmies to make space, then wallops a shot that Sa tips over the top; the resultant corner comes to nowt.
73 min Looking again at that double save, you think Saiss should score, but he makes a good connection, banging a side-footer towards the corner. But because De Gea is already on the ground, he’s low enough to stop it and anticipated where it was going but here come United, Greenwood dashing down down the left and away from Coady, sliding a cross towards Cavani. But Kilman comes over to intercept and the ball goes behind off Saiss.
72 min Sancho, who’s had a stinker, is replaced by Martial.
72 min “If anyone is looking for role models for their kids go to your local hospital’s ICU ward,” emails Mary Waltz. “As far as diving Premier League footballers, every team does it on a constant basis and if you have a favourite team you root for a diver.”
71 min Traore is playing down the right now, what a treat that is for Luke Shaw, and he slides a ball back to Neves who punches a shot from the edge that’s straight at De Gea.