Manchester United will face Wolverhampton Wanderers for the second time in just over a fortnight at Old Trafford, this time in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be tasked with ensuring that Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves side do not break a record as United have not lost at home since the 9 February 1980. In the past three matches against Wolves, United have drawn twice and won once, their first victory over the club since they were promoted at the start of last season.
The signing of Bruno Fernandes has been long-awaited over the past few weeks with a lot of speculation and he is expected to make his debut at the Theatre of Dreams against Wolves, which cannot come quick enough. The creativity and the goals and assists that he can provide will be well-received if he can find similar form in the Premier League to that he had in the Primeira Liga in Portugal. United will be seeking to win to keep their chase of a top four finish alive.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League at the Old Trafford on Saturday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
David De Gea kept a clean sheet against Manchester City on Wednesday evening, pulling off a few good saves, turning back the years to the time where he was the saviour of the club, winning four Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards. De Gea has kept two of the four clean sheets in the past six matches with Sergio Romero keeping the other two. It is a good turn around in form for the Spaniard and perhaps his confidence, which will have grown considerably after Wednesday’s victory over City, despite exiting the Carabao Cup, will have gone much further too.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams
The defence have done well over the past few weeks, despite losing back to back matches in the Premier League against Liverpool and Burnley. United have scored 12 goals, half of them in one game, conceded four goals and kept four clean sheets, which is a major improvement. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has done well defensively, has made the odd mistake and is not the best going forward but he’s trying. He’s the best right-back at the club. Brandon Williams has everything a United player should have, leaving Luke Shaw out in the cold for the time being, needing to show a lot more to win back his place. Eric Bailly has been a substitute on the bench for a few matches now, it is time he started and tried to form a partnership with Harry Maguire as Victor Lindelof has looked poor recently, which might be fatigue due to the amount of football he has been playing.
Midfield: Juan Mata, Fred, Bruno Fernandes
This may not be the best midfield three but with Nemanja Matic’s suspension for the Wolves game and the fact that Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are both injured, this is the best option for this match. I would expect Fred to play the defensive minded position in the midfield. I have chosen Juan Mata over Andreas Pereira, as his footballing brain is much better. I’d leave Pereira out of this match, giving him a bit of a break. Bruno Fernandes needs to start in this fixture. It would be better to ease him in against Wolves rather than against Chelsea in just over a fortnight’s time. He could find his feet right away, or it might take time. However, with the likes of Pogba and McTominay, he should be at his best, as should the team.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James
United need to find a way to get the better of their opposition whilst Marcus Rashford is injured. His performances have been impressive this season and he is missed in this team. Anthony Martial will continue to lead the line, unless United pull of a miracle and sign a proper striker, of which Martial is not. Mason Greenwood, providing he’s fit, should start on the right with Daniel James on the left. Fernandes could ass some creativity to this team, which has been lacking for most of the season. He could even become a second striker – it is a position he has played, to get the goals for United. United need to be ready for the summer to get who it is they need, no excuses.
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong
Injuries are still limiting the strength of this United squad at the moment so Solskjaer will have to make do with the players he has available with a two-week break coming up after the Wolves match, which could help the players overcome fatigue as many have played a lot of football already this season. Sergio Romero will remain on the bench for this match with De Gea keeping his place in the team. Defensively, Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, and Luke Shaw could be available with Victor Lindelof rested due to poor recent performances, giving Bailly a chance to form a partnership. In an attacking sense, United have no other options than the player starting by Jesse Lingard, who was terrible against City, Angel Gomes, who has played little first team football this season and Tahith Chong could be available.