Player Ratings from Manchester United’s draw at Wolves.
De Gea – 6
The goalkeeper almost got to Ruben Neves’ equaliser but certainly couldn’t be blamed for it; otherwise it was an assured display from the Spaniard as he continues to adapt to two new defenders in front of him and the new rule which invites pressure from goalkicks.
Wan-Bissaka – 7
Another exceptional first half where his defending was enthusiastic, intelligent and creative; one last ditch tackle which went out for a corner was a situation you could easily imagine would have resulted in something far worse last season. By himself he has transformed the right-hand side of United’s pitch. Had a tougher second half as Wolves attacked, and he wasn’t always able to count on Dan James.
Victor Lindelof – 6
It has gone somewhat unmentioned but Lindelof has had to take a slight positional change since the arrival of Maguire; the left-hand side of centre was normally his. Sometimes it feels as if he is still getting used to it. There is also that nagging feeling of not knowing how good he truly is just because he was the best of a bad bunch. Against Wolves the Swede did not seem to be as composed as his reputation would have us expect. But it’s worth remembering that he was slightly anxious at the start of his Old Trafford career, so if this is a re-birth of sorts, maybe it will see some time for him to come to his best.
Harry Maguire – 7
Was tempted to downgrade to a 6 but felt that his contribution in the build-up to the equaliser was the sort of thing most defenders do and it’s unfair to start with criticism when it is clear he has assumed, quite naturally, the role of leader of the backline. He plays with confidence and his six aerial duels won was by far the best for United. As with Wan-Bissaka, one only needs to consider what this game might have been like with one of United’s other defenders.
Luke Shaw – 6
Looked good in link-up positions in the first half and did some good defensive work as the visitors seemed to be high on confidence in the opening 45 minutes. When things got tougher in the second half, Shaw did struggle somewhat and it was telling that Wolves targeted the full-back with the pace of Adama Traore. It is not quite at emergency levels yet but it will be in Solskjaer’s mind that Diogo Dalot played the left-back role for Porto.
Scott McTominay – 6
Took a while to get in to the game but when he did he played with the quiet assurance we are becoming accustomed to. He was combative and disciplined.
Paul Pogba – 6
Penalty miss aside, it was another hit and miss performance from the Frenchman, who did at least do well enough when it came to the discipline of playing in a two-man midfield. That said, the tendency to overplay needlessly, which is one of his characteristics, continues to frustrate. Great players make things happen, and for Pogba it seems all the conditions have to be right for him to perform; this was another game where the opposition midfield outshone him.
Daniel James – 5
It was a very tough full debut for James, who was picked to try and exploit the gap between the left centre-half Boly and the wing-back Jonny. Unfortunately there was no gap, the hosts were very good defensively and crowded out the still-willing ex-Swansea man. A frustrating evening for James, then, as he realised that when you play for Manchester United, nobody will be caught unaware by how good or how quick you are.
Jesse Lingard – 5
Did well for the goal but was mostly anonymous throughout. A lack of composure cost United the chance of a second goal. This was the perfect example of a game the forward needs to take as seriously as Chelsea; Lingard is in the team primarily for his work-rate and when that isn’t at its best, United are better with another option, as they indeed tried.
Marcus Rashford – 6
Assisted Martial for the goal, and also set up his strike partner a little earlier with a fantastic cross. Ineffective when United needed a breakthrough in the second half and was wasteful with a free-kick in a good position.
Anthony Martial – 6
United’s best forward on the night; Martial scored with fantastic conviction, but otherwise, ‘best forward of the night’ amounted to not very much as the team struggled to create much in the second half.
Mata – N/A
There wasn’t enough time to really rate Mata’s performance but enough to see he was fairly ineffectual; it was a long enough period to wonder whether that place might be better given to Angel Gomes, although on this occasion, one would give Solskjaer the benefit of the doubt for going for experience seeing how James was struggling.
Manager : 7
Solskjaer made a positive move by keeping the same defence and also resisting calling Matic back into the team when he had decided to take Pereira out. He went for a more attacking line up and should be credited for that. Perhaps the selection of James was a gamble that didn’t really work but if it had not been him it would have likely been Greenwood, equally inexperienced.
He was restricted by the hand he had, and while some could hold that against the manager for not bringing in a more experienced midfielder or forward over the summer, there is no point holding it against him on a game-by-game basis.
It wasn’t a desperate situation that called for drastic changes so he was right to wait until the latter stages to make a change; he did at least try to turn 1 point into three with a positive late move.
Some are blaming the manager for not being more authoritative with the penalty situation but the fact is Pogba has taken some before and that was just one of those things.
In all, this was a much improved showing on performances here last season.