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These 3 things were clear in Man Utd’s draw with Wolves

Both sides have plenty to take away from their 1-1 result at Molineux. The game was predicted by all to be close, due to Wolves’ tactically astute manager and incredible form against the top six.

The game showed the strengths and weaknesses of each outfit as they muscled out a 1-1 draw. Wolves have been known to play a very defensive style, which was the case in the first half.

Man Utd held onto possession for the majority of the first 45, with Jesse Lingard playing a vital role in the way the side moves the ball around.

Hopefully, Solskjaer has noticed the following three things that were clear in Man Utd’s draw against Wolves…

Paul Pogba played too deep

Pogba was almost a centre back for the majority of the second half. When Wolves were in control of the pressing and attacking, Paul Pogba was playing very deep and didn’t progress forward enough.

With the quality he brings to the attacking threat, he is wasted as a defensive midfielder. Despite his strength and stature, the best of him is seen in the opponents half picking out his teammates.

Games are won and lost in the midfield

Man Utd failed their fans by not signing a midfielder in the transfer window. It is by far their weak spot and this was exploited by Wolves.

The best ball holders and passers on the pitch were the two centre-halves Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire. This meant that most of the possession was in and around the defensive lines, inviting the press from Wolves. However, Nuno was clever and didn’t allow the Man Utd counter-attack.

When a team uses this strategy, possession and playing through the opponents with a talented midfield is the only way to win the game. This is why Man Utd drew against Wolves.

Luke Shaw is the weakness

Wolves brought on Adama in the second half at 1-0 down. He ran rings around Luke Shaw, resulting in Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire moving to the left flank to support their teammate.

This left an enormous hole for Ruben Neves, one of the best midfield talents in the league, to showcase his skill and quality almost untouched.

Had Man Utd’s defence been that of last season’s, they would have seen a very embarrassing scoreline.

‘Some say Gary Neville is still talking about Pogba’s penalty’ Has Neville overreacted to Man Utd star?

Gary Neville is being criticised for his relentless targeting of Paul Pogba after his penalty miss against Wolves at Molineux.

The Wolves v Man Utd fixture gave the fans, players and coaches plenty of positives and negatives to take away from the game.

For example, Man Utd’s defence looks incredibly solid and confident. However, Luke Shaw is a blatant weakness as he found himself in the back pocket of super-sub Adama. Daniel James has all the right ideas but needs more game time and confidence to become more clinical and consistent.

Martial and Rashford looked deadly, but with 65% possession and almost double the passes of their opponents, more chances need to be created.

But despite all of these lessons learned and improvements made, Gary Neville had only one thing to talk about after the game…

Gary Neville used his post-match analysis time to talk about Paul Pogba taking the penalty over Rashford. He makes fair and reasonable points about how the penalty taker should be decided in the dressing room and not on the pitch. But this conversation could have been five minutes long.

Neville’s constant criticism of Pogba has raised many eyebrows, particularly since the ex-Utd man isn’t perfect himself…

Uncalled for racial abuse

Paul Pogba received racial abuse on social media after his saved penalty that lost the Reds two points. People have made accusations that Neville’s monologues of Pogba’s shortcomings have incited this horrendous behaviour…

The likelihood is that Gary Neville did not want these repercussions. But merely targets Pogba due to his status as a world-class player. However, the persistent criticism remains unjustified, as there are eleven players with the World’s most prolific badge on their chest, not just one.

Some are waiting for Neville to address the issue…

Racism in football or anything at all is totally unacceptable by today’s standards.

But setting that part of the overall issue aside, there is still cause for concern with the amount of criticism aimed at Paul Pogba for his penalty after the 1-1 draw against Wolves…

…when there are so many positives, negatives, improvements and moments of brilliance to talk about instead.

Man United need depth after Solskjaer runs out of answers following Wolves draw, agree?

A tough game for Man Utd was expected against Wolves at Molineux, and a tough game is what they got.

Wolves and Man Utd faced off at Molineux in a highly anticipated match-up. Had Wolves been spared Europa League football this season, many would place a bet on them finishing in the top 6.

The game proved to be a tight matchup as momentum and confidence swayed between the two sides throughout the game.

Man Utd controlled the game in the first half an hour, having well over 65% possession and seemed to be in total control of the game. A well-worked and beautifully struck goal from Anthony Martial backed up the new number nine on the back of his shirt. But if he wants to be up there with the best, he needs to be the man who digs Man Utd out of tight games like this one, to help them clinch a win.

Solskjaer’s defence is very solid until shaken. A ricochet off the post and into De Gea out of immediate danger resulted in the Reds looking scrappy and disorganised for far too long. Gaining and keeping composure is something this side has to work on.

Man Utd played the ball around their own half, and in some instances played some fantastic football out of the back. However, Wolves used Man Utd’s tactic against them by pressing and enticing errors.

Whether it be a statement of Wolves or Man Utd, both teams appeared evenly matched. Wolves had the aforementioned ricochet whilst Paul Pogba missed a penalty for Man Utd. Either way, the game was as tight as we all expected.

Did Solskjaer make some bad decisions?

Solskjaer’s approach has been questioned. After half time, Wolves manager Nuno opted to bring on the strong and pacey Adama who turned the game on its head. Man Utd had no answer other than relying on their strong defence to keep out as many goals as possible.

Jesse Lingard, who had been running the game in and around the opponents half, was subbed off for Juan Mata, who made no impact. Mason Greenwood replaced Dan James, who also looked threatening throughout the game, and couldn’t find time to get into the game.

Man Utd were the more dominant side overall. With 65% possession and 652 passes compared to the opponents 352, the Reds failed to do anything in the final third.

Adama stopped his side from losing

Playing down the right flank, Adama proved too much for Luke Shaw. This resulted in McTominay and Maguire edging towards the left-back position to provide support, leaving massive holes in the midfield. This is where the game slipped away from the Red Devils. Their defence is lacking quality as is, even more so when their midfield isn’t in the mid-field.

Overall?

Expected. Wolves are a fantastically solid side against the top 6. They have the squad, the manager and the ability to finish top 6 this season. I suppose the true victor will be crowned when they face off at Old Trafford…

Man Utd need to rid themselves of Wolves jinx by playing this forward line, agree?

Solskjaer’s Man United has been unable to beat Wolves in his two fixtures at Molineux. However, he didn’t have this forward option last season…

Wolves were a stick in the mud for the top 6 last season. A chart on Reddit shows the Wanderer’s results in a mini-league versus the top 6, where
Wolves place 3rd on thirteen points compared to Man Utd who placed 7th with seven points.

Solskjaer heads to Molineux for his second Premier League fixture of his first full season in charge. But this time feels different for fans and players alike.

After Man Utd’s 4-0 victory against Chelsea, the red side of Manchester is starting to buzz once again.

Man Utd will be facing a defensively sturdy and well-drilled Wolves. They tend to play a possession-based style, as “Ole ball” will see the Red’s forwards chased it down relentlessly.

There is a very specific forward line that can undo the Wolves defence, it goes a little something like this…

Jesse Lingard

Lingard’s natural athleticism gives him the ability to press defenders aggressively and force errors. Fairly similar to undisputed Man Utd legend Ji-Sung Park.

He will drift wide right as Rashford drifts wide left with Martial central, giving space in the attacking midfield for Pogba and/or McTominay.

Lingard will be imperative to way Man Utd press and tire out their defence in order to strike late-game.

These 60/70 minute substitutions will be the Reds clutch the game…

Dan James and Juan Mata

Introducing Dan James towards the end of the game against Chelsea finished the Londoners off. His goal came from a Paul Pogba run towards the box as James’ unmatched pace overlapped him, received the ball, and scored.

With Wolves being tired out by a very fit Man Utd, facing a fresh Dan James would be their worst nightmare.

With Mata introduced, there will be slightly less emphasis on pressing and more picking out passed into the final third. Passes that Dan James will be itching to get on the end of.

Throughout Summer, Juan Mata signed a new contract at Man United, leaving fans concerned about his age and ability. Jesse Lingard’s juvenile personality and lack of consistency gain him negative attention. Dan James has been thoroughly doubted due to coming from a Championship level squad. But all three players will play a huge role in a Man Utd victory over Wolves.

The form of Man Utd’s two attackers will prove the difference against Wolves, agree?

Solskjaer’s Man Utd will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season where the Reds failed to beat Wolves and lost twice at Molineux.

After winning every single game of pre-season, the Red Devils marched on into the Premier League season with a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford over top four competitors Chelsea.

Solskaer’s team selection spoke volumes by dropping Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Nemanja Matic from the starting eleven. Having five academy graduates in the starting eleven and two on the bench tells you what direction Ole is steering the club in. The risk was worth the reward as the Reds thumped a very naive Chelsea.

Will Solskjaer go back to relying on experienced players or allow this winning formula to develop?

Man Utd

Most fans will want to see a very similar eleven walkout on Monday at Molineux. Scott McTominay is quickly becoming a fan favourite, covering more ground on the pitch than any other player against Chelsea and playing a large role in the slick passing from the back, he could be the answer to Man Utd’s midfield mayhem.

Pereira’s position of the interchanging attacking midfielder/right-winger appears to be up for grabs. The Brazilian failed to impact the game on the ball but impressed with high-pressing and an assist for Anthony Martial.

The defence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw is looking like one of the best defences in English football. Chelsea managed to find themselves in some good positions. However, this may well be a result of the defence being brand new.

Anthony Martial is becoming much more instinctive as a number 9. He is more aggressive, vocal and attentive than ever before as he leads from the front. Having Marcus Rashford in and around him, challenging for that number 9 spot, Man Utd fans could see a lot of goals this season.

Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers recently won a two-legged Europa League qualifier 8-0 on aggregate against Pyunik. But when the final 4-0 win takes place four days before a big game against Man Utd, it might not bode too well.

Top players such as Diego Jota and Leander Dendoncker amongst others featured in the victory and could get exposed by a very fit Man Utd come the Monday fixture.

On the flip side, Wolves are a team full of confidence. Alongside Everton and Leicester, Wolves are a team looking to put pressure on the top six. Beating Man Utd at home would be a good way for Wolves to show the league that they mean business.

Prediction

Solskjaer is likely to go in a similar direction as he did against Chelsea. It appears he has given his side an identity and a philosophy to follow. His apparent trust in youth has allowed for the starting eleven to be stronger and more exciting, with two forwards who are eager to score.

Wolves could pick up a point against a less than clinical Man Utd. But the retrains of the Europa League will likely impact the squad and Solskjaer as ensured that his squad are one of the fittest in the league.

A 1-1 or a 2-1 victory for Man Utd would be safe judgement. Wolves will hold out for a draw, or a win if they find themselves 1-0 up. But the form of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will definitely prove to be a challenge for Wolves.

‘Wow! Better window than Ann Summers this’ Wigan Athletic fans react to another signing!

Wigan Athletic have confirmed the signing of Bright Enobakhare on a season-long loan deal, from Wolves.

Not the quiet deadline day I was expecting. The 21-year-old signed a new contract at the Premier League side, before heading to the DW Stadium for the 2019/20 campaign.

Enobakhare spent part of last season on loan at League One side Coventry City, in which he scored six goals in 18 appearances.

Let’s see if the Latics fans are happy with their second summer deadline day signing…

The final touches: What Guardiola should be getting right in Man City training this week

Man City won the domestic quadruple in 18/19, but how can Guardiola ensure European success next season?

Man City’s pre-season has arguably not been a challenging one, losing only one game on penalties against Wolves. Therefore, it is necessary for Guardiola to continue drilling tactics, fitness and work ethic into his side.

After back to back league titles and a domestic sweep last season, the one trophy missing is the Champions League. In order to compete heavily in all competitions, here are a few things that the Citizens need to work on, courtesy of The Football Manc Cave.

Manchester City’s intense build-up play was devastating to the rest of the Premier League last season. However, with their unquestioned dominance, it is obvious knowledge that other Premier League teams will be concentrating on cracking their code and figuring them out.

Although Guardiola cannot be expected to completely change his style of play, he needs to be aware that the competition in the league is growing. Teams such as Man Utd, Leicester City, Wolves and Everton are building to challenge for top four in the next few seasons.

Patching up the weakness

Man City have introduced defensive midfielder Rodri, who joined from Atletico Madrid this summer. Man City’s high and intense press left space at the back for teams to attack. It is important that Rodri learns the ropes and can act as a rock in front of the defence, which would patch up a slight weakness in the squad.

Defending counter-attacks efficiently could combat the rest of the league’s plans to knock Man City off their pedestal.

The depth of quality in the Manchester City squad should allow for them to be successful both domestically and in Europe. However, recent seasons have demonstrated otherwise. Guardiola must have a fully fit squad with enough quality to consistently perform throughout each competition next season.

Man City should line up against Kitchee FC with these two youngsters involved today

As Manchester City continue their pre-season tour of Asia, The Football Manc Cave look at what their starting eleven should look like against Kitchee FC.

Pep Guardiola’s side made the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy at the weekend and even though it’s only classed as a pre-season warm-up, his team failed to collect the award. The game finished goalless which resulted in a penalty shootout that Man City lost 3-2 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite the loss, this game saw a lot of the City squad get a chance to play.

In the second half, there were plenty of substitutes that saw Guardiola’s side have nearly a complete team makeover. As well as giving youngsters a chance to play, this also gives Man City a chance to look at their new captain. Vincent Kompany’s departure has left that role vacant. The name of the player taking the armband has been up in the air. The Man City boss has stated that his squad will be picking their new leader, which is why these pre-season games have seen Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have a go at leading the side.

Personally, I think David Silva should captain his club in what will be his last season at the Manchester side. With that in mind, this is the side I have picked for their game against Kitchee FC on Wednesday.

Quite a few of the squad such as Sergio Aguero and Ederson are entitled to holidays before joining Man City again, as they’ve been busy in other commitments over the summer. This gives other players a chance to shine for Guardiola.

Claudio Bravo has had a lot to do in pre-season, as he’s had to play in a penalty shoot-out and replace Ederson while he’s not available. He will surely get picked again on Wednesday.

Defence

Angelino didn’t get a start in their last game so maybe he should be considered as fans want to see him play. Taylor Harwood-Bellis has played well for Man City in Asia and again, he didn’t start their game against Wolves so he should be considered to be in the starting line up. Aymeric Laporte was subbed in the second half of the last game however he should definitely be in that starting line up. Finally, Kyle Walker, again, he wasn’t started on Saturday and should be given a chance. Guardiola has proven he has other options now.

Midfield

The midfield line I have changed completely. Players that were brought on to try and drive for a goal in the second half against Wolves, should be given an opportunity to start. Fans want to get a chance to see Rodri in action and he can always be brought on at any point but Lukas Nmecha, Bernardo Silva and IIkay Gundogan should all get a chance.

The main topic of conversation, David Silva should definitely start as captain. Kevin De Bruyne started as the leader of the pack on Saturday, as a bid to take the armband for next season. David Silva should have the chance to prove himself again.

Attack

Leroy Sané and Ben Knight should be given the chance to start up front together to see how they work as a duo. Raheem Sterling can always replace the young striker, and there are also other options on the bench in case Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t performing how he imagines.

This is only pre-season and a chance for youngsters to show their worth, as well as senior members to prove they need to stay in the lineup.

‘Not good enough’ ‘They were completely knackered and it showed’ Man City Fans unhappy after ‘fitness session’ defeat

The Football Manc Cave are looking at Man City fans’ reaction to the loss they suffered against Wolves in the Premier League Asia Cup yesterday. 

Pep Guardiola’s side couldn’t find the back of the net in the final, as it finished 0-0. Which sent the game straight to penalties and Wolves won 3-2. 

There were a lot of changes to the starting line up throughout the game as the blues manager started to worry. There was also a shuffle around in the captain department, as Kevin De Bruyne wore the armband at the start of the game. This soon got passed to David Silva, as De Bruyne was brought off. A missed penalty for Man City was also thrown in the mix. A lot of Man City fans don’t seem too bothered about the loss and are simply calling it a ‘warm-up session.’ 

It’s an optimistic way to look at it, although some disagree stating that these are games that should be taken more seriously. Its points like this in the Premier League that the Blues need to make sure they are picking up.

Here are your thoughts… 

3 things we learnt from yesterday’s Man City defeat to Wolves

The final of the Premier League Asia Cup saw Man City and Wolverhampton Wanderers go head to head yesterday.

Man City fans were hopeful that their side would conquer yet another cup, even if it’s just part of preseason. Unfortunately, just a preseason warm-up is all the fans got as Wolves went on to win the game 3-2 on penalties.

Pep Guardiola must have realised that his side didn’t look like finding the back of the net as he kept on making changes. At one point, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Adrián Bernabé all were subbed at the same time for Kyle Walker, İlkay Gündoğan, Bernardo Silva and David Silva. The Man City boss also replaced Rodri, Laporte, Zinchenko and Sane with Lukas Nmecha, Angelino, Harwood-Bellis and Alex Garcia.

Even with nearly a full squad change, Man City still couldn’t bag a goal which took the game straight to penalties.

So after this loss, the Football Manc Cave explores three things we have learned from the Manchester side today…

Captain Issues

Obviously, with Vincent Kompany leaving the club at the end of last season, this gave the armband a new owner and today that player was Kevin De Bruyne. Weeks ago, it was reported that David Silva was looking most likely to take the responsibility of leading Man City out next season. Now Guardiola has stated that his players will pick their next leader.

Having a player on the pitch who everyone respects and values are vital to a football team. Vincent Kompany will surely be missed as he stepped up to the role confidently. Now it’s up in the air as to who will replace him and after their performance today, Kevin De Bruyne must be a sceptical choice. Who do you think should take the armband?

Low Expectations

It’s clear that the Premier League Asia Cup isn’t something that is taken too seriously and is more of a preseason warm-up than anything else. A lot of Man City fans have stated how this was just a fitness session and a warm-up before the start of the season, and they don’t seem too bothered about the loss. However, some have noted their concerns over the fact that this should have been an easy win that ended up in a draw at full time. Some are concerned, that these are the kind of matches that the Blues need to pick up all three points in when the Premier League starts again.

Subs

Even though Guardiola’s side lost on penalties, you can’t argue that his team has such a variety and good quality of back up options. In a friendly, most teams use nearly all the subs possible to give every player a chance and opportunity. This was no different. Four or five changes at a time should usually see a team bring on players that aren’t as experienced and senior as other teammates, or players that fans are sceptical about.

Not this team. When you can take the likes of your new signing, Rodri with players like Zinchenko and Sane off. Then replace them with the likes of David and Bernardo Silva, surely it proves the talent in your squad.

The loss aside, Man City fans will look forward to the new Premier League campaign, new players and hopefully another title.

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