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Phil Jones Plays For First Time In 707 Days; Wolves Win At Old Trafford For First Time In 42 Years

João Moutinho scored the game's lone goal in the 82nd-minute.

Few footballers captivate the planet like Phil Jones.

It all began back in 2013, when, at the age of 21 and having recently arrived from Blackburn, Sir Alex Ferguson said that Jones had the potential to become the greatest player in Manchester United's history, and it continued over the years as the defender smashed his face into every orifice in which a face does not belong.

He was supposed to be a buccaneering center back in the mold of Franz Beckenbauer, but now quickly approaching his 30th birthday, Jones instead found himself making his first United appearance in 707 days on Monday evening against Wolves at Old Trafford.

The last we saw of Jones was in a 6-1 FA Cup victory over Tranmere back on Jan. 26, 2020, but news of his arrival in Ralf Rangnick's starting XI quickly trumped news of Cristiano Ronaldo being handed the captain's armband for only the second time in his two spells at the club. 

Forget Ronaldo partnering with Edinson Cavani or the potential threats of Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho out wide — this was Phil Jones' night, because Manchester United is a Phil Jones kind of club (unintentionally hilarious). 

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If you watched 19th-place Newcastle give the Red Devils more than they could handle back on Dec. 27, the flow of Monday's fixture wasn't a surprise. Wolves should've opened up a lead before halftime but David de Gea did well to deny efforts from Daniel Podence, Nélson Semedo and Rúben Neves.

United improved with the introduction of Bruno Fernandes after 60 minutes but the Red Devils still only managed two shots on target throughout the entire match, so it was ultimately a deserved winner for Wolves when Phil Jones' headed clearance in the 82nd minute fell to João Moutinho at the edge of the area.

It had to be Jones who helped create it, and it had to be the 35-year-old Moutinho (the second-most capped Portuguese player of all time behind only Ronaldo) who gave Wolves their first win at Old Trafford since 1980. 

 The two teams are now next to each other in the table: Man United is in seventh on 31 points, while Wolves are eighth with 28. 

United returns next Monday against Aston Villa in the FA Cup. Wolverhampton plays Sheffield United in the Cup on Sunday.

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