Match Previews

Match preview: Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Back at Old Trafford following three consecutive victories, United host Wolves in what should be a tactically intriguing clash.

Portuguese managers José Mourinho and Nuno Espírito Santo are on vastly different career trajectories and boast thier own individual qualities.

The contrasting styles of play between these two teams could collide in spectacular fashion.

Kick-off: 15:00 [BST]

Location: Old Trafford

Referee: Kevin Friend


Position: 9th

Top scorer: Raul Jiménez

One to watch: Joao Moutinho

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Dominic Iorfa; groin (day to day)
  • Ivan Cavaleiro; back (day to day)

Team breakdown

Operating in a 3-4-3 formation, the key to any success for Wolves so far this campaign has either been their Portuguese duo of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves in midfield pulling the strings or their direct wingers Diogo Jota and Adama Traore using their blistering pace to create chances.

As the focal point, 27 year-old striker Raul Jiménez has had a decent start to life in England but is definitely a player yet to reach his potential shown a few years ago; however he can sniff out a chance in and around the six-yard box well.

Transformed from midfielder/full back to centre half last season, commanding captain Conor Coady has been a revelation in a three-man back line and will be vital if his side are to come away with anything from this encounter.

Key quote:

“You have to adapt, you have to respect, you have to be humble and recognise you are in the face of a strong team. But you cannot be changed or have fear. None of those things are part of us, we go there as ourselves to compete.” – Nuno Espírito Santo 

Past five United meetings: LLWLL

The Red Devils

Talking points

A comprehensive Wednesday evening victory over Young Boys in the Champions League will have boosted confidence in the camp ahead of this tough fixture but returning to Old Trafford should also help morale.

Momentum has been gained from three away wins on the bounce and the same outcome again would be beneficial with a cup tie at home in midweek to rest key players.

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Ander Herrera; ankle (final phase of recovery)
  • Nemanja Matić; two yellow cards (one game)
  • Marcus Rashford; violent conduct (two games)
  • Marcos Rojo; knock (back in training)

Team news

Diogo Dalot impressed on his debut in Bern but Antonio Valencia is likely to return to the starting eleven due to the Portugal youngster confirmed to start next Tuesday and not for this one.

Conceding just one goal in three away battles, Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling should keep their places but Eric Bailly might come in if Mourinho opts for a 3-4-3 to match his opposition.

Phil Jones is available after a hamstring injury he sustained in the last match at Old Trafford almost a month ago.

Marouane Fellaini is expected to start in his new pseudo-centre back role alongside Fred and Paul Pogba in the middle of the park.

Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sánchez did not feature on Wednesday night so will be anticipating returns to the lineup here.

Key quote:

“The team is resolving the defensive problems better than before. The team is more compact, more solid. The spirit, the co-operation, the empathy, the communication has all improved and good results bring confidence.” – José Mourinho

Possible key battles:

– Lukaku vs Coady

– Pogba vs Neves

– Smalling vs Jiménez

Match facts

  • United have won their last six league games against Wolves at Old Trafford, including all four in the Premier League – one of six sides they have played against on at least four occasions at home in the competition while retaining a 100% record
  • Wanderers have scored just two goals on their previous seven visits to Old Trafford in the top-flight, however those goals have come in their last two trips
  • The Red Devils have lost two of their last five Premier League home games (W3), as many as they had in their previous 43 at Old Trafford combined (W28 D13 L2)
  • Wolves have won their last two Premier League games, both by a 1-0 scoreline – they have not won three in a row in the top-flight since March 1980

Enjoy the match!

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