Five things learned as Manchester United draw against Wolves
Manchester United drew 0-0 against Wolves in a game which had a glaring lack of quality and tempo.
The stalemate at Molineux means that the sides will have to do it all over again at Old Trafford in a replay.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failed to register a shot on target in the FA Cup third round clash.
Marcus Rashford nearly broke the deadlock within 20 seconds of coming off the bench, but his deflected shot came back off the crossbar.
Matt Doherty’s second half goal was ruled out by VAR after his header went past Romero thanks to the help of his arm.
Here is a look a five things we learned from the game…
Mason Greenwood is the complete forward
Solskjaer started Greenwood in the number 9 position and he produced an eye catching display.
United’s talented academy graduate was always eager for the ball to be fired into his feet and on a number of occasions he cushioned the ball into the path of his team mates.
Greenwood’s hold up play was exemplary and that allowed United to play off their front man and use him as an out ball.
The 18-year-old’s movement caused the hosts problems as he often dropped deep to get on the ball and make things happen.
He showcased his ability to drift past players with ease and his self-belief to take the ball in tight areas no matter how many players he had around him.
Anthony Martial cannot afford to get injured because Greenwood is ready and waiting to make the position his own.
Replay isn’t ideal
Manchester United’s squad is already stretched and Solskjaer was left with no choice but to shuffle his pack for the trip to Molineux.
The replay at Old Trafford will be another game in a hectic January for Solskjaer’s men at a time where our midfield in particular could do with some rest bite.
If we were to advance to the fourth round via the replay, United will have played 9 matches in January, which will take a lot out of the players’ legs.
With the likes of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba out injured, Solskjaer will have to utilise his entire squad to prevent further injuries to key personnel.
The replay could present a return to first team action for the likes of Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Romero shows his class
In a game which had very little goalmouth action, Sergio Romero produced a top class save to deny Matt Doherty.
The Argentine showed lightening reflexes to thwart the Irishman and ensure that the scoreline remained level. He also had to be alert to stop Pedro Neto’s low drive.
It is the type of save that you don’t see the under fire David de Gea making right now.
There were concerns when Romero went down in the second half clutching his hamstring, but he was okay to continue.
If United are to get back to where they belong then they need to have the same depth across all positions as they do in the goalkeeper department.
The 32-year-old will be hoping to make further cup appearances this season and crank up the pressure on De Gea with a number of impressive displays.
Maguire fitness a concern
Seeing Phil Jones stripped and ready in the dugout would have given Manchester United fans every reason to get anxious.
But there would have been further worry when Harry Maguire was seen limping away after he slid in on Adama Traore.
The world’s most expensive defender hobbled on and seemed to shrug off any injury issues, but it is an area of concern.
There was one moment where Raul Jimenez breezed past United’s number 5 with ease, which indicated he wasn’t feeling 100%
Maguire has played a lot of football recently and is in need of a rest, but with the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Bailly and Marcos Rojo all on the comeback trail and needing minutes to build up sharpness, Maguire won’t be getting a day off on Tuesday night.
Will Gomes feature for the first team again?
Solskjaer gave Tahith Chong a start out on the right-hand side despite his long-term future at the club remaining uncertain.
It was a statement of faith in the youngster by the Norwegian, but the same cannot be said for Angel Gomes.
Gomes was an unused substitute with Solskjaer preferring to move Andreas Pereira in an advanced position when Juan Mata was withdrawn.
There is every chance that United fans won’t see Gomes make an appearance for the first team unless he signs a new contract.
If there was ever a time for Gomes to have been given a chance to impress it would have been in the FA Cup when games are coming thick and fast and Solskjaer is missing key men.
Gomes’ future looks to be away from Old Trafford and he will probably have to accept that his final months at the club will be spent turning out at Premier League 2 level.
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