In-form Marcus Rashford stepped off the bench to earn Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Wolves on Saturday, a win that moved Erik ten Hag's side into the Premier League top four.
Ten Hag left the club's top goalscorer on the bench from the start due to an "internal disciplinary issue", and saw his team struggle to break down Wolves in the opening period, youngster Alejandro Garnacho wasting the visitors' best chance.
Rashford came on for the second half to give United more cutting edge in attack, showing great strength and composure to hold off his marker and fire the winner 14 minutes from time. The England forward had another ruled out for handball late on, but it mattered little as United saw out their third league win in a row to move above Tottenham Hotspur, who play Aston Villa on New Year's Day, and into fourth. Wolves stay 18th. Read the game back below with our dedicated match blog.
Wolves vs Man Utd latest news
GOAL! Rashford breaks the deadlock!
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 0 - 1 Manchester United FC
14:53 , Alex Young
Marcus Rashford has confirmed he “overslept” and missed a team meeting, hence why he was not in the starting lineup.
Erik ten Hag is taking no prisoners.
Luke Shaw to BT Sport
14:43 , Alex Young
"It's always a tough game. Whenever we come here, it's always close. They're a really good side, it's their first game under a new manager. We showed great resilience.
"It was a poor first half, we know that, the manager told us that, but if you've got someone like Marcus Rashford to come on in the second half you know there's a goal coming.
"He's in a good way at the moment, he's extremely confident, very positive and very happy. Everyone knows he's world class. He can be one of the best in the world if he keeps going and hopefully he does.
"I'm enjoying (playing centre-half). I said to the manager I'll play wherever he wants me to. It always helps with someone like (Raphael) Varane next to you. He spoke to me a lot not just during the game but before. But the most important thing today was winning and keeping another clean sheet.
"I think at a top club like this (there has to be discipline). People can't do whatever they want. Maybe that's been part of the problem in the past, people getting away with silly little things.
"The manager takes all of that into consideration and we've seen if you're not keeping standards high you won't play."
14:32 , Alex Young
Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score the winner for Manchester United at Wolves after being dropped for a disciplinary issue.
Rashford was a surprise name on the bench at Molineux, having enjoyed a fine World Cup with England and scoring upon his return to United in a comfortable win over Nottingham Forest.
But ahead of the game manager Erik ten Hag soon explained why, with the striker being disciplined for reasons which the manager would not expand upon, adding only on BT Sport that it was "our rules".
And Rashford produced the perfect response after being called upon at half-time, by holding off two Wolves defenders to fire low past Jose Sa to send United into the top four.
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97min: That’s it! United move above Tottenham into fourth!
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92min: Elanga and Maguire are coming on.
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90min: Five minutes added on.
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84min: NO GOAL!
Rashford thinks he's got a second but handled in the build-up.
It's still 1-0.
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80min: Jimenez is coming on for Wolves as they look for an equaliser. Podence is off.
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77min: He started on the bench but now breaks the deadlock!
A fine finish inside the area after holding off two defenders.
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74min: Van de Beek is warming up.
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72min: Now Fred has to take one for the team by wiping out Collings, and gets a booking for his troubles.
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68min: BT Sport reporting that Costa suffered a knock, that’s why he was replaced at half-time.
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65min: A great diagonal from Anthony almost puts the ball on a plate for Shaw at the back post, but it’s inches out of reach.
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63min: Martial wins a corner off Kilman. The Wolves defender has been outstanding today, Martial has barely had a sniff.
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61min: Eriksen makes way.
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60min: Fred is coming on.
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58min: Superb strike from Neves, with De Gea an equal match. Great save.
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57min: Cynical challenge from Casemiro on Podence, which gets the Brazilian booked.
Had to be done, around 25 yards from the United goal.
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56min: Fernandes with a truly dreadful attempt from a free kick some 30 yards out. Sailed an equal distance wide as the Wolves fans jeer.
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53min: Fine goalkeeping from Sa again to smother the ball with Anthony ready to pounce. Brave.
He’s had a good game, so far.
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52min: Half-hearted penalty appeal from Anthony after his shot appears to hit Collings’ arm in the area, but the referee isn’t interested.
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49min: Pause in play as Podence gets treatment for injuring himself while tackling Anthony.
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47min: Traore gets to the byline and delivers a perfect cross... just a shame Costa isn’t still on the pitch.
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...and we’re back underway!
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Wolves also make a change as Costa is replaced by Traore.
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Rashford is coming on for Garnacho.
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United should be up at the break, with Garnacho, Martial and Anthony all guilty of missing chances. Wolves plenty dangerous on the break, though.
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47min: Wolves survive, just.
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46min: How did United not score?!
Garnacho’s dinked cross is completely missed by Martial and Anthony’s effort is too weak to deny Sa.
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43min: Wolves rightly looking for Costa in the area with cross after cross, yet the quality of them are just not up to scratch at the moment.
Very frustrating for the home crowd.
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41min: Lopetegui absolutely loves giving the fourth official an earful. This time he wants to know why Casemiro wasn’t booked for blocking off Neves.
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38min: Free header for Anthony inside the area, around 10 yards out, but it’s straight at Sa.
Another good chance, from a great Malacia cross.
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36min: Wolves so dangerous on the break, with Costa so busy. Podence is found on the edge of the area but his volley is straight into Varane.
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34min: United continue to probe, but not doing a whole lot with the ball. Varane tries to find Anthony down the right, but after a few stepovers is easily tackled.
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30min: Superb ball across the face of goal from Fernandes and an even better tackle from Collings to deny Martial a shot on goal.
Best move of the match from United.
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26min: Semedo is the first player booked, for a foul on Garnacho. A bit soft.
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24min: Huge block from Wan-Bissaka to deny Podence inside the area, after fine work from Costa in the build-up.
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21min: Half a sight of goal for United as Anthony’s shot deflects off a defender and almost wrong-foots Sa. The keeper recovers well to save, though.
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17min: Garnacho has to score!
Semedo under hits a back pass to Sa, which Garnacho simply runs onto and into the area, but cannot beat the goalkeeper.
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15min: Nice from Wolves.
Podence produces a fine touch to release Nunes, but his cross to Hwang is overhit.
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12min: Straight up the other end, Garnacho drives at Semedo and into the area before being crowded out.
He’s not shy, is he.
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11min: He takes the corner as well, but United easily clear.
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10min: A great run down the right flank by Bueno to win a corner off Varane.
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6min: Garnacho’s eyes light up as the second corner drops to him on the edge of the area, but his volley almost clears the whole stadium.
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5min: It’s a great routine, which sees Eriksen find Casemiro to head on target but Semedo diverts over the bar.
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4min: Half a shout for a penalty for United as Neves dives in, but the ref awards a corner.
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2min: Early foul on Casemiro from Collings. That would have been a booking if it wasn’t after 90 seconds.
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Here we go!
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A minute’s applause ahead of kick-off for Brazilian football great Pele, who passed away two days ago.
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A very friendly first meeting between Ten Hag and Lopetegui, lots of laughing, smiles and about five handshakes.
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Here come the teams.
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United have a fine record in their final games of the calendar year, going unbeaten in their last 10, a record dating back to losing 3-2 to Blackburn in 2011.
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Kick-off in 10 minutes.
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So, this is a real chance for Alejandro Garnacho to stake his claim after a stunning late winner at Fulham before the World Cup break.
Antony will also be looking to get back on the scoresheet, while Anthony Martial is always working on building form and fitness.
11:49 , Alex Young
Ah, a twist on why Rashford has been benched.
Manager Ten Hag has just told BT Sport that the striker has been dropped as part of “internal disciplinary” action.
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So, the biggest news is that Marcus Rashford has dropped to the bench with young star Alejandro Garnacho replacing the England striker in the only change from the win over Nottingham Forest.
Lisandro Martinez remains out, so Luke Shaw will continue at centre-back.
Matheus Nunes replaced Joe Hodge in Wolves' only change as they looked to climb out of the relegation zone.
Man Utd XI
11:33 , Alex Young
Marcus Rashford is on the bench.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 31, 2022
11:32 , Alex Young
Here’s how the hosts look.
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It sounds like Lisandro Martinez is NOT involved today.
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Wolves appear up against it this afternoon.
Wolves to win: 31/10
Man United to win: 10/11
Odds via Betfair and subject to change.
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Wolves and Manchester United both won the away games between the two sides last season, and a repeat victory for United would be their third on the trot at Molineux - a feat they have never managed before.
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It also sounds like Luke Shaw is starting this afternoon - will it again be at centre-back?
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Man United’s away form has not been entirely convincing in the Premier League, but their fluid front line looked in good form against Forest.
While Wolves will surely improve over the next few months under their new manager, their defence will likely struggle to contain United’s forward stars.
Man United to win, 2-1.
10:39 , Alex Young
Early team news leaks suggest both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia start for Manchester United today.
Man Utd team news
10:38 , Alex Young
Lisandro Martinez has returned to training after his World Cup celebrations and is in contention in a much-needed boost at the back. Luke Shaw was impressive at centre-back against Forest, but will likely not be needed to deputise again with Harry Maguire also available.
Scott McTominay and Victor Lindelof both missed that win with illness and are once again doubts ahead of the trip to Molineux.
Wolves team news
10:22 , Alex Young
Today will be Julen Lopetegui’s first Premier League home game in charge since being appointed in November as he looks to change their form at Molineux.
“It’s very important to play at home and being strong is going to be key in our future,” he told reporters this week. “We know tomorrow we are going to have a lot of difficulty but we have to believe and work very hard and try to take advantage of our strengths.”
Jonny (hamstring) and Boubacar Traore (groin) are available having missed the opening two games after the World Cup break.
“Jonny is ready to play, Bouba the same, that is good news for us. We are going to decide (the team) later,” added Lopetegui.
Where to watch
10:08 , Alex Young
TV channel: The game will be broadcast on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate. Coverage begins at 11:30am GMT.
Live stream: BT Sport subscribers will be able to watch the game via a live stream on either the BT Sport website or app.
09:59 , Alex Young
Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Wolves and Manchester United.
It’s the final day of 2022 and we have an intriguing game at Molineux to kick things off, with kick-off at 12.30pm.
Stick with us.