Manchester United -v- Wolverhampton Wanderers
Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday 13 May 2023, KO 15:00 BST
Manchester United welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. It is one of three Old Trafford matches left this season with four matches remaining altogethers. Erik ten Hag’s side are seeking a big comeback after back-to-back defeats in the Premier League but had had a significant break between matches for only the second time this season. United will need to start getting points on the board to secure UEFA Champions League next season.
Wolves have not had a bad season – currently sitting in 13th place with 40 points, it seems certain that they will be playing in the Premier League next season. It seems unlikely that they will be challenging for European football next season so finishing the season on a high is what will be expected from Julen Lopetegui. He will understand that United will be seeking the exact same thing and will be ready for that. The last two clubs United have played were ready.
I would expect Wolves to be ready too. United have many problems this season and goals has become a big one for them. United seem to struggle to find chances and with injuries at the tail end of the season, it has not been the greatest time for United. But there are exactly five matches left this season and then it is the summer and time to continue the rebuild. United will be in a much better position for the upcoming pre-season tour and then the 2023/24 season.
Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
West Ham United 1-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 L, Aston Villa 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 (7-6) W, Sevilla 3-0 L
Goals: 29 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 8 – Antony, 7 – Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, 6 – Fred, 5 – Casemiro, Own Goal, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Scott McTominay, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcel Sabitzer, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Christian Eriksen, Wout Weghorst, 1 – Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw
Assists: 12 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Christian Eriksen, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Casemiro, Luke Shaw, 5 – Fred, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Anthony Martial, Wout Weghorst, 2 – Antony, Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Marcel Sabitzer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
Aston Villa 1-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 6-0 L, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Leicester City 2-1 L, Brentford 2-0 W, Chelsea 1-0 W
Goals: 6 – Rúben Neves, Daniel Podence, 3 – Hwang Hee-chan, Raúl Jiménez, Adama Traoré, 2 – Rayan Aït-Nouri, Matheus Cunha, Gonçalo Guedes, 1 – Diego Costa, Craig Dawson, João Gomes, Jonny, Matheus Nunes, Pablo Sarabia, Toti, Boubacar Traoré
Assists: 2 – Hwang Hee-chan, João Moutinho, Nélson Semedo, 1 – Rayan Aït-Nouri, Hugo Bueno, Matheus Cunha, Gonçalo Guedes, Raúl Jiménez, Mario Lemina, Rúben Neves, Matheus Nunes, Daniel Podence, Adama Traoré, Boubacar Traoré
Previous Meetings & Connections
United and Wolves have met 17 times in the Premier League. United have won 10 times drawing three times and lost four times. United have scored 25 goals, winning three penalties, scoring two. Wolves have scored 11 goals, winning no penalties. United have kept eight clean sheets with Wolves keeping three. Discipline is an issue with United players shown 29 yellow cards and one red card. Wolves players have been shown 25 yellow cards and one red card.
United and Wolves have already met this season at the Molineux on New Year’s Eve in the Premier League with United winning 1-0 with Marcus Rashford scoring the only goal of the game. Wolves seem to be well into the safety of the Premier League next season sitting 13th in the table with 40 points. It is United that needs to win this match – losing the last two matches in the Premier League, would could risk their top four finish in the league this season.
Jim McCalliog, Scott McGarvey, Darren Ferguson, Paul Ince, Denis Irwin, Darron Gibson and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have all played for United and Wolves during their careers. Irwin and Ince are probably the more well-known players having both done well at United during their times at the club. Ince never left United for Wolves, he signed later in his career after playing for Inter Milan, Liverpool and Middlesbrough post-United.
Lisandro Martinez (foot), Donny van de Beek (knee), Scott McTominay (other) and Tom Heaton (ankle) have all been ruled out of the clash with Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. Marcus Rashford is a doubt with him having just a 25% chance of featuring against them. Alejandro Garnacho returned to the bench last weekend but was an unused substitute. With more training under his belt this week, he could step into Rashford’s place on the left-wing against Wolves.
Raphael Varane has been cleared to be involved against Wolves, a few weeks ahead of time with the Emirates FA Cup final likely to be the match he could have returned for. It will be great to have another central defender back in the squad for the next five matches to end the season. Facundo Pellistri could also get a chance in this match with United light in attacking players with rotation needed to end the season so the team at Wembley can be as fresh as they can be.
Chiquinho (knee) and Sasa Kalajdzic (knee) are the only players that have been ruled out by Wolves due to injury ahead of the clash with United at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday. Boubacar Traore is lacking match fitness and because of that, has only a 50% chance of featuring against United. Other than this, Wolves have a large squad to face United. It will be a good match to watch but it needs to be United who take all three points from this match.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw;
Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho;
Predicted Wolverhampton Wanderers Starting XI – 4-4-2
Semedo, Dawson, Dilma, Toti;
Nunes, Neves, Lemina, Neto;
United will need to be at the top of their game to take on Wolves at Old Trafford. Over the years since they returned to the Premier League, then have been a tough team for United to beat. Last season, Wolves beat United 1-0 at Old Trafford but this season, it needs to be United who win this match. In the last two matches against Brighton and Hove Albion and West Ham United, it was United who lost, losing six points and a chance to secure top four earlier.
However, United do not tend to do things easily with with four Premier League matches remaining, they will need to win at least two of them and hope that Liverpool do not catch them and break into top four themselves. With a win against Wolves, United will keep Liverpool at bay for now. Soon, with more wins, United will have outdone them and kept themselves in the UEFA Champions League places – but that needs to become a reality first before it can be celebrated.
United will need to be defensively astute and creative on the attack to get the better of Wolves. Brighton managed to get six past the club not all that long ago but United will not be able to manage that, unless they have performed some kind of goalscoring miracle in their two days off and three days of training ahead of this match. But to score at least one goal and keep a clean sheet will be good enough for United to win and at the end of the day – it doesn’t matter how you win.
Manchester United 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Written by John Walker