Wolves 1-1 Manchester United
Goals: Rúben Neves (£5.5m) | Anthony Martial (£7.6m)
Assists: Joao Moutinho (£5.5m) | Marcus Rashford (£8.6m)
Penalty miss: Paul Pogba (£8.6m)
Penalty save: Rui Patrício (£5.0m)
Bonus Points: Moutinho x3, Patrício x2, Neves x1, Rashford x1
Manchester United’s key attacking assets delivered points on Monday night to add further evidence to suggestions they can be important Fantasy options this season.
After Anthony Martial (£7.6m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.6m) got attacking returns at home to a poor Chelsea defence last weekend, the pair were snapped up in their droves for Gameweek 2.
312,546 Fantasy managers snapped up the England international while 232,598 signed Martial.
Despite concerns that they might not be able to replicate Gameweek 1 form against a Wolves side that often raised its game against top-six opposition last season, Manchester United
They dominated possession and, even though they did not fashion as many opportunities as Rashford and Martial owners would have liked, their quality still shone through.
Manchester United’s only goal of the game came when Martial made a run just left of his centre-forward furrow, spotted by Rashford, and fired high into the net.
Despite two successive games in a row with attacking returns, there are still one or two questions hanging over the appeal of Rashford.
For the second match in a row, he was deployed on the left flank of attacking midfield, acting more often than not as a winger rather than a forward.
While Rashford was still able to link into attacking play well, it might be hard to justify the extra cost compared to Martial, who is being used as the centre-forward with a midfield classification in FPL.
Furthermore, Monday night also demonstrated that Rashford cannot always count on penalties to supplement his attacking returns either.
Despite scoring one last week against Chelsea, Rashford was not considered for the one Paul Pogba (£8.6m) won in the second half at Molineux.
The two players had a quick discussion before the Frenchman took the spot-kick, only to see his powerful effort saved by Rui Patrício (£5.0m).
Pogba has now missed four penalties in 2019 while Rashford has scored all four he has ever taken in his career so far.
Understandably, with Manchester United not winning the game, there was a media inquisition at full-time, in which we learned a little more about the penalty situation.
Last week, Rashford insisted there was no penalty taker, although, at Molineux, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that the Englishman and Pogba form a designated duo.
“The two of them are the designated penalty shooters. It is up to them, there and then who feels that this is mine. Sometimes players just feel that they’re confident enough to score. Paul has scored so many penalties for us and Patrício made a good save. You can see the slides, they’re on the powerpoint. No (it doesn’t change). Not at all. The two of them have been very confident and of course last week Marcus scored a goal, I’m sure he would have liked to take this one but Paul was confident. I like players full of confidence.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“Paul wanted to take it. Everyone can miss a penalty. He has scored countless penalties for us and throughout his career. It’s normal to miss one. We forget about that one and we go again. It’s simple. If you want to take it, you take it. But I took one last week so it’s no problem for him to take one this week. Like I said, it’s unfortunate he didn’t score but that’s football.” – Marcus Rashford
While Martial appears not to be in the frame for penalties, the case for his inclusion remains strong.
His goal at Molineux was the 50th of his Manchester United career, with no other colleague netting as many since the Frenchman’s debut in September 2015.
Owners of Manchester United defenders can probably consider themselves very unlucky not to capitalise on a second clean sheet in a row.
The Red Devils were in control for large spells of the game, in contrast to their previous meetings with Wolves.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have typically risen to the occasion against the top six, especially Manchester United, but they were somewhat subdued for most of Monday night.
They largely sat deep in an attempt to soak up pressure in the first half, which did initially limit Rashford and Martial’s ability to use their pace to exploit space.
However, Wolves’ creative midfield players were stifled by Manchester United, meaning that the home side were limited to playing long balls forward.
This made life very easy for Harry Maguire (£5.5m) in particular, who won virtually every header all night.
Also making a big impact on Manchester United’s defensive potential this season is Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m).
The right-back kept Diogo Jota (£6.5m) quiet and ensured he played a peripheral part in the match.
The Portuguese international will have disappointed his 11.3% ownership as he was forced out very wide for much of Monday night. Two matches in a row without any attacking returns for him and Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) will certainly give their owners itchy feet especially with Teemu Pukki (£6.7m) rising in popularity.
However, there are still mitigating factors for Wolves’ forwards, to some extent. Gameweek 1 saw them play very soon after a 6,000-mile round-trip to Armenia, while it has to be said that Manchester United defended very well on Monday night.
The additions of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka looked to have had a positive effect on the Red Devils’ back-line.
The right-back is also slowly offering more creativity too. In the second half, Wan-Bissaka was making more advanced runs and set up two opportunities for Jesse Lingard (£6.5m).
In the end, the only thing that could breach Manchester United’s defence was a world-class goal from Neves.
Anyone who has ever seen the Portuguese midfielder score for Wolves should have a pretty good idea of what his latest one looked like.
Joao Moutinho (£5.5m) played a ball to him on the edge of the box which he stroked marvellously into the top corner off the crossbar to a roaring Molineux ovation.
While such a goal will have frustrated owners of Manchester United defenders, it won’t be every week they face arguably the best finisher from distance in the Premier League.
Wolves certainly pushed the Red Devils in the closing stages, buoyed by Neves’ goal, but Solskjaer’s men held on for the point.
It makes for encouraging clean sheet potential when Crystal Palace come to Old Trafford in Gameweek 3.
Finally, there are some concerns over Matt Doherty’s (£6.0m) fitness after he limped off at half-time.
There were reports that the right wing-back was struggling in the warm-up but according to the local press, Nuno said Doherty would be “okay tomorrow.”
His departure at the interval allowed Adama Traore (£5.0m) to replace him and it was the pacey wide-man who was the spark for Wolves coming back into the game.
“Traore was able to impact the game directly. We keep trusting him, keep giving him chances to make his impact.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-5-2): Patrício; Boly, Coady, Bennett; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Doherty (Traoré 46′); D Jota (Neto 86′), Jiménez (Cutrone 90+1′).
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Shaw, Maguire, Lindelöf, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Pogba; Rashford (A Pereira 89′), Lingard (Mata 80′), D James (Greenwood 89′); Martial.