Wolverhampton Wanderers earned a 2-1 win at home over Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter final. They took control after an even first hour of play, and bullied their way to victory in the second half. United have now suffered 2 straight losses in all competitions, and are out of the FA Cup.
United started the match on the front foot, and found a few chances created through long forward passes. Paul Pogba mis-hit a chipped shot, and John Ruddy was more than up for a typical Marcus Rashford long range attempt. Martial nearly pounced on a Lingard pass across goal, but Wolves got to the ball first. United simply couldn’t find a way through to goal, a trend that would continue throughout the match.
Wolves began to create good chances of their own on the break, and at times Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling looked spread thin against a dangerous counterattacking side. The best chance of the half came fairly late through a breakaway attempt by Diogo Jota. Jota ran into an excellent through ball from Ruben Neves in behind Smalling, but Sergio Romero charged out of his goal and forced the striker into an early shot. Romero saved it fairly easily considering the pressure of both the moment and the occasion, proving once again why he’s the best back up keeper in the world.
Nearly 60% of the match was played in the middle of the park in the first half, a very fair reflection of the match. It definitely felt like an FA Cup quarter final, and Wolves showed why they’re no pushover side. A match against the newly promoted Wolves certainly wasn’t a formality for United. Nuno Espirito-Santo’s men were certainly up for this one, and their tactics in the first half showed they wouldn’t be afraid to go at United.
United started fast again in the second half, with Rashford sending a shot wide on the break. However, United again couldn’t maintain their possession and keep up the attack. Wolves settled in, and were starting to hold onto the possession after the first 20 minutes of the half. They soon found the space and rhythm needed to take charge.
The breakthrough came in the 70th minute through a great Raul Jimenez strike through a crowded area. Joao Moutinho skipped past Dalot into the area, sending Smalling scrambling. Jimenez tried to find space, and took the shot on the turn, through Lindelöf and past Romero to give Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Just minutes later Diogo Jota found himself with the ball 1-on-1 with Luke Shaw. United went full press to try and equalize quickly, and ended up caught out on another counter attack. Jota controlled the ball really well, shrugged off Shaw way too easily, and beat Romero at the near post. 2-0.
Wolves did well silencing United the rest of the match, and the Red Devils became quite frustrated by their own lack of composure in the final third. Victor Lindelöf received a red card for a tackle that stopped yet another Wolves counter, but was saved by VAR, which ruled a yellow card was more appropriate. Marcus Rashford scored a goal in the final minute of stoppage time, but United were officially eliminated from the FA Cup moments later by the final whistle.
Wolves are deserving winners, outplaying Manchester United in a hard fought 2-1 win to get themselves to Wembley for the semi-final. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are under a bit of pressure now after a second straight defeat. United will have the international break to regroup and refocus before returning to Premier League play against Watford at Old Trafford at the end of March.