If Manchester United’s deadline day was quiet off the field, Kobbie Mainoo ensured that it was anything but on it. A 97th minute winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers from the 18-year-old midfield starlet provided a grandstand finish to what was a thrilling Premier League encounter at Molineux.

Off the field, things were far more low-key with the departure of talented 19-year-old Norwegian youngster Isak Hansen-Aaroen to Werder Bremen the only move of note for the club. Let’s analyse the key takeaways from a fascinating night of action in the Midlands.

Kobbie Mainoo Wins It For The Red Devils In Deadline Day Drama

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United Thrive In Chaos, Not So Much In Control

With Erik ten Hag’s men winning 2-0 after 70 minutes of play, one could have been forgiven for thinking it would finally be a drama-free routine win for the Red Devils. Five goals and 27 minutes later, the final whistle gave way to jubilant scenes as the Manchester United players congratulated precocious talent and academy product Kobbie Mainoo after his technically brilliant, slaloming run and calm finish rescued a victory in a game that his team had once again threatened to throw away.

It has been a reoccurring theme this season, as recently as the FA Cup fourth round tie against Newport County but also notably in the UEFA Champions League games against Copenhagen and Galatasaray away, that the Red Devils have lost control of games they should have won comfortably.

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Why is this happening? Firstly, a combination of a lack of collective focus, evidenced last night with Pedro Neto’s goal in which the team committed far too many players forward and were ruthlessly exposed on the counter-attack.

Secondly, questionable in-game management from Dutch coach Erik Ten Hag, notably when substituting the excellent and industrious Alejandro Garnacho and imperious midfield general Casemiro to hand some initiative back to a Wolves side that should have been buried long before Pablo Sarabia’s penalty handed them hopes of a comeback.

This isn’t the first time the manager’s tactics have been called into question, a notable example being the trip to Nottingham Forest before Christmas, in which the decision to take off the excellent, composed Mainoo in favour of the chaotic and defensively suspect Scott McTominay handed the game to the Midlands side.

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Players Returning From Injury Spark an Uplift In Performance

Despite a terrible first half of the season, conventional wisdom suggested that the easing of a considerable injury crisis would improve Manchester United’s performances.

With the caveat of the quality of opposition, particularly Newport County, the Red Devils have won two potentially tough away games in a row since the return of Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, and Luke Shaw, who all contributed excellent performances in helping United to establish control of two-thirds of the game at Molineux.

Isak Hanson-Aaroen Deadline Day Departure

With the bedlam at Molineux, it would be easy to overlook the one notable piece of transfer deadline day business at Old Trafford. 19-year-old Norwegian youngster Isak Hansen-Aaroen, signed in 2020 during the managerial reign of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has left the club to join Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen on a permanent deal.

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The Norway U21 attacking midfielder was viewed as a potential star of the future but, according to Telegraph football correspondent James Ducker, was demanding wages that the club deemed unreasonable given the player’s lack of experience and pedigree.

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