Man Utd 1-0 Wolves: Match analysis: Varane’s header secures Old Trafford victory

Image Source: Getty Images/ Clive Brunskill

Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Wolves to open the 2023–24 Premier League season was decided by Raphael Varane’s goal against the odds in the second half.

After being set up by Antony to the right of the centre, Marcus Rashford forced Jose Sa to make an early save, but his shot lacked aggression. 

In those early exchanges, the home team was in control of the ball possession, but neither they nor the visitors from the West Midlands were making enough effort to challenge the other.

After breaking quickly, the Wolves had their first serious opportunity over 30 minutes in. 

Shortly before halftime, when Rashford’s close-range header struck Nelson Semedo in the body, the United players called for a penalty, but the VAR check rejected it. A brilliantly timed Max Kilman block during the stoppage time also prevented Antony and Rashford from scoring.

After another rapid encounter and a long run from Nunes, Wolves had a flurry of chances just after the interval, but Cunha’s shot at the back hit the outside of the post. 

The home team still had work to do, as Onana had to twice stop replacement Fabio Silva’s thunderous low efforts in the dying seconds. As stoppage time approached, Luke Shaw also produced a spectacular diving block to stop the same man.

Wan-Bissaka deflected Hwang Hee-chan’s wide attempt at a shot during the extra time, while Onana escaped a late Wolves appeal for a penalty after awkwardly clashing with Sasa Kalajdzic.

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