Wolverhampton Wanderers will face Manchester United at the Molineux Stadium on Monday evening; KO 20:00 BST. The 2019/20 season has been running for Wolves for almost a month, already playing five times; four in the UEFA Europa League and once in the Premier League. Wolves have won all four Europa League matches. scoring 14 goals and conceding just one so far and have earned a place in the playoff round, against Torino. The Europa League participation will ensure their season will be a long one and it will only get tougher for them.
In the Premier League last weekend, Wolves travelled to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City, enduring a 0-0 draw, which was not a great start for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side this season. However, in their first home game of the league season, they will have the chance to make amends by keeping their current top-flight record against United, which is two home matches, Wolves winning both. Wolves are actually undefeated against United, playing three matches last season; winning two and drawing once.
Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo
Nuno Espírito Santo has been the head coach of Wolves since the 31 May 2017. In his first season at the club, he took Wolves back up to the Premier League, earning 99 points in the Championship with his team winning 30, drawing nine and losing seven matches. Wolves finished nine points above second-placed Cardiff City with Fulham eventually winning the playoffs to win the third promotion place in the Premier League. Santo is a great manager for Wolves and has obtained some great results during his time at the club.
In his debut Premier League season, Santo managed to get his Wolves side to finish in the top half of the table – finishing seventh with 57 points. The two other promoted sides; Cardiff City and Fulham were both relegated, meaning Wolves had done well. Santo’s side did well against some of the top six teams, beating Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea, also drawing against Manchester City, United, Arsenal and Chelsea, to name a few. Wolves’ 2018/19 season will go down as a success.
This season, with their participation in the UEFA Europa League, will be a tough one, being that the season started almost a month ago, so fatigue could take hold of the squad at some point, although Santo has been rotating his side, especially during the European matches. As a manager, Santo has only won the Championship but as a player, he has one Copa del Rey, four Primeira Liga titles, two Taça de Portugal’s, three Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira’s, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup. The Premier League will be a dream for him.
Tactics: Wolves play in a 3-5-2 formation which will no doubt make it tough for their opposition, especially those with a weaker midfield, such as United.
During pre-season, the UEFA Europa League and the Premier League, Santo has applied a 3-5-2 formation to his squad, which has largely resulted in success with them beating Crusaders 2-1 and 4-0 (6-1 on aggregate) and beating FC Pyunik 4-0 twice (8-0 on aggregate). It may not have worked so well against Leicester City though, as they managed a 0-0 draw in the opening league match of the season. On Thursday, Santo managed to rest many players, keeping them fresh for the visit of United. Playing this formation, at least in competitive matches this season, Wolves have scored 14 goals, conceding just one.
Raul Jimenez has scored four goals, Diogo Jota has two goals and six assists and Ruben Vinagre has also scored twice. Matthew Doherty, Morgan Gibbs-White, Pedro Neto, Ruben Neves, and Ryan Bennett all have one goal each. This formation could frustrate United with the majority of players being in the midfield area but as long as United use their pace, they could get a result at the Molineux, which is something Wolves will be trying to avert. United will be tested by Jota and Jimenez.
Form: Wolves undefeated in their last six matches which includes one pre-season match, four UEFA Europa League matches and one Premier League match; the draw against Leicester City.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: WDWWWW
FC Pyunik 4-0 W, Leicester City 0-0 D, FC Pyunik 4-0 W, Crusaders 4-1 W, Crusaders 2-0 W, Manchester City 0-0 (3-2 pens) W
Predicted Starting XI: After securing a place in the UEFA Europa League playoff round, Santo will be bringing some of his star players back into the squad to face United.
Match Prediction: Wolves up for keeping United winless at the Molineux but Solskjaer’s squad is fitter, faster and able to apply pressure so it could well be a tough game for the home side.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester United