Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Venue: Old Trafford
Referee: Kevin Friend
The ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho, has removed some of the tarnish off him and his Red Devils but face a visiting Wolves side in the same run of form, with both teams racking up back to back Premier League victories.
Manchester United have beaten Burnley and high flying Watford while drumming Young Boys in the Champions League 3-0 with the recently scrutinised Pogba and Martial producing the goods. This is the glimmer of the cohesion and winning performances that the club have been so accustomed to over the past 20 years. Another win against Wolves will only bolster the positivity that has frequently evaded Manchester United since the appointment of the Portuguese coach.
The Premier League new boys visiting Old Trafford have been exceptional so far this season and have done so playing exciting football which Nuno got his team promoted with. Going toe to toe with Champions Manchester City and coming out with a 1-1 draw kickstarted their season which was followed by consecutive wins against West Ham and Burnley. Wolves had 30 shots against Burnley last week which epitomises their attacking style. Joe Hart praised Wolves as ‘the best team to come up from the Championship ever’ after the victory against Burnley.
Wolves can be expected to ask questions of a still shaky United who held on against Watford to seal their third victory of the season. However, the away side are wasteful, converting only a small amount of the many chances they create. Jose’s men are gaining momentum and their big names seem to be returning to form.
Despite Mourinho complaining about the midweek Champions League clash being played on a plastic pitch being a risk to his player’s fitness, he will have to consider replacements for his suspended players.
Matic picked up a late second yellow card against Watford and is ruled out for the game against Wolves; his consistency under Mourinho has been second to none and will be a headache to replace.
Marcus Rashford will accompany him on the sidelines for his headbutt on Phil Bardsley in the win against Burnley.
Fellaini’s man of the match display could see him start against Wolves on Saturday to stake his claim for consistent game time.
Luke Shaw returned against Young Boys in the midweek from his head injury which he picked up playing for England on the international break. His form has outshone that of Ashley Young and he could be set to start ahead of his England colleague. Diogo Dalot could also feature after his impressive Manchester United debut against Young Boys in the Champions League.
Marcos Rojo is close to a return but the pairing of Smalling and Lindelof appear to have settled and look more solid in recent weeks.
Lukaku got on the scoresheet against Watford even though it wasn’t a goal to dominate any highlight reels, which makes it six goals in four games for club and country.
Wolves are likely to be unchanged for there battle at Old Trafford. They’ve already shown they don’t change their style of play when coming up against tougher opposition, so a high-intensity performance can be anticipated.
They will exploit the use of wing-backs like Matt Doherty, man of the match against Burnley, due to their importance in getting around opposition defence and supplying dangerous crosses.
They have talent through the middle from deep and up front. Efforts have come close from Neves and Moutinho, often from long range, while Raul and Jota provide the forward presence.
However, the team need to be more clinical as easy chances often go begging for better quality. Their defence have held out twice but they’re still vulnerable to leak goals.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Manchester United: De Gea; Shaw, Smalling, Lindeloff, Dalot; Pogba, Fred, Fellani; Sanchez, Lukaku, Martial
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Rui Patricio; Doherty, Boly, Coady, Bennett, Castro; Neves, Moutinho; Jota, Raul, Costa
Prediction: Manchester United 3 Wolves 1
The game has more riding on it for Manchester United than Wolves meaning the away side can be fearless in the theatre of dreams. The Red Devil’s need a win to ensure they prove they’re going to compete this season. Being six points off the top so early can be significant when playing others fighting for the title.
United will be expected to continue their run of form and come up against a challenging but open Wolves side.