For the fourth time in all competitions this season, a David the de Gea error directly led to a goal against Man United, who fell to their second successive 1-0 loss at the London Stadium following Brighton & Hove Albion’s successful revenge mission a few days before.
With 27 minutes on the clock, Said Benrahma’s relatively tame effort was seemingly meat and drink for De Gea, but rather than turning the ball behind for a corner, the Algerian’s strike brushed off the palm of the Man United number one into the back of the net.
Erik ten Hag’s misfiring attack was stunted for the remainder of the game as the Red Devils offered Liverpool another slice of hope in the race for Champions League football, although they possess a one-point lead over their Merseyside rivals with a game in hand and are also just two points worse off than Newcastle United.
As Manchester City and Arsenal ride off into the sunset, a third-placed finish and FA Cup glory is now the best that Man United can fight for in the final few weeks of the season, but just two wins from their last six in all tournaments is hardly an encouraging record.
However, what is extremely encouraging is a stellar 27-game unbeaten streak at Old Trafford in all tournaments since Real Sociedad’s 1-0 Europa League success in September, and Ten Hag’s men have kept five successive Premier League clean sheets on home soil, shipping a league-low eight goals at the Theatre of Dreams all season.
Despite boasting such esteemed names as Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla on his CV – winning the Europa League with the latter – Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui hailed Premier League survival as his most important achievement in football following last weekend’s derby success.
A ninth-minute Toti header did the damage for Wolves against Aston Villa, whose subsequent efforts to break down the staunch Lopetegui backline proved futile, as Wolves hit the coveted 40-point mark and guaranteed a spot in the big time for 2023-24 in the process.
Ten points clear of the trapdoor with just three games remaining, 13th-placed Wolves will no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief having confirmed survival prior to trips to Old Trafford and the Emirates, but they have not had their away form to thank for their Premier League status.
While a 1-0 win over Villa made it four triumphs and four clean sheets on the bounce at Molineux, Lopetegui’s men have won just twice on the road all season, going winless in each of their last six and memorably being torn apart 6-0 by Brighton & Hove Albion during their most recent road battle.
Wolves made Man United’s start to 2022 a miserable one with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford last January, but the Red Devils responded by ruining the West Midlands side’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, prevailing 1-0 at Molineux last December, and another low-scoring affair is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.