Manchester United will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Tuesday evening – which is also the last match of 2020. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be annoyed with the draw away to Leicester City on Boxing Day and will be seeking to get another three points in the bag in a crucial match for the club, ending 2020 on a high and moving on to 2021. United have shown some improvement this season and had risen to third place in the Premier League, now sitting in fourth before this round of matches have all been completed.
Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen so far this season with United making a bid to have a much better season than last. United may not be classed as title contenders yet but after Liverpool slipped to a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield, it leaves United five points behind the current Champions with a game in hand over them. Wolves drew 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday evening, which kept United fourth in the Premier League table, if the North London club get the victory. When United play their game in hand, they might not be far from the league leaders.
How United have faired against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
United and Wolves have met 12 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won six times, drawing there times and losing three times. United have scored 20 goals against Wolves, winning two penalties and scoring one of them. Wolves have scored nine goals, winning no penalties. United have kept five clean sheets with Wolves keeping two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 17 yellow cards with one red card whereas Wolves have been shown 15 yellow cards and one red card. United will be looking to go back to winning ways after their 2-2 draw with Leicester on Boxing Day.
In this fixture at Old Trafford last season, played on the 1 February 2020, it was a 0-0 draw and Bruno Fernandes’ debut for the club after arriving at the end of the January transfer window. It was not an ideal result, but positive one for a club that had gone through turbulent times during the 2019/20 season and it was going to become more turbulent with the coronavirus pandemic on the way. At the Molineux last season, which was played on the 19 August 2019, it was. 1-1 draw with Anthony Martial opening the scoring in the 27th minute of the match and Rúben Neves equalising in the 55th minute of the match.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
David De Gea started against Leicester City on Boxing Day and despite not having a lot to do during the match, conceded two goals. United, as a team, will need to get to the bottom of the leaky defence and find a way to solve it for the better as this season, in the Premier League alone, they have conceded a total of 23 goals in 14 matches, which is not the best defence in the league, but not the worst either. Liverpool have conceded 20 goals this season, but have scored 37 with United only scoring 30. They are not that far behind though. De Gea has stepped up his form recently but it still a way from being at his best, which is a must for United to prevail.
Defenders: Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
United’s defence has suffered recently with many injuries. Phil Jones has been out since earlier this year and will not play football in 2020. Marcos Rojo will be out until the New Year and at this moment in time, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof are both doubts, with the latter looking like a season-ending injury, which is yet to be confirmed by the club. Against Wolves, United could have Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles in the fullback positions and Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire in the centre of defence, which is not as bad as it could be and might force the club into the transfer market next month, rather than in the summer.
Midfield: Fred, Paul Pogba
The midfield is an area that should be doing a lot better than it actually is. Against Leicester City, Scott McTominay, who started his first game after coming off injured late in the 6-2 victory over Leeds United last weekend, did not play to his potential, seemingly playing a slow game of football, but adding something that he needed to during the match. In this match against Wolves, I feel Paul Pogba should start alongside Fred in the centre of the midfield, which could give United a good opportunity against the Premier League strugglers, giving United the result they need to keep climbing towards the top of the Premier League table.
Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford
Between Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford there is a total of 30 goals and 16 assists in all competitions this season, which is a cracking show of ability from the trio. The area, in the 4-2-3-1 formation is where the majority of the goals have been coming from with Fernandes scoring 14 and Rashford scoring 13, Greenwood getting three goals so far. It is important that Solskjaer keeps these three players fresh for the remainder of the season, especially at this time when they have been playing every three days since the middle of December and that is not going to lighten up much in January.
Forwards: Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani has scored four goals and assisted two more this season, which is a small contribution but in terms of presence on the pitch, he offers a lot to the club. When it was confirmed that he was being signed by United, the negative supporters, of which they are so many to count, said he was too old, despite being around the same age as Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he arrived at the club as a free agent, but has not had the same impact as the Swede. He has shown that he is not past it and has a few more years in him yet, giving the likes of Rashford, Greenwood and Anthony Martial some insight in how to better their game.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Teden Mengi; Juan Mata, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Anthony Martial
United will be able to name nine substitutes in the Premier League for the remainder of the season, utilising three of them. Whilst it is not great, two more players will be able to be named on the bench, giving United more options to change the game, should they need to. Dean Henderson will be available should he be needed in goal. Defensively, Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Teden Mengi could make a difference. In the midfield area, Juan Mata, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could be called upon with Anthony Martial on the bench, which will keep him fresher for the next match against Aston Villa.
Written by John Walker