It would not be the Premier League if the 2023-24 season did not begin bereft of controversy involving VAR after the incompetence in the top flight of English football was once again on display during Wolves’ unfortunate 1-0 loss against Manchester United on Monday night at Old Trafford.
After Raphaël Varane’s 76th-minute header to open the scoring, Wolves continued to push for a justified equalizer and seemingly were on the cusp of being given a penalty when new Red Devils keeper André Onana clattered into Michael Dawson and Saša Kalajdžić after completing misjudging the ball into the box by a considerable margin.
But Wolves were denied a penalty at the time before PMGOL was forced to come out with an apology to boss Gary O’Neil less than two hours after the full-time whistle to admit the wrong call had been made on the pitch before suspending the entire officiating crew from duty this coming weekend.
Though Wolves were gutted by the result, it did not hide the fact that, on balance, they were the superior side on the night and fancied themselves newly-developed masters of transition and counter-attacking football. The likes of Matheus Cunha, Mario Lemina, João Gomes, Nélson Semedo, Natheus Nunes, and Pedro Neto all had fantastic outings, with Wolves now looking likely to avoid the possible relegation that many experts have tipped them for a bottom-three finish.
They now lock horns with high-flying Brighton on matchday two in front of home support against an outfit under Roberto De Zerbi that looks set for another top-six push under the heralded Italian tactician, but if the performance against United is anything to go by, Wolves may surprise once more.
Gary O’Neil has a completely clean bill of health as Wolves are set to clash with high-flying Brighton at the Molineux in another early test in the 2023-24 season.
There is little reason for the former Bournemouth boss to change any part of the team that came so close to sharing the spoils at Old Trafford, with continuity his greatest ally as he looks to right a ship that has plenty of strong timbers among its framework.