Wolverhampton Wanderers -v- Manchester United
Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
Sunday 29 August 2021, KO 16:30 BST
Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Darren Cann, Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Robert Jones
VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Neil Davies
Manchester United are once again on the road in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon as they travel to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium. Last weekend, a 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary’s saw United equal Arsenal’s 27-match away unbeaten record in the league, meaning that if they avoid defeat against Wolves, the record will be theirs. This will be a good weekend for United, who are fresh from the announcement that Cristiano Ronaldo will be returning to the Theatre of Dreams this summer after leaving Juventus and being linked with Manchester City, which seemed likely to happen then on Friday morning, rumours were rife and by the afternoon, United made the announcement that Ronaldo is coming home. What a day. United need a midfielder this summer, but might not end up with one – which is a shame.
At the time of writing, United sit tenth in the Premier League table with four points from a possible six. A victory over Wolves with give them seven points and keep them up their in the top quarter of the table, which is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking ahead of the first International break of the season. The summer transfer window will close on Tuesday evening here in the UK so there is time for something to happen, but whether it does will be reliant on whether United can offload players who do not really have much of a future at the club. It has not happened so far this summer, so seems unlikely but after what happened on Friday, never say never. United’s start to the season has been better than last season, but there is still a long way to go. Solskjaer’s side got positive news of their UEFA Champions League group too, so onwards and upwards.
Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DWWDLW
Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D, Queens Park Rangers 4-2 L, Derby County 2-1 W
Goals: 3 – Bruno Fernandes, 2 – Mason Greenwood, 1 – Fred
Assists: 5 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Victor Lindelof
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLLWD
Nottingham Forest 4-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 L, Leicester City 1-0 L, Celta Vigo 1-0 L, Coventry City 2-1 W, Stoke City 1-1 D
Goals: 1 – Morgan Gibbs-White, Daniel Podence, Francisco Trincão, Romain Saïss
Assists: 2 – Fabio Silva, 1 – Leander Dendoncker, Ki-Jana Hoever
Previous meetings with Wolverhampton Wanderers and their connections with Manchester United.
United and Wolves have met a total of 14 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of eight matches, drawing three with Wolves winning three times. United have scored 23 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. Wolves has scored ten goals and are yet to win a penalty against United. The Red Devils have kept a total of six clean sheets with Wolves keeping two. Despite so few matches being played in the Premier League, the discipline issues between the two clubs is high with United players being shown 19 yellow cards and one red card and Wolves players being show 20 yellow cards and one red card. This match will be a tricky one for United, as all matches against Wolves are. United won 2-1 in this fixture last season, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford. It is set to be another close encounter against a team that can be difficult.
In recent history, there have been a few players to have played for both United and Wolves. In the 1973/74 season, Jim McCalliog was sold to United for just £60,000, making 38 appearances and scoring seven goals for the club. Scott McGarvey was loaned to Wolves in the 1984/85 season with Darren Ferguson, the son of Sir Alex Ferguson, being sold to the club in he 1993/94 season. Paul Ince, who had previously played for United, signed for Wolves as a free agent in the 2002/03 season, the same season that Denis Irwin left United after making 529 appearances, scoring 33 goals in an almost 12 year stay at United. More recently, Darron Gibson was loaned to Wolves in the 2007/08 season with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson the last player to be loaned to the club during the 2016/17 season. There will be more history between the club, if you do a deeper dive.
Team News: Edinson Cavani close to full fitness ahead of the first international break of the season. Dean Henderson, Alex Telles, Scott McTominay and Marcs Rashford ruled out of the Molineux clash.
Dean Henderson (fatigue), Alex Telles (ankle), Scott McTominay (groin) and Marcus Rashford (shoulder) have been ruled out of the visit to the Molineux Stadium to face Wolves on Sunday. Phil Jones (knee) and Eric Bailly (match fitness) both have a 25% chance of featuring for United in this match with Edinson Cavani (match fitness) having a 75% chance of featuring for his club. This is an important match for United. Jadon Sancho has yet to make the first start for his new club with Raphael Varane yet to make his debut. The confirmation that Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the Theatre of Dreams will be a big boost ahead of this match, despite the player not yet being in the vicinity of his United teammates. There will be a lot of enthusiasm amongst the travelling reds and I am sure the ‘Viva Ronaldo’ chant will be heard throughout the match.
Hugo Bueno (hamstring), Pedro Neto (knee) and Jonny Otto (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit of United to the Molineux Stadium on Sunday afternoon. These are not the only problems for Bruno Lage as Yerson Mosquera (hamstring) has a 50% chance of being fit for the clash and Willy Boly (hamstring) has a 75% chance of being fit. It has not been a great start to the season for Wolves, who have been beaten by both Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, by the same 1-0 score lines in the opening two Premier League matches. However, a change of fortunes in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday evening saw Wolves beat Nottingham Forest 4-0, a match in which United academy midfielder James Garner made his second debut for the club on his second loan spell at the City Ground. Wolves have a well drilled team and can be a threat.
Predicted Starting XI: Greenwood, Pogba, Fernandes and Sancho to lead the attack against Wolves? Van de Beek and Fred in midfield?
Solskjaer will be excited about what this season cold hold for United with the pending return of Ronaldo. But first of all, the club will need to get through this match ahead of the first international break of the season. United have done well so far, not quite brilliant after that Southampton match but the Leeds United victory started the season in style. United will be seeking to get another three points in the bag and break the record for away Premier League matches which was matched last week at St Mary’s.This match could be different for United as Wolves are a tough team to break and with them losing back to back Premier League matches this season, they will be seeking their first won of the season which is why Solskjaer will need to get his team selection right. I don’t think this will be an easy win for United, but it should be a win.
Solskjaer will probably keep David De Gea in goal for this match as he has played in the past two matches. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw should keep their places with Raphael Varane making his United debut after his move from Real Madrid earlier this month. It should give a new dimension to this United team, when the Frenchman has settled into the squad. He might make a few mistakes, as some of the best players in defence have over the years. In midfield, I would like to see Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek in the centre of the midfield with the former doing the defensive work and he latter linking up the the attack. In the three behind the striker, Paul Pogba, who has five assists so far this season, Bruno Fernandes, who has three goals and Jadon Sancho should all start, with Mason Greenwood leading the attack.
Match Prediction: Manchester United should extend their unbeaten away record, beating Arsenal’s 27 match record which was matched last weekend.
This is a match that United should win on paper, but in practise, Wolves will be seeking to get their fourth victory over United in the Premier League. After two back to back defeats in the league this season, it is important that they start to find a way to wining matches under new manager Bruno Lage. Solskjaer though will be looking to inspire his side to victory, getting back to winning ways after the disappointment of last week’s 1-1 draw with Southampton, looking to make their own unbeaten away record in the Premier League after matching Arsenal’s 2002/03 record, which has taken so long to match, let alone beat. This is going to be an exciting season for United with the signings that have been made this season and there is a chance that there could be more business before Tuesday’s deadline.
This first international break of the season will be something that nobody wants so soon into the season but it will also mark the return of UEFA Champions League football which will commence after the international break, complicating the season as so far, United have been playing once a week, giving the players plenty of rest between matches, which will not be the case when the season starts properly. Solskjaer will have a bigger squad this season with the promise of youth being given chances, which could happen in the cup competitions which will give them an indication of the level they will need to rise to in order to make the first team properly at some stage in the future. Getting the needed result in that match is important before any of that happens though and United will be seeking to play in a similar way as they did against Leeds United a fortnight ago.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester United
Written by John Walker