Manchester United v Wolves: Match in pictures
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If Joel Glazer is serious about Manchester United, as he’s said he is, then now is the time to show it. While the club have problems all over the pitch, the masterclasses of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho for Wolves on Monday were proof that’s where the club need to invest. Urgently, too.
Manchester United went into their match with Wolves looking to build on their solid, if unspectacular, 3-1 win over Burnley on Thursday.
Yet the Red Devils were, once again this season, rocked in their own back yard.
United had already lost at home to the likes of Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City prior to kicking a ball against Wolves.
And Moutinho’s late strike inflicted another defeat on the home team, who now face a huge fight to save their season.
United have already made changes as they look to turn things around.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost his job at the end of November, with Ralf Rangnick since coming in as his replacement.
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When United opted to pull the trigger on their iconic No 20, many expected results to improve immediately.
Yet performances haven’t and United continue to be just one game away from crisis, inconsistent from one fixture to the next.
Against Wolves, rarely anything went right.
The display of Phil Jones, making his first start for the club in nearly two years, was the only exception.
United were disjointed in attack, with Jadon Sancho abysmal, Mason Greenwood hooked too early and both Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani subdued.
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Yet their midfield, once again, was shown to look amateur.
Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay are both good, intelligent footballers. But neither is of the level this fallen giant requires.
Instead, United need a midfielder. A controller, a conductor and a player capable of dictating games and changing them when needed.
On this evidence, sticking with the current crop of players – rather than bringing in a reinforcement – would be a catastrophic error of judgement.
It’s not like United have much better in reserve, either.
Sure, Paul Pogba can be majestic at times. But anybody who thinks the France international, whose inconsistency is off the charts, is the answer is kidding themselves.
Likewise, Donny van de Beek.
There’s certainly some sympathy for the Netherlands international and the way his Premier League adventure has worked out so far.
Signed from Ajax in 2020, many expected him to be a big player at Old Trafford for coming years ahead.
Except Van de Beek has spent more time on the bench than the pitch. Even when he’s been given a chance, he’s not taken it.
So United need somebody to start controlling games, because they certainly lack that special individual at present.
If Manchester City need someone, badly, they get them. So do Chelsea, so do Liverpool.
These are the teams the club are aspiring to catch, to beat, to reel in.
Yet if Glazer refuses to spend any money this month, it will merely prolong the pain they’ve been suffering for nine years.
Glazer can rightfully say he’s signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and more during his time at the club – often for huge money.
But if he really wants this club to be serious, to be the biggest in the land, he’ll make more funds available.
As one of the richest clubs on the planet, United do have the cash. It’s sitting there, just waiting to be spent.
Whether it does so, however, will hinge on owners who have, throughout the years, often done the exact opposite of what’s needed.
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