Man Utd’s best and worst players in important win over Wolves

Manchester United’s Champions League qualification hopes were aided with a 2-0 win over Wolves at Old Trafford.

It wasn’t a great game against Julen Lopetegui’s side, truth be told, with an outstanding performance from debutant Daniel Bentley in Wolves’ goal the real highlight of a sunny Manchester afternoon.

Anthony Martial was United’s match winner on Saturday, slotting home from close range after good work from Antony, before Alejandro Garnacho put the gloss on the scoreline with a fine breakaway goal in injury-time.

But they weren’t actually Erik ten Hag’s best performers against Wolves, who didn’t really threaten in terms of goal threat but worked United over in terms of energy and concentration levels.

There were a couple of standout displays interspersed with some relatively anonymous ones – the best and worst collated here from 90min’s full player ratings.

Bruno Fernandes – 8/10

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes continues to impress for Manchester United / Michael Regan/GettyImages

There’s often a lot of talk about what Bruno Fernandes really offers Manchester United.

Some critics like to point to the Portuguese international’s 18-goal debut season, which saw him bag a further ten in all competitions to really hit the ground running in England. Now, because his output has fallen well below that level, Fernandes is questioned.

The criticism is warranted to a degree – Fernandes doesn’t do enough to help protect leads at times and often lets his fiery temperament cloud his judgment. He can be frustrating with his decision making and gives off the impression that it’s everybody else’s fault.

But in the grand scheme of things, Fernandes is a terrific player. A prolific chance creator, he has that gamechanging ability that few others possess. The knowhow of how to unlock an opposition’s defence; the perfect weight of pass at the perfect time.

Here, United sealed the win thanks to Garnacho’s goal, but it was Fernandes’ precise pass which allowed the counter to come to fruition.

Honourable mention

Raphael Varane – 8/10

Okay, so Raphael Varane wasn’t coming up against the greatest version of Diego Costa, but this was a measured defensive display that shows just how important the Frenchman is to Erik ten Hag.

Cool, calm and collected, Varane brushed off Costa’s aggressiveness with consummate ease, managing the Spaniard out of the game and nullifying any kind of goal threat. Minutes in the tank was the most important thing after a recent injury, but there will be plenty of encouragement taken from his overall display.

Jadon Sancho – 5/10

Jadon Sancho

Things just aren’t clicking for Jadon Sancho / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The microscope has been on Jadon Sancho for a little while, with cynics and general naysayers looking to pick the bones out of each and every performance from the former Borussia Dortmund winger.

Sancho was well below his best against Wolves, that much is true, and he is clearly lacking in confidence. When he’s at his free-flowing best, the 23-year-old will breeze past defenders with ease, make clever runs inside the full-back, and also burst to the byline with a fancy piece of footwork. All of that is missing right now and it’s fair to say Garnacho had more of an impact in ten minutes than Sancho did in 81.

Nevertheless, you feel Sancho is on the cusp of turning the corner, as there are signs of life in his displays. The end of a long 2022/23 season may be just what he needs before reenergising ahead of a potential return to Europe’s premier club competition.

Dishonourable mention

Casemiro – 5/10

For the second weekend in a row, Casemiro was a shadow of the player we saw earlier this season.

Overrun and largely anonymous against West Ham, the good news is that things weren’t that bad for the former Real Madrid anchor against Wolves – but you wouldn’t say anything about his performance was overly impressive. Sloppy in possession, Casemiro was booked for the 13th time in all competitions and really struggled to help United dominate, on paper, inferior opposition.

47 club appearances coupled with World Cup and other international duties with Brazil could be to blame, but United supporters will want the Casemiro of old for their final three Premier League games against Bournemouth, Chelsea and Fulham – a Champions League place is at stake, after all.

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