Manchester United Upset in FA Cup, Knocked Out After 2-1 Loss to Wolverhampton

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers scores his team's first goal during the FA Cup Quarter Final match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux on March 16, 2019 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Wolverhampton Wanderers shocked Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, beating last year's finalists 2-1 at Molineux.

United dominated possession but barely created chances in the first half, and the hosts became more adventurous after the break. Raul Jimenez got the opener after 70 minutes, and Diogo Jota doubled the lead shortly after.

United played their worst match yet under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had limited options on the bench because of injuries to the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Marcus Rashford got a late goal, but time ran out on the comeback.

With the loss, United's focus will shift to the race for the Premier League's top four and the UEFA Champions League. United will face Barcelona in the quarter-finals of Europe's top competition in April and sit two points off the league's top four in fifth.

   

Moutinho, Neves Expose United's Midfield Limits

Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves were the two standout players for Wolves on Saturday, as the midfield battle saw those two and Leander Dendoncker pitted against Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

Pogba is a star and among the very best midfielders in the world, but of the rest of that group, Moutinho and Neves are arguably the best options. That's a major issue for United, and something Saturday's match highlighted.

United dominated large stretches of possession but barely created any chances, as their best attacking players weren't on their game. Sportswriter James Robson noted the final ball was the main issue:

Moutinho and Neves had far less possession to work with, but what they did when they had the ball stood in stark contrast:

It was no coincidence Moutinho created Jimenez's goal with a great run. Sportswriter Matt Law noted the Portuguese has been an astonishing bargain for Wolves:

Neves got the assist for the second goal, setting up Jota with a clever pass. Football blogger Jonas Giaever was impressed:

Wolves' enormous quality in midfield is incredible, but United shouldn't start a contest at this level with inferior options at the position. Even with the emergence of Andreas Pereira and Fred starting to find his feet in the Premier League, it's the one area where the Red Devils have to add a world-class player in the summer.

They could also splash the cash on someone like Moutinho―who would add some much-needed creativity to an attack that is mostly built around pace and movement―or Neves. The latter in particular would fit well alongside the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial, who are also still developing.

             

What's Next?

United will host Watford after the international break on March 30. Wolves will visit Burnley on the same day.

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