Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Manchester United: 7 Things We Learned
The Molineux is a place where United haven't really been their best at. Even if you look at the Wolves' head-to-head record, you'll see that Manchester United have won 37 and Wolves 31. Last season was a different story, as United suffered their first defeat in the league against Wolves, but this time around, something else was in store.
But to be honest, Wolves were no Athletic Bilbao, and neither were they baying to get the better of United after the hosts went a man down. Read on to find out more.
1. Danny Welbeck Is a Classic Center Forward in the Making
He may have been played out of position at left midfield, but the local lad has a habit of scoring some vital goals. He's been made to play right midfield and left midfield, but he's done it without a fuss. In the match against Wolves, Welbeck scored the 10th goal of his current breakthrough season.
His finishing was superb, and he might be the next Andy Cole. He runs with the ball, provides good link-up play and is wonderful to watch.
2. Chicharito Is Back Amongst the Goals
£7.4 million was what Javier Hernandez cost Manchester United from C.D. Guadalajara, and boy, is he repaying every single penny of it. While one finish was as a result of him being unmarked, the second was a devastating one, as he fired the ball into the top of the net.
His barren streak brought about questions, with his last goal in the league coming against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. This was a warning shot to the teams against whom United have to play and a reminder as to what he is capable of.
3. Antonio Valencia Played Like He Had Never Been Away
How often do you find a player who fired his agent because he was too greedy?
That pretty much sums up Antonio Valencia. His dedication to the side and his outstanding performance today were what ensured that United never had to struggle too much. Of course, things got easier after Wolves were down to 10 men, but he was rightly rewarded for his exploits, as he bagged a goal for himself.
One can wonder how differently things would have been had he been fit for the matches against Bilbao, but with an important run-in to the end of the season and some crucial matches coming, it's vital that he stays fit.
4. Michael Carrick's Presence Was Felt Today, and so Was His Absence
When Michael Carrick played today, there was an incisive edge with short crisp passing. After he left, United's midfield started to sag a bit. With Carrick in the game, United scored four goals; after he exited, they scored once. The match had ended as a contest, but Carrick showed why he along with Paul Scholes are the fulcrum of the Manchester United midfield.
His positioning, anticipation and tracking the runs of the Wolves players were vital, as Manchester United continued their dominance in the domestic front. He does deserve a call-up to play for the Three Lions, but even if he doesn't, it's Manchester United who stand to gain.
5. Paul Pogba's Situation Is Still Very Ambiguous
He's made seven appearances so far for Manchester United this season, but it's still unsure whether or not he's going to stay. His teammates have very much praised him and he has been getting regular game time, but his future at Old Trafford is still under a cloud of doubt.
His agent, Mino Raiola, is said to be angling a move to Juventus for him. Even their general manager, Giuseppe Marotta, has intensified their chase for him by telling Tuttosport that they won't budge in their race for the young Frenchman (per talkSPORT). If money does turn the lad's head, then it's best to let him go.
6. The Most Slippery Match of the Entire Season Is on Its Way
No, it's not a trip to the Etihad Stadium on the 30th of April; it's a trip to Ewood Park. Here's why.
No matter how many goals Manchester United end up scoring against any side, a trip to Ewood Park is always one of the worst ones to negotiate for Manchester United. They lost the 2009/10 Premier League title there, as United dropped two points and finished one point behind Chelsea that season. The last time Manchester United won against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park was back in the 2008/09 season during the first few matches.
Since then, United have drawn both the matches played in the following seasons, with last year's being the match where United sealed the title at Ewood Park.
But Ewood Park will undoubtedly be the place where Manchester United prove their credentials or see Blackburn rip them apart.
7. Only Complacency Can Destroy Manchester United
While Manchester United's fixtures may look easy on paper, don't be fooled. Wigan Athletic have never grabbed a point against Manchester United, but that doesn't mean that they won't be able to. There are nine games till the end of the season, and a total of 27 points can seal title No. 20 for Manchester United.
But their following matches are just as difficult to play as Manchester City's. City have to play Chelsea, Stoke City, Arsenal and Newcastle United, with the first at the Etihad and the latter three away from home.
There are no continental distractions for either team, and like Patrice Evra bluntly told The Sun, “We have to win the league to save our season."
I couldn't agree with him more.