Move aside Mainoo: Man United sensation with 100% pass success was Ten Hag’s real hero

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Thursday night was the deadline for the January transfer window, but Manchester United remained focused on completing their business on the pitch at Molineux.

In a thrilling 4-3 Premier League victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, Erik ten Hag’s team had to muster some bravery to overcome several setbacks.

They took a 3-1 lead against the hosts, which was increased to 2-1 when Casemiro’s controversial penalty for barely touching Pedro Neto was called. However, Wolves fought back, tying the score at 3-3 in the 95th minute.

The Erik Ten Hag Profile
However, Kobbie Mainoo came up to break the hearts of the home crowd and secure all three points for United with a spectacular winner in the 97th minute.

Although the 18-year-old wonderkid stole the show with his late goal, Rasmus Hojlund, the excellent center-forward, was the true star of the show that evening.

Coming of age for Kobbie Mainoo versus the Wolves

The English rookie scored a spectacular goal in the far bottom corner of Jose Sa’s net after a brilliant charge into the box. It was his first Premier League goal.

Together with his three tackles and two interceptions, Mainoo put in a strong effort in the middle of the pitch to help his team regain possession on several occasions.

The adolescent prodigy may believe that he could have been more effective in physical confrontations with the Wolves players, but he did lose seven of his thirteen duels.

In addition, during his more than ninety minutes on the pitch, he completed only twenty-seven passes (84% success rate) without creating a single opportunity for his teammates.

Hojlund, meanwhile, put on an incredible all-around performance as a centre forward to establish United’s early control in the Midlands derby.

Hojlund’s valiant display against the Wolves

After joining from Atalanta, the Denmark international had a difficult time adjusting to life at Old Trafford, scoring 0 goals in his first 14 Premier League games.

With his goal against Wolves last night, where he bundled the ball past Sa after Luke Shaw’s cross, he has now scored three goals in three league games.

The 20-year-old phenom made a telling play with the ball when he got the last touch into the six-yard box by showing incredible athleticism and persistence to get past the defender.

But in only five minutes, the striker had already made one contribution to the game: he skillfully held the ball up to set up Marcus Rashford on the edge of the box, making it 1-0.

Numbers between Hojlund and Wolves (source: Sofascore)

Rating for sofascore




Pass keys




Accuracy pass




Success rate of ground duel


Hojlund was perfect for the Red Devils with the ball at his feet, as the table above shows. In his 25 touches with the ball, he finished all 15 of his attempted passes, produced two crucial passes, one assist, and one goal (from two shots on target).

The United striker also had other instances where he made a brilliant run to sneak in behind a defender but his teammates seemed to overlook him or fail to see him, which may have resulted in more goal involvements from him.

Manchester, Hojlund, McTominay, and United
Hojlund gave an excellent performance overall, and fans should give him a lot of credit because, despite Mainoo’s flashy moment of brilliance, he was the true hero for ten Hag with his near-perfect center-forward showing.

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