18th March, 2012
Manchester United went goal crazy as they extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to four points and pushed woeful 10-man Wolves into bottom spot at Molineux.
Jonny Evans’ first United goal broke the deadlock and then Wolves had defender Ronald Zubar sent off before Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck also struck before half-time.
Javier Hernandez’s brace then completed United’s nap hand.
It was a fifth successive league win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, who dominated from start to finish against their ailing opponents.
They 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 replaced Wigan in 20th position.
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.
The England winger then delivered a teasing cross and 10-goal leading scorer Steven Fletcher glanced his header just wide.
But United gradually assumed control and went ahead after 21 minutes through Evans’ 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.
The Telegraph reports that 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 skipper Roger Johnson.
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 Da Silva’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.