FootballManchester United

Finishing on a high

Man United edge Wolves 2-1 in their Premier League finale

Strong finish

Manchester United ended their Premier League campaign on a positive note, beating Wolves 2-1 on Sunday.

Anthony Elanga notched his first goal for the senior side, and Juan Mata scored from the penalty spot late in the first half after Nelson Semedo equalised for Wolves.

The Reds finished the season in second place with 74 points, which is the most they’ve collected since getting 81 in the 2017-18 campaign.

Match Story

In the final match for Nuno as manager of Wolves, the Reds stole the show at Molineux Stadium and took the lead on 13 minutes.

Daniel James found space down the left flank and fired a perfect delivery into the path of Elanga.

The 19-year-old headed it home from point-blank range to put United in front.

Wolves had a chance to level the score in the 20th minute.

Speedy winger Adama Traore held up a cross from the right towards Fabio Silva, whose glancing header went wide.

Six minutes before injury time in the first half, Wolves drew level on a fantastic team goal.

Leander Dendoncker sent in Fabio Silva, who squeezed the ball into the path of Nelson Semedo, who rolled it into the bottom-left corner for his first goal in a Wolves shirt.

The Reds had a big chance in the 43rd minute to regain their advantage.

Fullback Brandon Williams somehow found himself one on one with goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Unfortunately, his effort went straight at the Portuguese keeper, who smothered it quickly.

In injury time, United got their lead back.

Donny van de Beek went across the penalty area where Wolves defender Romain Saiss clipped him.

Referee Mike Dean went to the VAR monitor to review the incident and, after a lengthy delay, awarded a penalty after initially not calling a foul.

In what could be his last appearance in a Reds shirt, Juan Mata stepped up and sent Rui Patricio the wrong way to give United the lead again.

Youngster Amad had a glorious opportunity to pad the lead in the second half.

On 58 minutes, Daniel James put the Ivorian in on goal, leaving the teenager with only Rui Patricio to beat.

However, his attempted chip was way off the mark as he mishit his effort badly, and Wolves escaped.

In the end, it didn’t make much difference as Wolves rarely threatened in the second half, and United came away with a comfortable victory.

Man of the Match

Anthony Elanga is one of the many youngsters in the United squad that the club is very high on for the future.

Today he delivered with an outstanding performance, scoring and looking dangerous on many occasions.

The Swedish player showed his tremendous pace down the wing.

His speed and acceleration put the Wolves backline on their heels throughout the match.

He clocked the fastest pace on the pitch at 34.95 km/h and had 24 sprints, more than any player in today’s match.

Road Warriors

Today’s victory means Man United were able to go unbeaten away from home through an entire Premier League campaign.

That’s pretty impressive when you consider they are only the fourth side in English top-flight history to achieve that feat.

Four in a row

Wolves used to save their best for the final day of the Premier League season, but lately, it’s been quite the opposite.

They had won their final EPL fixture in four consecutive outings between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Following their defeat on Sunday, they have now lost their final match of the EPL season on four successive occasions.

On the spot

Juan Mata was the hero with his winning goal from the penalty spot late in the first half.

That was Man United’s 10th goal from the spot this season.

It was Mata’s first in his last 29 Premier League appearances.

That goal tied the club record for most goals scored from the spot in an EPL campaign.

They also had 10 penalty kick goals in 2019-20 as well.

Managers Words

Despite finishing the season in second place, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he couldn’t be happier about his team’s performance in this EPL campaign.

“I was very proud of the players today. They were excellent. Seeing people expressing themselves, enjoying themselves. It was a game in the spirit of Manchester United, Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Sir Matt [Busby] that you give these players a chance.

“I think it is a terrific achievement to go a whole season with no defeats away from home. We knew that by making these changes, we took a risk of losing that record, but we made everyone proud with a fantastic performance.”

On the opposite side, Wolves manager Nuno described the emotions of his final game with the club.

It has been emotional for all of us since we arrived at the stadium. The presence of the fans. It is a special day for all of us but a day of joy. A special day that will stay in our memories forever. I am very thankful to the fans.

“It was a very tough season, but the way that the players have worked, the way that the players have reacted to all the circumstances that unfortunately we have had, I only feel proud of our mission.

“Today was the first day at Molineux of the football we love. There is much more football ahead of us, so we have to look with a smile to the future.”

Next Up

Man United have a chance to capture their first trophy since the 2016/17 season when they face Villareal in the Europa League Final.

The kickoff from Stadion Gdansk in Poland on Wednesday is at 8 pm. (JSL).

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