Express & Star

Wolves 1 Sheffield United 0 - Report

Wolves moved up to eighth and threw themselves into the mix for European football after a tight 1-0 win over struggling Sheffield United.

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The hosts dominated possession but handed the visitors the bigger first half chances, until Pablo Sarabia’s smart header nestled in the top corner.

Wolves failed to build from their advantage in a lacklustre second half, but they defended well to preserve their lead and take all three points on their march for European qualification.

They now face a huge week, with Brighton in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday and a trip to Newcastle in the league at the weekend.


Gary O’Neil named an unchanged starting XI following the win over Spurs and stuck with the 5-2-3 formation.

The bench was also unchanged, with Matheus Cunha sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Chris Wilder made four changes to his United side, who started in a 5-3-1-1 formation.

Ivo Grbic, Auston Trusty, Oliver Norwood and Rhian Brewster all came into the team.

Wolves were dealt a blow in the warm-up when Hwang Hee-chan seemed to go down injured. Despite that, he still started the game.

Pablo Sarabia scores (Getty)

Ahead of kick-off, Molineux paid tribute to former Wolves goalkeeper Paul Bradshaw, who passed away this week aged 67.

Once the game got under way, Wolves enjoyed the vast majority of possession in the early stages as they looked to break the visitors down.

Pedro Neto saw an early shot trickle wide, while Hwang was making intelligent runs behind and seemed to have shaken off his warm-up knock. The visitors, however, were happy to waste time from goal-kicks from the outset.

Although the game was still goalless after 15 minutes, Wolves will have been happy with their output as they put together some good attacking moves.

But the visitors then went close when Brewster had a strong shot saved at the near post by Jose Sa.

Moments later, the striker was racing through on goal but fired over under pressure from Toti Gomes, as United wasted another big chance.

Hwang Hee Chan (Getty)

As Wolves dominated possession and pressed forward, they kept leaving themselves vulnerable in defence and United had another big opportunity. A long ball forward caught out Craig Dawson and James McAtee was in, but his shot was straight at Sa.

Following that chance, Wolves took the lead. Rayan Ait-Nouri picked the ball up on the left and Sarabia met his cross with a delightful glancing header into the top corner.

In a remarkable turn of events, United players Jack Robinson and Vini Souza got into a heated argument and began shoving each other, forcing team-mates to separate them. VAR then checked for a possible red card, but it was not given.

Wolves were finishing the half strong and creating numerous openings, but they failed to add to their tally before half-time.

At the start of the second half, Wolves started slowly and were nervous in possession, as they continued to give the ball away.

Pedro Neto (Getty)

McAtee fired wide for United as the home fans grew frustrated sat Wolves’ start to the half.

At the other hand, the ball caught Souza on the arm in the box and Wolves appealed for a penalty which never came.

Wolves were at risk of giving up their lead as United counter-attacked again. McAtee’s cross was met by Brewster and Sa was just about equal to his shot.

Once Wolves recovered, they came close to a second when Sarabia took aim from the edge of the box.

As the game creeped into the final 10 minutes and United threw on some substitutes, Wolves began to sit deeper. A crucial Dawson header prevented Brewster from meeting a cross at the back post.

Wolves then put in a crucial block to deny Ollie McBurnie’s shot after the ball fell to the substitute inside the box.

In the end, Wolves hung on to see the game out and take a huge step forward in their season’s ambitions.

Key Moments

GOAL 30 Sarabia heads home from a lovely cross to give Wolves the lead


Wolves: Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Dawson, Toti, Ait-Nouri (Doyle, 77), Lemina, Gomes, Sarabia (Doherty, 90), Hwang (Bellegarde, 86), Neto.

Subs not used: Bentley, S.Bueno, H.Bueno, Traore, Chirewa, Fraser.

Sheffield United: Grbic, Bogle, Trusty, Ahmedhodzic, Robinson, Larouci (Osborn, 72), Hamer, Souza (McBurnie, 82), Norwood (Davies, 82), McAtee, Brewster (Osula, 82).

Subs not used: Foderingham, Arblaster, Curtis, Brooks, Sasnauskas.