Despite facing challenges, Manchester United continues to demonstrate their ability to secure positive results. In a thrilling match against Wolves, they found themselves in a precarious situation as their lead slipped from 3-1 to a 3-3 draw in the dying moments.
However, Kobbie Mainoo emerged as the hero with a spectacular, curling goal in the 97th minute, relieving the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag and setting the stage for their upcoming clash with West Ham on Sunday.
Notably, recent late-game winners in the Premier League have been dominated by players aged 18 or younger, with four out of the last five such goals coming from Manchester United players. These include Federico Macheda in 2009, Marcus Rashford in 2016, Alejandro Garnacho in 2022, and Mainoo in the recent match against Wolves.
Despite the late drama, Manchester United had opportunities to secure a more comfortable victory, with two disallowed goals and several missed chances. Early strikes from Rashford and Rasmus Højlund, along with a third goal from Scott McTominay in the second half, contributed to their lead.
Rashford’s opening goal carried added significance as it followed a week where he faced disciplinary action from the club for being in a nightclub in Belfast and missing training. Despite criticism of his form throughout the season, Rashford has shown signs of improvement by either scoring (three goals) or assisting (one) in each of his last four Premier League appearances. This marks his most consistent run of goal involvement since a five-match streak between January and February 2023.
Højlund, on the other hand, has contributed to six goals in his last five games for United in various competitions, including four goals and two assists. He is starting to feel more comfortable at Old Trafford, evident in his recent involvement in three goals during the last two home games (two goals and one assist). This is a notable improvement compared to his initial 12 appearances at Old Trafford, where he scored only twice without any assists.
Despite Højlund’s positive impact, Ten Hag faces persistent issues in other areas, especially concerning United’s defense, as they have now conceded 52 goals across all competitions this season. They are the second Premier League team in the 2023-24 season to surpass the 50-goal mark, following Sheffield United (59). Interestingly, this marks the earliest point in a season (32 games) since 1977-78, when United conceded 50 goals in all competitions within 31 matches