Manchester United return to Premier League action on Thursday as they travel to the Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in a must win fixture for Erik ten Hag. United returned to winning ways in a 4-2 victory over Newport County in the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday afternoon.
United’s form in January seems to have changed with the club going undefeated throughout the month – which involved just three matches; two in the FA Cup – both victories and one in the Premier League -a 2-2 draw with Spurs just over a fortnight ago. United need to keep this form.
United could be boosted with a number of players returning ahead of this match, which is great considering United have been inundated with injuries since the start of the season, one of the main problems for the club – which could well be on the cusp of changing. At Last!
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;
Amad, Fernandes, Garnacho;
Altay Bayindir did well against Newport County on Sunday and should be making his Premier League debut for United on Thursday evening at Wolves. It would be a gamble for United, but what is the worst he could do? Andre Onana has been terrible for much of the season for United.
The Turkish goalkeeper is United’s number one but will be seeking to be the first choice goalkeeper at the club this season and into the future. He could do that by commanding his area and not making mistake like his rival goalkeeper at United. It would be great to see him do well to be fair.
Obviously, Ten Hag trusts Onana after having him in his Ajax side in the past but at some point, if the goalkeeper continues to fail at the club, the manager is going to have to drop him and find other options, of which could be Bayindir. This season has been problematic but could be solved.
Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw
United’s defence now has all but one player back from the sidelines, which is much better than the last few months at the club. Against Wolves, United will need to be at their best defensively as the midlands club will be seeking to avenge their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford at the start of the season.
Diogo Dalot could be starting in the right-back position with Luke Shaw starting in the left-back position, which is great for United as both players have done well for the club this season, with Dalot playing on both sides throughout the season because of injuries.
In the centre of the defence, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez should be partnered once again with the view of United dominating in defence and starting to grind out the clean sheets to overcome the problems the club started with and seemed to continue during the first half of the season.
Midfield: Casemiro, Eriksen
United’s midfield has the majority of the injured experienced players back so far, which is a good sign and can guide United through towards the end of the season. The Emirates FA Cup is United’s best hope of success this season – one can hope at least.
Casemiro should be starting once again in the centre of the pitch as he offers something United have little of this season. Christian Eriksen should also start as this duo have had a pretty good partnership over the last season and a half. But Ten Hag might has different ideas.
It could be that Kobbie Mainoo starts alongside the Brazilian midfielder against Wolves, giving a dup of experience and talented youth, which would also be a great fit at United. Mainoo scored his first senior goal for United against Newport on Sunday and could well thrive again.
Attacking Midfield: Garnacho, Fernandes, Antony
The attacking midfield roles at the club are positions that the players should be doing much better in. So few goals have been created and scored this season – and that needs to. change. Ten Hag will need to make a few changes to his positioning for the remainder of the season.
Bruno Fernandes will play in the central position, his favoured role against Wolves. He will be seeking to do what he does best after celebrating four years at the club this week. Alejandro Garnacho should also start but with him being switched to the right-wing, where he has done well.
Antony, who scored and assisted against Newport on Sunday, should play on the left-wing. I feel that his ability with his left foot could be good for United. I’d like to see more of him in this position this season before writing him off as an expensive flop – something United have seen a lot of recently.
Rasmus Hojlund had eight goals to his name this season. It is nothing to shout about as United had more players on higher numbers last season, but for the 20-year-old Dane it is a good sign as he adapts to life at United. He will be seeking to bag more goals this season.
Since signing for United in the summer, Hojlund had found it hard to get stuck in, with his first Premier League goal only scored recently despite scoring many in United’s ill-fated UEFA Champions League group stage, in which they exited as bottom in the group.
United have few players to fill the void for Hojlund at this time with Rashford out of form and Anthony Martial on the sidelines through injury once again – stealing a living as a so-called footballer. In the summer, United will need to be active in the market for at least one more striker.
Substitutes: Onana; Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Evans; Mainoo, McTominay, Forson; Rashford, Amad
United will have nine substitutes available on the bench against Wolves, with the ability to use five of them throughout the match. Andre Onana could be on the bench for the first time following his participation in the African Cup of Nations. I’d like to see Bayindir in the Premier League.
In defence, United should have Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jonny Evans available. Willy Kambwala could be available too, should any defender not be available for this match. In the midfield, Kobbie Mainoo, Scott McTominay and Omari Forson could be utilised.
In the attacking ranks, United lack options at this time with a number of player heading out of the club on loan this month. Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo could both be available on the bench with all eyes on Amad and his role as a United player this season and beyond.
Written by John Walker