Wolves 3-4 Manchester United: Magic from Kobbie Mainoo hands Manchester United a massive win at Molineux

Unbeaten in nine matches across all competitions at Molineux – dating back to the end of September primarily down to Hee-Chan Hwang, who has scored seven times – Wolverhampton Wanderers were still without their top goalscorer due to international committees with South Korea at the 2023 AFC Asia Cup.

Whilst on the topic of goalscorers, the in-form figure of Rasmus Højlund was once again selected by Erik ten Hag to lead Manchester United’s line after finding the back of the net three times in his last four matches.

WOL: Sá; Kilman, Dawson, Gomes; Doherty, Lemina, Doyle, Semedo; Cunha, Neto; Bellegarde
MUN: Onana; Dalot, Martínez, Varane, Shaw; Casemiro, Mainoo; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Højlund

Undefeated across their last three expeditions to Molineux, a floundering Manchester United – still 11 points adrift of the final European qualification position – needed only five minutes to break the deadlock as an exquisite piece of skill on the ball from Rasmus Højlund allowed Marcus Rashford to clinically fire home into the corner of the net beyond José Sá. In response to going behind, Matheus Cunha fired straight at André Onana shortly before the quarter-hour mark, but in truth, it was always a routine save for the United number one to attend to.

Ruthlessly, the Red Devils would double their lead in the 22nd minute, with Højlund promoting himself to goalscorer by instinctively getting ahead of Craig Dawson to subsequently fire home Luke Shaw’s delicious delivery into the danger zone from close range – in doing so, the Danish international became United’s youngest-ever player – 20 years and 362 days – to score and register an assist in two consecutive Premier League matches.

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Already in a commanding position, the visitors spurned two opportunities to take the game away from Wolves even before half-time, as firstly Casemiro headed wide before the record-breaking Højlund mishit his rebound millimetres to the wrong side of the post. United then had another two goals ruled out for offside prior to both teams returning to their respective dressing rooms as the same two players beat Sá, but not the third official’s flag.

On course to end a winless run of four PL away days, United came close to a third goal as another header from Casemiro – who was making his first league start since the opening days of October – headed at Sá. Nonetheless, with it appearing there was no impending danger that the Red Devils would fail in their evening’s overall aim of leaving with all three points, the hosts were handed a lifeline back into the game – via VAR’s eagle-eye – as Casemiro’s foul on Pedro Neto resulted in a penalty being given.

Pablo Sarabia confidently fired straight down the middle for only his second PL goal of the season, however, Gary O’Neil’s side’s brief momentum would be extinguished within four minutes as another introduction from the bench, Scott McTominay, expertly fired home Bruno Fernandes’ corner.

Wolves’ captain Max Kilman set up an enthralling conclusion to the evening, beating Onana from deep inside of the area, which gave the hosts the determination to leave United shellshocked as Neto fired past the Cameroonian goalkeeper at his near post in the 95th minute.

Unbelievably, a bums-off-seat evening at Molineux ended with a match-winner only moments later, as 19-year-old Omari Forson set up fellow teenager Kobbie Mainoo to channel his inner Lionel Messi amid several defenders on the edge, and then the inside of the area, before exquisitely curling the ball beyond Sá into the far corner of the net.

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Late drama moves Manchester United to within eight points of Aston Villa, who sit in the final qualification position for European football next season, while the heartbreaking defeat leaves Wolverhampton Wanderers in the bottom half of the Premier League standings.