That Wolves performance was…

…how Gary O’Neil got Bournemouth to play on the road last season. Early days, I know, but Wolves are lucky to have him at the helm, and will Bournemouth live to regret their shock sacking of him.

Also, it’s refreshing to hear a manager simply say he’ll work with the players he’s got rather than complain all the time about the lack of signings etc. I know he can hardly complain about the situation at Wolves, he knew what he was getting into. But he knows that his job isn’t to simply go shopping with the owner’s chequebook, rather to coach the players he has into being better. The more managers who realise this the more refreshing football will be…


New Wolves manager Gary O’Neil speaks to Sky Sports…

On the Wolves performance…

“Yes, disappointed of course. I look at what the lads gave how they worked and what they gave to the game plan. It was a real good performance, we wanted the points and didn’t get them.”

On the game plan…

“We tried to overload the middle if we could. We tried to get four against three. But it’s not me that created that performance it was the players. Unfortunately we found a way not to put the ball into the back of the net after 23 shots…We deserved to leave with something.”

On the penalty shout…

“ I thought it was a penalty when I saw it live - it looked as though the goalkeeper tried to take his head off. [Having seen] the replay I think the same. It has to be a foul. Not overly surprised we didn’t get it to be honest.”

On his optimism for the rest of the season…

“We shouldn’t be talking too much about [the penalty shout], to come to Old Trafford and play like that after four days together… the group deserves huge credit.”

How he tries to get the team to find the back of the net without buying a new striker…

“Get the players to arrive in good numbers and I am still convinced that is the answer. Keep doing that we will score… hope today is a one-off [in terms of not scoring having created so many chances].”

On the performance of Neto…

“He gave us a lot. Pace on the counter attack. He’s quick has real good ability,. Plenty to work on but tonight is a real good starting point for us.”

On the lack of any signings…

“ A lot has been made of the situation. Everyone is clear on the situation, things can change but I saw a group out there that did well at Old Trafford and that’s my focus to make this group as good as possible.”


Bruno Fernandes speaks to Sky Sports…

On the performance

“It was important to start with a win, wanted the three points. It wasn’t the best game from our side, we know that sometimes you have to find a way.”

On Wolves’ performance…

“They have quality and are a good team. They posed us many problems.”

On the win…

“It was about getting they three points an we did that. We had to adapt to what they were doing and we did that it wasn’t the perfect game but in the end we won.”

On the winning goal…

“We trained that movement, we didn’t train for Rafa [Varane] to be in the box but he was there!”


Here’s a stat

And one that really does underline how impressive Wolves were.

They had 23 shots tonight - and that’s the most a visiting side has had at Old Trafford since 2005…

Gary Neville says: ‘That was the best I’ve ever seen Wolves…’


It was United’s night…


Would you have pointed to the penalty spot for this?

Here’s that Onana challenge in added time.


FULL-TIME: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

The better side lost.

United lacked inspiration and spark and rarely troubled the Wolves defence in the way that the visitors did to them.

But all that counts is what’s in the goals column and United had one to Wolves’ zilch.

Not sure how the visitors didn’t find the back of the net, they were fantastic and what should worry Ten Hag is that United’s midfield were pretty anonymous.


94 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

It’s all Wolves now - United are encamped in or near their own box.

The ball is delivered to the back post and Onana misses the ball before taking out the Wovles sub, Kalajdzic…it goes to VAR…

The check is complete and United breathe a sigh of relief as no penalty is given and I am not sure why. That looked pretty clear and obvious.

Gary O’Neil certainly thinks so as he remonstrates on the touchline and gets a yellow card for his trouble.

Hard not to feel sorry for Wolves…


93 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Yet ANOTHER chance for Wolves as the ball finds Hwang on the left of the box. He works the shot well before Wan-Bissaka gets in a vital block.

There has been much for Wolves fans and Gary O’Neil to be pleased about tonight and they could have easily won this…


90 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

There will be seven minutes of added time - there were just the two in the first half…


88 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

ANOTHER half-decent chance for Wolves (lost count of how many they’ve had…) as the ball breaks for Hwang in the United box, there’s a bit of pinball before Fabio Silva’s shot is blocked by Shaw…


85 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Change for United as Rashford makes way for McTominay. The hosts clearly looking to maintain their 1-0 lead now…


82 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Another good chance for Wolves - how they have not scored will remain a mystery.

Gomez does brilliantly on the right byline before pulling the ball back into the danger zone. It finds Fabio Silva whose first-time shot is well saved by the feet of Onana. The United has had routine saves to make - more than Ten Hag would have wanted - but it’s been a decent debut by the Cameroonian.


80 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Another half a chance for Wolves as Fabio Silva latches onto a loose ball in the United box, forcing Onana into a good (but regulation) save at his near post.

Had Wolves been more clinical and ruthless tonight they’d be leading…


How Varane eased United’s nerves


78 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Rashford has a chance to end the match as he picks up the ball on the left and runs towards the Wolves box. But he holds onto the ball for too long, unable to find the man or work a decent shooting chance (when it looked for all the world as though he would…).


77 mins: Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Hard to argue that was well-deserved but if you’re a Wolves fan part of you would have thought Sod’s Law would have its part to play, punishing the visitors for all their misses…

Meanwhile, there’s a change for United as Antony makes way for Pellistri.



Man Utd 1-0 Wolves (Varane)

The first attack where United have been able to turn the Wolves defence and attack the ball. Antony plays a square ball to Fernandes in the inside-right channel. The Portuguese gets his head and and plays a looping ball to Wan-Bissaka who chips a ball into the centre where Varane can head into the back of the net.


69 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Two attacks - one for each side.

Firstly, United break and you sense they overcomplicate things as Antony tries to lay the ball off for Eriksen (I think) but that allows Wolves to intervene and then create a break of their own… this one sees Cunha drives towards the United box ( not the first time I’ve written that tonight…) before laying off to Hwang, his ball to the centre breaks for Neto whose shot is, alas, straight at Onana.

That was another great chance for Wolves who have deserved a goal tonight.


69 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Again there’s another promising attack from Wolves (can’t remember the last one United had..) Neto is out wide on the right and delivers a cross that ultimately results in a corner.

Can they create something from this set piece? No they cannot…


67 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Change for United - Mount off for Eriksen, and Sancho on for Garnacho. Not the debut Mount would have wanted, but to be fair none of his new team-mates looked any worse. The lot of them have looked lacking in any inspiration and nous tonight.


65 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Wolves are still looking the more dynamic in attack. Ait Nouri runs with the ball down the left - having been cutely playing in by the ever-impressive Neto. The move then sets up a wayward shot from the sub, Hwang.


63 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Free-kick for Wolves in the final third. It’s a good delivery that finds the head of Cunha, but, alas (if you’re a Wolves fan) the header goes the opposite direction to the goal and the hosts can breathe easy.


62 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Change for Wolves - Hwang is on for Semedo, who had a good 62 minutes.


61 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

I said it before and I may well do so again after this post but…there’s no life to this United performance, it’s limp and lacklustre…the longer this match goes on the harder it is to see where a goal for the hosts is going to come from.


59 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Another good move from Wolves and once again Neto is at the heat, a bit of trickery gets him away from Lindeloff on the right before he runs with the ball, laying off to Semedo whose cross is intercepted by Onana.


57 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Corner for Wolves and there’s havoc inside the United box as a bit of pinball ensues…Wolves are well worth a lead here and have been the better side.


55 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Too often Wolves players - Matheus a few moments ago being a good example - have been able to run at the United defence without much fuss from the hosts. It happens again as, this time, Cunha, picks up the ball inside his own half, gets his head down and runs at the United box. The United XI part like the Red Sea and allow him a shot that Onana saves well, low to the left.

United haven’t looked great in either attack or defence tonight…


How did Cunha not score?


52 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Half-decent chance for the hosts as Antony is played in on the right-hand side of the box. Sa has a rush of blood to the head and rushes off his line giving the United winger a look at goal with a lob, the Wolves backline, however, get back to head away the attempt.


49 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Great chance for Wolves…they had to score…

It all started from Matheus deep inside his own half. He drives the the ball all the way to the edge of the United box before laying the ball off to Serabia who whips a low ball to the back post where it finds Cunha. The Brazilian looks for all the world as though he has to score but his shot hits the outside of the post and United are lucky not to be a goal down…


49 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

United have looked lacklustre, lacking any spark. As I type they again lose the ball (lost count of how many times they’ve done that so far today…)…


48 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Reminder that Wolves have only had four days to work with the new manager…


46 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Wolves again create problems for the hosts - Neto is played in in the box in the inside-right channel and forces the on-rushing Onana into a good save.


45 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

They’re back under way at Old Trafford and the hosts have made a change. Martinez has been replaced by Lindelof. Martinez was on a yellow card…no real shock to see that Ten Hag didn’t replace him with Maguire.


That penalty shout

Would have been harsh if that was given…


HALF TIME: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

That’s the last action for the half, one which will not have thrilled Ten Hag. United never really got going, there was not fluidity to their play and Wolves, if truth be told, looked the more dangerous of the two sides.

Much for the hosts to ponder during the break.


46 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Corner for United - Fernandes takes and delivers the ball to the back post where it finds Varane. He’s free but his header goes wide -it looks as though he saw it late.


45 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

They’ve not created much but United fashion a good opportunity as Wan-Bissaka, who is getting forward more and more, plays Antony in down the inside-left channel. He shoots first time and Kilman gets in a great block.


42 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Shaw sees yellow for a late challenge on Serabia that came in a move where, once again, the hosts lose the ball and Wolves attack with pace and purpose, principally through Neto.


40 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

The hosts have looked more positive these past five minutes and work another half-chance after Rashford gets into the box, the ball coming loose and Garnacho letting fly, the shot going well wide. But, as I said, United are looking more dangerous, without not exactly bursting into life…


Here’s that Cunha chance from a few minutes ago


38 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Rahsford get a header in on goal - after good work from Wan-Bissaka down the right - it hits Semedo and the England man is convinced it’s hit the Wolves defender’s arm and appeals for handball. Simon Hooper waves play on and Var decides not to intervene - the replay showing why, the arm was right by Semedo’s side and he could do little to prevent it hitting him.


36 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Shaw and Rashford link well on the left. The left-back gets a cross in (into an area rather than anyone in particular…) and Sa makes a hash of it, palming the ball into the path of Mount but there’s an infringement and Wolves get the free-kick. That’s the most dangerous United have looked.


35 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

No flow to United this evening - nothing to really get excited about.


33 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Another good Wolves chance - they go down the right and Cunha get s shot away in the inside-right channel. Alas his shot is just pulled left of the far post. He should have at least got that on target but nevertheless another promising sign for the side in turmoil and who were supposed to be fodder for tonight’s hosts…


32 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

As if to illustrate how this half has gone for Man Utd, Rashford picks up the ball on the halfway line and drives at Matheus but he is given short shrift and loses the ball…


30 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Cunha is caught by Casemiro, who I forgot was playing, he’s not done much so far.


28 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Gary O’Neil’s Bournemouth last season didn’t just sit back when away and it’s clear that Wolves under him will follow that template too.


25 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Move of the match so far (not got exacly much competition…) as Cunha dispossess Varane and then drives into the United box with purpose and zeal. It’s three on two and he makes the right pass, left to Sarabia, but the Wolves man’s left-foot shot goes just wide.

United haven’t caused the visitors any problems and Wolves have looked, marginally, the better side - not exactly what anyone was expecting.


24 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Fernandes steals the ball from under the nose of Lemina, he drives forward and tries to find Mount in the box. But, as with so many final balls so far this evening, the pass does not find its intended target and another half-promising move doesn’t even result in a shot. Yawn…


21 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Two promising moves (one from both sides) come to nothing. First up Ait Nouri shows a fine pair of twinkle toes going this way and that before laying the ball off to Neto. United then snuff that move out before they go up the other end of the pitch - Rashford finding Garnacho, who is then unable to find Mount who had run beyond into the Wolves box.

This match is lacking any real spark so far.


19 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

United aren’t passing the ball quick enough - it’s all in front of the Wolves players and is oh so easy to defend. Not the first 20 the hosts would have wanted.


18 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Booking for Lisandro Martinez as Wolves break down the left and the Argentine makes sure Neto doesn’t beat him. Obvious decision for the ref, Simon Hooper.


17 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Antony attacks down the right and again the move comes to nothing - the movement up top from United isn’t great and it’s all too easy for Wolves at the moment.


A bit of stop-start match so far

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matheus Nunes, right, duels for the ball with Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes during the English Premier League

Credit: AP


14 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

No real fluidity to either side at the moment - no shock from Wolves but Erik ten Hag, understandably, isn’t looking too happy on the touchline. He’s furiously writing some notes probably along the lines of: ‘must pass, better, press better, improve…’. Yes, I too am a tactical genius available for hire…


12 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Neither side is looking comfortable on the ball at the back. Some summer rust, perhaps?


11 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

We have the first shot on target of the match - HURRAH!

It comes from Manchester United and, more specifically, Marcus Rashford. It was a throwback to last season, a quick break down the right and Rashford is there in the box before his shot is well saved low down by the on-rushing Sa.


9 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Kilman holds onto the ball for about five hours too long and Antony dispossess him and drives at the Wolves box, he lays off to Mount and, as with a few time already this match, the moves peters out. No one has been able to get a shot away at the moment.

As I type Semedo attacks down the right and pulls back into the centre but, once again, the move is snuffed out before anyone can get their boot through the ball and bring one of the goalkeepers into the action.


7 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

The hosts win another corner from the initial one - Mount takes it and this too comes to nothing as the whistle goes and Sa is adjudged to have been fouled in the melee. Don’t think there was much in that…


6 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Mount makes a good run through the middle and is found on the edge of the Wolves box, he cannot get a shot away but does win a corner.


4 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Garnacho gets the ball for the first time - it’s on the halfway line and he is unable to fashion anything, losing the ball to Cunha.

The hosts haven’t really got going so far - no real fluency or build up yet, early days though…


3 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Good run from Semedo sees the Wolves man drive into the heart of the hosts’ half. He laid the ball off and once again the move comes to nothing BUT promising enough start from the visitors.


2 mins: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Bruno Fernandes won’t have impressed Roberto Martinez so far. He gives the ball away to Neto on the edge of the Man Utd box and is lucky the Wolves man gets the ball stuck beneath his boots and the hosts can clear away the danger.


1 min: Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

And they’re under way at the Theatre of Dreams (TM) after both sides take the knee.


Time for the Portuguese to shine

Portugal’s head coach Roberto Martinez is in the directors box to watch Man Utd v Wolves. Bruno Fernandes, United’s new captain, will be one for him to watch as well as Wolves (dwindling, to be fair) Portuguese contingent.


The teams are out on the pitch

And we’re moments away from kick-off.


As expected, Man Utd fans letting their feeling be known…

Sustained chant of “We Want Glazers Out” from the Stretford End as they wait for the teams to come out. Suspect it won’t be the last time that is heard this evening.


Gary O’Neil is the Wolves manager

It’s a bit of a poisoned chalice, isn’t it? If all was hunky dory at Molineux then Julen Lopetegui would still be there - stating the obvious, I know. They haven’t bought anyone and many an armchair pundit has them to struggle all season.

But if there’s one thing we know about O’Neil it’s that his teams like to take the game to the opposition away from home - Exhibit A being Bournemouth’s performances at Arsenal (which they lost in the last minute) and Spurs (which they won in the last minute) last season.

Gary O'Neil

A penny for Gary O’Neil’s thoughts Credit: Getty Images/Jack Thomas


Manchester United not beaten at Old Trafford since…

…yes, you’ve guessed it, the opening round of matches last season - a 2-1 win for Brighton.


Liverpool were once the club everyone tried to copy

They had their transfer strategy sorted and everything at Anfield was a well-oiled machine. But this summer hasn’t gone according to plan. They’ve been beaten to Caicedo by Chelsea and could well also lose out on Lavia to the same club. They are lacking midfielders and the MNF crew have just had a good chat on the goings on in L4.

“I think there will be massive questions asked at Liverpool…” 😬

“It’s been an absolute mess! It’s a JOKE…embarrassing!” 😤@GNev2 and @Carra23 on Liverpool’s current transfer situation…⬇️ pic.twitter.com/f0TliPmSVU

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 14, 2023


A familiar face at Old Trafford


Sir Alex Ferguson at his former manor Credit: Reuters/Dylan Martinez


The new Monday Night Football studio…

…and gimmicks are getting a run out this evening. Currently Karen Carney and Gary ‘Red Nev’ Neville are using the new giant touchscreen Sky Virtual View - allowing replays which can be seen from any player’s point of view. We’ve just seen the Liverpool goal from yesterday from Mo Salah’s point of view and (killer analysis coming up…) they conclude the Egyptian’s pass for Diaz was good…

Another new touch is the sartorial style. Gone are shirts, jackets and ties. In is a ‘smart casual’ vibe - what you might wear when meeting the in-laws for the first time while trying to make a decent impression without looking as though you’re trying too hard…

Here’s Thom Gibb’s on the new-look MNF, the lucky man was given a guided tour of the new coalface of televisual football coverage - New-look Monday Night Football ‘driven by what Carragher and Neville want’


The teams in old-fashioned black and white…

MANCHESTER UNITED XI TO FACE WOLVES: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro,Mount, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho, Rashford. Subs: Lindelof, Maguire, Martial, Eriksen, Dalot, Sancho, Henderson, Pellistri, McTominay.

Andre Onana and Mason Mount make their Premier League debuts for the hosts, but fellow summer signing Rasmus Hojlund is injured. As Jason Burt reported below, Harry Maguire, linked with a move to West Ham, sits on the bench for this one.

Mason Mount

Can Mason Mount make an instant impression on his Manchester United debut? Credit: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

WOLVES XI TO FACE MANCHESTER UNITED: Jose Sa, Nelson Semedo, Kilman, Dawson,Ait Nouri, Matheus Luiz, Joao Gomes, Lemina, Pedro Neto,Sarabia, Matheus Cunha. Subs: Silva, Doherty, Traore, Hwang, Kalajdzic, Gomes, Bentley, Hodge, Bueno.

New boss Gary O’Neil has gone for Nelson Semedo at full-back over the returning Matt Doherty. Joao Gomes starts while Matheus Cunha is also in the first XI despite being a fitness doubt.


No ‘hurrah!’ for Harry…

With his £30 million move to West Ham United suddenly in doubt Harry Maguire is on the bench for Manchester United. The defender does not want to leave but United want him out. Debuts for Andre Onana and Mason Mount as they face Wolverhampton Wanderers.


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Manchester United handed opportunity for fast start

Manchester United could not ask for a better fixture to start their Premier League season than Wolves at home, a club still reeling from Julen Lopetegui’s departure.

Gary O’Neil was quickly installed as the new Wolves manager, but they have endured a frustrating summer that has seen little investment and the departures of Ruben Neves and Nathan Collins.

Everything looks set up in United’s favour, although that level of expectation does bring a pressure of its own. The arrival of goalkeeper Andre Onana has the potential to transform Erik ten Hag’s team’s style of play, and we should see his more aggressive starting position in action during a game United are likely to dominate.

This fixture has not produced many goals in recent times. Just one of the last 10 meetings between Manchester United and Wolves has produced more than two goals, a run of results which includes two goalless draws and five 1-0 wins.

Ten Hag must decide when to introduce Rasmus Hojlund at centre-forward, with the £72 million buy from Atalanta nursing a lingering back problem.

“We are not in a rush,” the United boss said. “We know we have also without him a strong team and the position is covered, so we don’t rush this.

“It’s about that he’s in the right level. First from the first fitness level and then we have to integrate him, training and then we will bring him in the games, so we take our time.

“It’s not about winning in this moment. It’s about winning on the long term.”

That will likely mean Marcus Rashford starting through the middle with Alejandro Garnacho on the left. Ten Hag did experiment with using Jadon Sancho as a false nine during pre-season. Mason Mount is expected to make his competitive debut alongside new club captain Bruno Fernandes.

Full team news on the way shortly.