I started this Saturday (13) watching the Premier League games, which unfortunately is almost at the end of the season.
Manchester United v Wolves played at Old Trafford, also known as the “Theater of Dreams”.
It’s already spring in Europe and we see that warm “sun” leaving the start of the game with a temperature of 20°C, with the crowd filling the stadium and “dying” of heat.
Erik ten Hag’s side have fallen a lot in recent times, being knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla and losing their last two Premier League games 1-0 to Brighton and West Ham. But it still has two important objectives: to remain among the first to play again in the Champions League and to dispute the title of the FA Cup against the rival of the city, the strong Manchester City.
I really like it when the Red Devils come in with the midfielder duo formed by Casemiro, who for me is the great Brazilian player of his generation and brand and goes into the game very aggressively, and the great Dane Eriksen, who is very intelligent, technical , with precise passes making the team leave behind with great quality.
Wolves are ready for this clash with no risk of relegation and with an attacking duo formed by the Brazilian Matheus Cunha and the Hispanic Brazilian Diego Costa, who we know very well. Two tall strikers, with a lot of strength and great finishers, but I think Matheus still hasn’t managed to be the center forward we expected and Diego Costa fights a lot, but often passes the point in the tough game.
The game started with United going up trying to dictate the pace of the game, but finding it difficult because Wolves entered closed with the strategy of using the counterattack to try to surprise.
In the first 20 minutes, the Brazilian Antony was the most aggressive striker, always looking to lighten up to use the shot from the edge of the area, but without his team making sharp plays, making it clear that he needs a strong center forward.
The Reds Devils, to be able to enter strong in all competitions next season, need to have a great center forward who increases the number of goals for the team and is present inside the area. There is a lot of talk about Harry Kane, which for me would be great to see him commanding United’s attack.
The team needs this victory too much, but to achieve it, they have more intensity in the game, applying pressure to make it difficult for the ball to come out to force the Wolves defensive error.
Until the 30th minute, United had only managed one shot towards the goal, and Wolves none, just to illustrate the offensive difficulty of the teams. The main move was a cross from the great winger Luke Shaw, with Antony missing a goal made with a header. But, soon after, in a beautiful move by Bruno Fernandes, who played for Antony in front of the goal, the Brazilian, instead of kicking, gave a great assist to Martial, who just slapped the goal with the goalkeeper already off the pitch making Old Trafford boil.
The game continued without much excitement, with United playing better but, in my opinion, could have a more intense offensive aggressiveness and squeeze Wolves more.
In the end, Antony left with impressive speed from his area until he reached the opponent’s, giving another pass for Martial to hit weakly after all the effort from the Brazilian.
Manchester United went into the locker room winning 1-0 and, despite having scored four shots on goal against zero, they needed to come back more aggressive, putting a strong intensity on the game so as not to run the risk of suffering a draw.
When I played in Italy, I always followed the Premier League on Saturdays, while I was focused on playing on Sunday. At that time, the Italian Championship games were only on Sundays and at the same time, so you could follow the English well.
It was a pity that until my penultimate year in Italy, English teams were suspended from all European competitions. The suspension happened because of the Heysel tragedy, in Belgium, on May 29, 1985, in the Champions League final between Juventus and Liverpool, won 1-0 by the Old Lady.
This tragedy closed the market in England, which was a shame because I would have loved the opportunity to play in English football and preferably Manchester United.
The second half started with Ten Hag’s team going up, but finding it difficult to clarify the plays a lot because coach Lopetegui set up a great defensive strategy, which despite being losing, was working well. But, he also made his team risk a little more, being more offensively aggressive, managing to press and create problems, but without making De Gea work.
Manchester United, with a complete and fit squad, is a strong team, lacking, as I said, a great striker in the area, a guy who keeps the opposing defense always tense. For example, Tottenham, City, Newcastle, Liverpool, Arsenal and other Premier League teams have this player in their squad. Not to mention the great Europeans who compete in the Champions League. Therefore, United cannot go into next season without having such a striker.
Another offensive problem is that the team takes forever to make a sharp attacking play, taking time to finish the play, but to achieve this, they need to squeeze the ball out when playing at home to increase the pressure of the opposing defense. You can’t let the Wolves defense play back and forth without being pressured.
Lopetegui’s team has the worst attack in the championship, with Matheus Cunha being replaced at half-time because he didn’t take the ball in the first half, entering the South Korean Hwang Hee-Chan, who plays on the side, leaving the team faster, but making a lot of mistakes. At 30 minutes of the final stage, Diego Costa also left, another one who did nothing in the game.
On the United side, Sancho was in debt while Martial, who did poorly, left for the Dutchman Weghorst, who has yet to score in the Premier League, which only shows the urgency that the team has to sign a respectable center forward.
Soon after, Sancho, who only made one move, also left for the young Argentine, who was born in Spain, Garnacho, in an attempt to put more aggression on the left side with more lucidity.
Bruno Fernandes’ football intelligence and creativity is sometimes not matched by his team’s strikers.
Despite United’s lack of attacking aggression, the best player of the game was Wolves goalkeeper Bentley, as he saved the few difficult balls that went into goal very well.
After taking pressure from Wolves towards the end of the game, Ten Hag’s team set up a manual counterattack. The great Bruno Fernandes played for the Garnacho boy to leave at speed and, with a lot of technique, he made the lateral Nélson Semedo dance, to later slap and end the game giving Manchester United the victory by 2 x 0.
Deserved victory for the Red Devils, who, even so, did not have a good match. To guarantee themselves in the next Champions League without depending on anyone, the team needs to win the last three games.
Manchester United, in the last three games, will face Bournemouth away from home in the next round. Afterwards, the championship will end playing the last two duels in the temple of Old Trafford, against Chelsea and Fulham. He will need to play a lot more to score the nine points he needs.
#United #unconvincing #shows #lack #striker