THE NOTEBOOK: Wolves have almost completely changed in 18 months, Mason Mount’s debut is one to forget, and Gary Neville writes off Man United’s title chances on day one!
- Raphael Varane’s late header gave off-colour Man United a 1-0 win over Wolves
- Gary Neville claimed they were not title contenders before a ball was kicked
- WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show
Manchester United were off-colour on Monday night, but still earned an opening league win against Wolves courtesy of Raphael Varane’s header.
The visitors had some great chances, with Pablo Sarabia going close, before Matheus Cunha hit the post.
However, missing those opportunities proved costly for Gary O’Neil’s side, as Varane was in the right place to nod home the winner with 15 minutes remaining at Old Trafford.
Closing the first weekend of Premier League action, the match was targeted by different protest groups outside the ground, and a pitch invader interrupting proceedings.
Mail Sport’s TOM COLLOMOSSE shares some of the more unusual talking points from Manchester United 1-0 Wolves…
Raphael Varane’s header was the only goal as Manchester United narrowly beat Wolves 1-0
Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa was one of just three players who played in a 1-0 win 18 months ago
Wolves unrecognisable from Old Trafford scalp
Barely 18 months have passed from when Wolves earned one of their most memorable results since returning to the Premier League in 2018, as Joao Moutinho’s goal secured a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on January 3, 2022.
Yet such has been the change at Molineux that goalkeeper Jose Sa was one of only three players who started that fixture to be named in Gary O’Neil’s first starting XI as boss on Monday night. Max Kilman and Nelson Semedo were also on duty that evening, along with Moutinho, Ruben Neves, Raul Jimenez and Conor Coady.
United were much changed on Monday from that encounter, too, with only Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw starting both matches. In the dugouts were Ralf Rangnick, who suffered his first defeat as United coach, and Bruno Lage for Wolves.
O’NEIL IMPRESSES ON OLD TRAFFORD TEST
There aren’t many tougher tasks for a new manager in English football than taking your team to Old Trafford.
Wolves boss O’Neil’s only other visit here was in charge of Bournemouth last season, when his team were beaten 3-0 in January.
His record against United as a player would not have inspired much confidence, either, as he took only eight points from a possible 54.
Wolves boss Gary O’Neil’s only other visit to Old Trafford Bournemouth’s 3-0 loss in January
Mason Mount managed just 30 touches in a forgettable debut for Manchester United
Mason Mount’s touch-map against Wolves
Mount’s debut is one to forget
Mason Mount did not enjoy the greatest of starts to his Manchester United career, managing just 30 touches (as shown on the pitch map) in the 68 minutes he was on the pitch, before being replaced by Christian Eriksen.
The former Chelsea midfielder failed to create a single chances on what was a forgettable debut in front of his home support after his £60million move in July.
OLD TRAFFORD FOUND ITS VOICE
United announced a ‘significant change’ to Old Trafford over the summer with the addition of 2,100 rail seats near the Stretford End, as the club expand their safe standing areas.
Wolves’ fans were not impressed as they sang ‘football in a library’ early on, but the home crowd found their voice at half-time with inevitable abuse for Jamie Redknapp and Micah Richards, during a bizarre penalty shoot-out for their TV show A League Of Their Own.
Gary Neville wrote off Manchester United’s title chances before a ball had even been kicked
Neville writes off United on day one!
Gary Neville is usually among the more bullish forecasters when asked about Manchester United, yet here he was writing off their title chances before a ball had been kicked.
‘Looking at where Manchester City are and what Arsenal have done this summer, it would be unrealistic and harsh to say United should be competing for the title,’ said the club’s former right back on Sky.
‘I still think finishing third and winning a trophy would be a success, but I understand where that pressure might come from because of what they have spent in the transfer market.’
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