Match Previews

Match Preview: Wolves vs Manchester United

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It was back with a bang for United last weekend, putting four goals past Chelsea as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side pummelled their first opponents of 2019-20.

Wolves could only draw in their Premier League opener, although this will already be their sixth competitive outing this season, due to their Europa League qualifying campaign as Nuno Espírito Santo aims to make a continental charge.

It was the same outcome two times at Molineux between these teams, so could be third time lucky for the Red Devils against Wolves?

Kick-off: 20:00 [GMT]

Venue: Molineux

Referee: Jon Moss

Return fixture: 01/02/2019

UK television channel: Sky Sports Main Event/Premier League

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WOLVES

Position: 2nd

Recent form: WDWWW

Top scorer: Raul Jiménez [4]

Most assists: Diogo Jota [3]

Previous result: Wolves 4-0 Pyunik

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Last Sunday, VAR ruled-out Leander Dendoncker’s second half strike as they settled for one point at fellow top-seven chasers Leicester City.

Post-match, Nuno sounded a warning “let’s not ruin it” regarding the Premier League’s latest change.

In that out, their largely unaltered side from their first campaign back in the top-flight saw the debut of £16m Italian striker Patrick Cutrone, who joined last month from AC Milan and grabbed two assists on Thursday night.

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Moving onto Wolves’ European quest, they had to leave man behind on the trip to face Armenian outfit Pyunik as rapid winger Adama Traoré forgot his passport. Although, they didn’t miss him too much as they ran-out 0-4 victors – just like the second leg at Molineux midweek.

Nuno shuffled his pack in that game, with only captain Conor Coady and João Moutinho – who only played 52 minutes – keeping their places from the weekend.

They now go on to face Serie A side Torino in the final qualifying round for a place in the group stages.

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One to watch

As our one to watch, midfield playmaker Rúben Neves is a threat from deep in Wolves’ Portuguese-dominated artillery.

Specialising in long range screamers and set-pieces, the 22-year-old created one chance, played through one key pass, hit three accurate long balls and recovered the ball eight times in 81 minutes at the King Power Stadium. The former teenage Porto captain also scored a penalty in their aforementioned first leg.

Neves was integral in both of Wolves’ wins at Molineux earlier this year, and will need to be kept an eye on given his dangerous quality.

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Expected lineup

(3-4-1-2) Patrício; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Jonny; Moutinho; Jiménez, Jota

Quote from the boss

“We know they’re going to face a very tough opponent – fantastic players, all over the place. We want to compete. We want to play.” – Nuno Espírito Santo

Next match: Burnley [A] 24/08/2019

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THE RED DEVILS

It was quite the start for Solskjær’s side, with Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, on two occasions, scoring to get United off the ground.

New signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka played the full 90 minutes as they put in dominant displays at the back.

James’ goal was a special one, following the tragic passing of his father over the summer – prompting an emotional celebration in front of the Stretford End.

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Marcos Rojo, who was not included in the matchday squad last Sunday like others such as Matteo Darmian, Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, having been with a move to Turkey by the Manchester Evening News.

Fenerbahçe are reportedly interested in a loan deal but talks with Everyone broke down last week due to United wanting the Argentine to depart on a permanent basis.

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Another player who’s time looks to be up at Old Trafford is Alexis Sánchez. Nine assists and five goals in 45 games have seen his stock decrease but his astronomical wages have meant offloading him has or will be an issue.

Various reports have claimed the Chilean is targeting a return to Serie A, in which he played for Udinese for five years, although Solskjær described him as ‘such a professional’ in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

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Team news

Sunday’s skipper David De Gea is likely to have the same back four in front of him, unless Solskjær opts to go with a formation to match the opposition’s.

James may well get his chance to start but given Wolves’ midfield strength and Jesse Lingard pressing ability, it looks reasonable expect an unchanged XI from back to front – five of them being academy graduates.

One man who did not featured on Sunday was Fred but the boss has clear faith him. Solskjær told the press: “We believe Fred is going to have a big season as well.”

Masons Greenwood featured from the bench, and could well enter the fray again given Sánchez’s current unavailability – who’s a few weeks from being ready according to his manager.

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Martial pointed to his new/old number during his celebration last week and told the Club app on Saturday: “Now I’ve taken the number nine shirt back once again, all Ole has said to me is that I have a lot of responsibility and I have to score goals, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Eric Bailly – knee ligaments (next year)
  • Timothy Fosu-Mensah -knee ligaments (next year)
  • Lee Grant – unknown
  • Demitri Mitchell – meniscus (unknown)
  • Alexis Sánchez – hamstring (back in training)

Expected lineup

(4-2-3-1) De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Lingard, Andreas, Rashford; Martial

Quote from the boss

“Wolves will give us a hard challenge, just as much a mental test, we’re in a good place at the moment and when you hit the first hurdle and obstacle you want to see the leaders, anyone can play well when you’re winning 3-0 or 4-0.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Next match: Crystal Palace [H] 24/08/2019

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KEY BATTLES

– Harry Maguire vs Raúl Jiménez

– Andreas Pereira vs Rúben Neves

– Marcus Rashford vs Ryan Bennett

MATCH FACTS [FOTMOB]

  • Wolves lost none of their three games against United in all competitions last season (W2 D1)
  • United lost 2-3 to Brighton in their first away league match last season – they have not done so in consecutive seasons since 1980-81 and 1981-82, with one of those defeats coming against Wolves.
  • Wolves are one of only four teams United have faced away from home five or more times and lost more than they have won (W2 D0 L3)
  • United are winless in their last four Premier League away games (D1 L3) – last enduring a longer such run on the road between April and November 2014
  • With Cardiff City and United, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been defeated every time against Wolves in all competitions
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Enjoy the match! 

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