Manchester United -v- Wolverhampton Wanderers
Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday 1 February 2020, KO 17:30 GMT
Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Harry Lennard, Marc Perry Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh
VAR: Mike Dean Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday
Manchester United will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Traford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It will be the second time that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would have faced Nuno Espírito Santo’s side at the Theatre of Dreams in the past fortnight or so, the third time the teams have faced each other this month with the Emirates FA Cup draw at the Molineux and United’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.
After beating Manchester City 1-0 in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening, despite losing 3-2 on aggregate, Solskjaer’s stock has risen being that he is the first manager to beat Pep Guardiola’s team twice at the Etihad this season and in around a six week period. Solskjaer cannot be that bad at his job to get wins over Jose Mourinho, Guardiola (twice) and be the only team to take points off Liverpool.
Saturday’s match will be a battle for United to distance themselves from Wolves, who have the same number of points after 24 matches, 34. United do have a better goal difference. Tottenham Hotspur are there with the same number of points too, a goal behind United; Mourinho’s side faces City on Sunday afternoon at home. United could utilise the services of Bruno Fernandes in this match which will be good to see.
Form: United in better form with four wins and two defeats in their last six matches whereas Wolves have one win, two draws and three defeats in their last six matches.
Manchester United: WWLLWW
Manchester City 1-0 W, Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-0 W
Wolverhampton Wanderers: LWLDDL
Liverpool 2-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Manchester United 1-0 L, Newcastle United 1-1 D, Manchester United 0-0 D, Watford 2-1 L
Top Scorers: United have scored many goals this season but of late, against bigger teams, scoring goals has been problematic. Could Bruno Fernandes help change that?
Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young
United have improved and will be seeking to keep heading in that direction. February will see the return of Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and possibly Marcus Rashford, seeing the strength of the starting XI increase. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes will be a boost for now but until the team is strong again, his injection of talent may not be fully see. Four wins in the last six matches, two defeats, 12 goals scored, four conceded plus four clean sheets. On the right road, just need to stay there.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Goals: 14 – Raúl Jiménez, 6 – Diogo Jota, 5 – Adama Traoré, 4 – Matt Doherty, 3 – Patrick Cutrone, Leander Dendoncker, Romain Saïss, 2 – Pedro Neto, Rúben Neves, 1 – Willy Boly, Jonny, Bruno Jordao, João Moutinho
Wolves have not been as prolific as they were last season in the Premier League. In the league alone, Wolves have won one of their last five matches, which is not great form. They are, however, in the top half of the table and seeking to finish strongly. They have a talented squad but with their season starting at the end of July in the UEFA Europa League qualification stages, plus the group stage matches, it may have hampered them, playing more matches, which will start again next month.
Team News: Bruno Fernandes to make his Premier League debut at Old Trafford as United look to stop Wolves from getting a victory at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since 1980.
Bruno Fernandes is expected to make his debut for United against Wolves but Solskjaer will be missing a number of players. Scott McTominay (knee), Paul Pogba (ankle/foot), Marcus Rashford (lower back), Axel Tuanzebe (hamstring) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (lacking match fitness) will be on the sidelines through injury whereas Nemanja Matic is suspended for this game. Marcos Rojo is heading on loan to Estudientes in Argentina.
Wolves have one player out of action for this match; Ruben Vinagre (thigh). It will be the clubs second visit to Old Trafford in just over a fortnight with them seeking to rise above United in the Premier League table with both teams, joined by Tottenham Hotspur on 34 points after 24 matches although United have a better goal difference, plus seven compared to Wolves plus three and Spurs plus six.
Predicted Starting XI: Fernandes the creative inspiration in this United squad now? Martial to prove that he’s the best man to lead the line for the club?
Solskjaer now has a creative player in the midfield, one who knows hoe to score, assist and pass to his teammates. Of course, expecting this with new teammates from the off would be a bit harsh but the talent is there in this lad. United may not be at their best until later in February the both Pogba and McTominay are back from their lengthly injury spells, which has been problematic for United this season.
Match Prediction: United undefeated at Old Trafford against Wolves since February 1980. Can Solskjaer’s side keep that run going, earning a valuable three points in their fight for a top four place in the Premier League this season?
United and Wolves have played a total of 104 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 49 times, drawn 19 times and lost 36 times. In the last three matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, last losing on the 2 April 2019; a 2-1 defeat in the Premier League at the Molineux. Scott McTominay opened the scoring for United with Diogo Jota equalising then Chris Smalling’s own goal lost the match for United.
United last lost to Wolves at the Theatre of Dreams on the 9 February 1980; a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One. On the 19 August 2019, United drew 1-1 with Wolves at the Molineux with goals from Anthony Martial and Rúben Neves. In the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, both teams drew 0-0 at the Molineux with United winning the replay at Old Trafford thanks to Juan Mata.
Manchester United 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers