United demolish woeful Wolves
Leaders go four points clear
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: 18/03/12 5:28pm
Manchester United moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League after they demolished Wolves 5-0 to send them bottom.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men barely had to get out of first gear as they were always in control at Molineux once they took the lead through Jonny Evans' first goal for the club on 21-minutes.
Five minutes before the break and things went from bad to worse with Ronald Zubar seeing red for his second yellow card, and United punished the home side with two quick-fire goals.
First the brilliant Antionio Valencia broke clear and slammed home the second before just minutes later and on the stroke of half time Danny Welbeck side-footed a great finish past the helpless Wayne Hennessey.
After the break and United broke at will and Javier Hernandez helped himself to a brace making it 5-0 by the hour-mark.
Thereafter things could have got worse if not for Hennessey as United cruised to victory which takes them four-points clear of rivals Manchester City at the top.
It was a fifth successive league win for Ferguson's side, who were able to cut through a makeshift Wolves midfield and jittery back four almost at will.
United could even afford the luxury of a rare blank day goal-wise from Wayne Rooney, who was a constant threat.
In contrast, Wolves have now leaked 19 goals in their last five games and 14 in four under care-taker boss Terry Connor which means they have slipped to the bottom beneath Wigan on goal-difference.
On this evidence they are doomed to relegation after three seasons in the top flight and there must be question marks over whether Connor can survive.
The home side, without a win in front of their own fans since early December, began promisingly.
Zubar showed his defensive prowess with a superb tackle to halt the run of Hernandez on the edge of the Wolves area.
Kevin Doyle had Wolves' first attempt on goal but David De Gea dealt with his shot on the turn.
Wolves appealed in vain for a penalty after Rafael Da Silva tangled with Matt Jarvis inside the box.
But United gradually assumed control and went ahead after 21 minutes through Evans's first ever goal for the club.
A deep corner from Rooney picked out the unmarked Michael Carrick who had time to turn the ball back across goal to Evans, who made no mistake from close range.
Zubar became the first player to be yellow-carded after 27 minutes for a late challenge on Rooney.
Then he was sent off after 39 minutes for a second bookable offence when he clattered into Welbeck close to the touch-line.
Welbeck could have made it 2-0 after being played in by Rooney but he tripped over his own feet.
Wolves midfielder David Davis limped out of the action after 42 minutes and was replaced by Eggert Jonsson.
A minute later Valencia doubled United's lead. The winger was allowed a free run into the Wolves box after racing on to Rooney's pass and he drilled his shot past Wayne Hennessey into the far corner of the net.
On the stroke of half-time Welbeck made it 3-0 with a simple finish after Evans and Valencia had combined.
United were soon back on the offensive after the interval and Hennessey turned Rooney's dipping effort around the post.
It came as no surprise when Hernandez made it 4-0 with a free header from Rafael's chip into the box.
Then Hernandez completed United's nap hand after Valencia and Welbeck had combined.
De Gea made a rare save from a Michael Kightly effort before Welbeck was booked for bringing down the Wolves player.United looked as if they could score at will and Hennessey did well to deny Welbeck a sixth goal late on.
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||3|
|3||Shots on Target||9|
|4||Shots off Target||4|
|43||1st Half Poss.||57|
|38||2nd Half Poss.||62|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||16||28|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||16||17|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||16||14|
Wolves v Man Utd
Jez Moxey admits to being 'extremely disappointed' at Wolves' plight, but has called for a sense of perspective in their bid to beat the drop.
Danny Welbeck was pleased to end his recent drought after scoring his 10th goal of the season during Man Utd's 5-0 thumping of Wolves.
Jonny Evans admits he was delighted to score his first goal for Manchester United in the 5-0 thrashing of Wolves.
- Ferguson - Valencia can be key
- Connor - Wolves still believe
- Connor fears for Davis
- Connor - We battled
- Rooney hails Wolves win
- Sir Alex - Race going to wire
- Doyle - We share fans' pain
- Rooney relishing away days
- Connor focused on Wolves job
- Fergie aware of Wolves threat
- Hennessey - We can compete
- Evra out to salvage season
- Henry to miss United game