Manchester United have lost 1-0 at home to Wolves in what was a poor and messy performance.
The headlines before the game were that Phil Jones was going to start for the first time in 707 days. When he headed it clear in the first minute, a loud cheer went up from the crowd.
Wolves looked the more sprightly in the opening five minutes as they pressured United’s back-line.
United’s first attack was generated by Mason Greenwood who played a beautifully weighted pass through to Sancho to launch the counter attack. He had Ronaldo to his left but chose to take the shot himself but it was the wrong decision and was blocked well by Wolves.
However, Wolves came knocking at the door forcing a couple of saves from de Gea. Ruben Neves with a powerful shot outside the box that was heading for the top corner but the Spaniard miraculously kept it out.
Wolves had four corners in the opening fifteen minutes, it was a dominant start as they kept the Reds retreating.
Matic and McTominay kept getting caught in possession, it felt like United were just moments away from being punished.
Around the half hour mark, United began to grow into the game, having a good spell of possession and some good runs forward.
It was all square at half-time but United looked to come out fighting in the second half. A few early bursts into the box didn’t look particularly threatening and the ‘fight’ came from McTominay who gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area, earning himself a booking, ruling him out of the next league game.
Luke Shaw also picked up a booking and will miss the next league game.
Old Trafford’s home fans were perplexed to see Greenwood come off around the 60 minute mark to make way for Bruno Fernandes as he hadn’t had a bad game unlike others.
Out of nowhere United sparked into life, a throw-in by Sancho found Matic who found space and played it into the middle where Fernandes was waiting but he blasted it at the crossbar.
Moments later, Jones was brought down, winning a free-kick in a good area. Delivered by Fernandes, it found the head of Ronaldo who nestled it into the back of the net but it was ruled offside.
Another chance came for United as Fernandes played a beautiful ball to Ronaldo but the angle was tight and he hit it just wide.
It was a good spell for the Reds, they had been re-energised by the addition of Fernandes, could they capitalise on this positive play though?
It was Wolves turn to go on the counter though and Matic, realising the danger, made a tactical foul, getting his name in the book for his troubles.
The free-kick was a good one but De Gea watched it all the way, getting his angles right he saw it rattle the crossbar.
It was Wolves who made the breakthrough in the 81st minute, Moutinho struck it sweetly for Wolves into the bottom corner.
Time was ticking away for United who showed no real ambition going forward.
A late free kick in the dying minutes of injury time was United’s only hope, Bruno Fernandes delivered a rocket but it was well saved by the Wolves keeper. That was it, the last kick of the game.
United rued the few chances they had and the catalogue of individual, sloppy errors led to the Reds defeat – not a great way to start the New Year.
Team: de Gea, Wan-Bissaka (Elanga 84), Varane, Jones, Shaw, Greenwood (Fernandes 60), McTominay, Matic, Sancho (Rashford 75), Cavani, Ronaldo