Premier League

Unsung Hero: Wolves’ Joao Moutinho comes up with crucial set piece delivery

Unsung Hero: Wolves’ Joao Moutinho comes up with crucial set piece delivery

Wolves came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Molineux last night thanks to a sensational equaliser from Ruben Neves early in the second half.

Manchester United had taken a 27th-minute lead through Anthony Martial before a strong start to the second-half from the home side culminated in Neves’ thunderbolt levelling the scores shortly after Raul Jimenez’s flicked header had come off the upright. [via BBC]

Later in the match, Rui Patricio produced an excellent save to deny Paul Pogba from the penalty spot after the Manchester United midfielder won a spot kick for the visitors.

The draw means that Wolves were unable to make it three wins in a row against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, having beaten them in quick succession in the FA Cup and Premier League last spring.

However, Nuno Espirito Santo is now unbeaten against Manchester United in four meetings stretching back to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last September.

Neves’ goal and Patricio’s penalty save were the standout moments in the game from a Wolves perspective, but the man who provided the pitch-perfect delivery from which the equaliser was scored also performed excellently on the night.

Joao Moutinho picked out his Wolves and Portugal team-mate for the 55th-minute equaliser after first playing a clever one-two with Diogo Jota from a corner. [via Sky Sports Football on YouTube]

The 32-year-old midfielder was the highest-rated Wolves player last night according to WhoScored.com and delivered three key passes in the match, more than anyone else on the field.

It wasn’t just Moutinho’s incisive ball distribution which deserves commendation, either. He made a selfless contribution to his team with three successful tackles – only two players surpassed that total last night. He also made one interception and succeeded with one aerial duel. [via WhoScored.com]

The Mirror‘s James Nursey gave the midfielder a rating of seven, saying that he “delivered some great set pieces, including for [the] equaliser”.

Alex Dicken of Birmingham Live awarded him eight, writing: “The tigerish midfielder set the tempo for Wolves in the second half in contesting every loose ball and decision made by referee Jonathan Moss.”

Moutinho’s combination of midfield aggression and astute ball delivery helped to play a significant part in Wolves earning a point against Manchester United, just as Neves and Patricio did with their key moments.

Wolves fans, how did you rate Moutinho’s performance last night? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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