How else to explain Manchester United somehow coming away with all three points in their season opener against Wolves? For most of the match, Wolves waltzed through the midfield as if David Copperfield had made Casemiro, Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes disappear. Mario Lemina and Matheus Cunha looked the second coming of Ronaldo and Rooney, slashing through our defense like a saw going through a woman in a box, helping their team generate multiple chances that, on any other day, would have netted them three-to-five goals at the very least. CBS Sportsline had Wolves’ expected goals at 2.23 compared to 1.46 for United, and even that seemed to flatter the hosts.
United managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat to score the lone goal, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka, of all people, provided a great cross into the box for Raphael Varane to head home. For the much-maligned Wan-Bissaka, it was either a sign of his improvement as a playmaker or some sort of magical intervention that he managed to float such a perfect cross into the box in the first place.
And, of course, there was the penalty no-call on Andre Onana during second-half stoppage time that made us all wonder if the officiating crew had been brainwashed or deceived by a wizard or warlock of some sort. (Or maybe it was Sir Alex Ferguson, who did the old “Fergie Time” gesture during the match which, surely, exerted some sort of influence on the refs, right?). Onana, who otherwise had a great match and made several match-winning stops down the stretch, barreled into Sasa Kalajdzic with such force and strength that the Wolves’ forward could have filed charges for assault and battery. It was such a clear and obvious error — the kind that led to the introduction of VAR in the first place — that it made you question if you had been tricked by some sort of illusion.
In any event, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. But it’s just one game. And the hallmark of a good team is they find a way to win even when they don’t play well.
And hey, this time last year we were getting beat down by Brighton at home, so I’ll take the magical three points in a heartbeat. Hopefully, we’ll play better this weekend against the Harry Kane-less Spurs. Penn & Teller can play in the midfield, right?