Manchester United’s struggles continued on Saturday as they failed to capitalize on an early goal to claim victory over Wolves. Here are three things we learned.
PogBack? Not yet.
After a fairly inconsistent start to the season, Paul Pogba has kicked into gear in recent weeks with a number of impressive performances. The World Cup-winning midfielder scored twice in United’s midweek victory over Young Boys and contributed again in the draw with Wolves. The 25-year-old was instrumental in United’s opening goal with his deft pass setting Fred up to open the scoring, and he looked generally assured during the remainder of the first half.
His performance dropped in the second stanza, however, and a needless loss of possession from him ultimately led to Wolves scoring their equalizer. Pogba’s error on the ball can be forgiven but his feeble attempt to track back and atone for his mistake will have drawn the ire from boss Jose Mourinho. He has certainly improved his performances in recent weeks but he is still some way from being back at his best.
Can Wolves can challenge for a European spot?
Wolves’ early form this season saw them head into Saturday’s match just one point behind their opponents. Nuno Santos’ men have been impressive in the league this season and racked up wins over West Ham and Burnley before taking on United. The performance from Wolves against their much-fancied opposition highlights the intention of the newly-promoted side to be a threat this season rather than to simply survive the drop.
A controversial relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes has seen the club become home to a host of international players including Joao Moutinho whose well-taken goal earned Wolves a point. The influx of talent means relegation shouldn’t even be a consideration and Wolves have proven that they have side which is capable of challenging for a spot for next season’s Europa League.
Alexis Sanchez isn’t earning his keep.
Alexis Sanchez hasn’t scored in the league since March and delivered another disappointing performance against Wolves. The Chilean forward looked well off form again down the left-wing and was ultimately hauled off for Juan Mata in the second half.
Sanchez is on a contract worth up to a reported £25 million a year at United but has failed to live up to expectation since joining the club from Arsenal. The 29-year old looks bereft of confidence at present and lacks the creative spark and attacking threat that saw him terrorize defenders during his tenure with the Gunners. Mourinho has persisted in his faith in Sanchez but it appears only a matter of time before Anthony Martial is given a prolonged run in the first team.