Manchester United Held to Surprise Draw vs. Wolves in 2018 Premier League

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22:  Joao Moutinho of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on September 22, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Manchester United were held to a surprising 1-1 draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.   

Goals from Fred and Joao Moutinho ensured both sides claimed a point apiece, but the Red Devils will be disappointed to stumble after two-straight wins appeared to have revived their form in England's top flight.

        

Paul Pogba's Performance Will Only Encourage Barcelona More

Barcelona plan to continue scouting Paul Pogba all season, according to Richard Tanner and John Cross of the Daily Mirror. His best moments against Wolves will only encourage the Blaugrana to make a move.

Pogba's principal contribution was a sublime touch to create Fred's goal. It continued an impressive run of production for the oft-frustrating France international:

There was more than just an assist to Pogba's game, though. His range of passing was on point during the first half, while he also added fluidity to United's play by rotating seamlessly with Fred ahead of Marouane Fellaini in midfield.

Pogba's performance wasn't without problems, particularly his languid control allowing Wolves to pounce and launch the break that resulted in Moutinho's goal. Overall, though, Pogba showcased the flair and power that make him such an enticing talent for Europe's biggest clubs.

Barca will have taken note of his two-goal performance against Young Boys in the UEFAChampions League in midweek. The Camp Nou club will also have been enamoured with what Pogba produced today.

   

David De Gea Needs to Keep Bailing Out Shaky United Defence

Pogba's magic in the middle makes United a threat going forward, but problems at the back will have manager Jose Mourinho worried.

An attack-minded Wolves got about United's shaky defence from the off. The visitors' enterprising play was only thwarted by a masterclass from overworked Red Devils goalkeeper David De Gea.

United's best player was needed to smartly turn away a Raul Jimenez shot early on:

De Gea was needed again when wing-back Matt Doherty found too much room among United's nervy back four:

Those chances were symptomatic of the jitters in the hosts' defence. Organisation, discipline and decisive aggression were all lacking from the start:

De Gea still stood firm after the break, denying Diogo Jota with just over 20 minutes remaining. His most important save came in the 91st minute when he rebuffed substitute Adama Traore's effort.

After excelling against Young Boys and Watford, De Gea is reasserting himself as the premier stopper in the division.

The problem is United are becoming too reliant on the man between the sticks to save them each week. It's not a recipe for winning a title.

   

Mourinho Must Consider Dropping Alexis Sanchez

Quite what is ailing Alexis Sanchez in Manchester remains a mystery. Whatever the reason, the player who was a magician in an Arsenal shirt is now somebody United can no longer afford to carry in the starting XI.

The Chile international forward frustrated fans and team-mates during yet another erratic display:

It wasn't a surprise when Sanchez lasted barely over an hour before being substituted for Anthony Martial.

Getting the hook is becoming a worrying pattern for the struggling 29-year-old:

Mourinho, who rested Sanchez for the game against Young Boys, has to consider leaving the former Gunner out of the team for longer. He has Martial, who scored in Bern on Wednesday, to call on as well as Marcus Rashford.

Both are outperforming Sanchez, who has been out of sorts since joining the Red Devils back in January. His woeful form is making him a passenger United can't afford, instead of the catalyst for a genuine title push.

      

What's Next?

Both teams will be in Carabao Cup action on Tuesday, with United hosting Derby County and Wolves at home to Premier League opposition in the form of Leicester City.

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