Manchester United -v- Wolverhampton Wanderers
Old Trafford, Manchester
Tuesday 29 December 2020, KO 20:00 GMT
Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
VAR: Simon Hooper Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton
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.
Manchester United: DWWWDL
Leicester City 2-2 D, Everton 2-0 W, Leeds United 6-2 W, Sheffield United 3-2 W, Manchester City 0-0 D, RB Leipzig 3-2 L
Wolverhampton Wanderers: DLWLLW
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Burnley 2-1 L, Chelsea 2-1 W, Aston Villa 1-0 L, Liverpool 4-0 L, Arsenal 2-1 W
Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes has scored 14 goals this season with Marcus Rashford scoring 13. Wolves have scored 14 goals as a team this season so United have the upper hand in this respect.
Manchester United Goals: 14 – Bruno Fernandes, 13 – Marcus Rashford, 4 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, 2 – Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 1 – Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
United have turned a corner this season but still need to be wary of the challenge ahead of them. Some suggest a title race could be on but it is early days to talk about that being that the half way stage of the season will not pass until late January. Bruno Fernandes has scored 14 goals with Marcus Rashford netting 13 times. The closest to them are Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial, who have four goals each. If United get firing into 2021, they could pile the pressure on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City as the season grows on but United will have to make sure they don’t start to become complacent.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Goals: 4 – Raúl Jiménez, Pedro Neto, 3 – Daniel Podence, 1 – Rayan Aït-Nouri, Romain Saïss, Fábio Silva
Wolves have not had the best season in the Premier League and currently sit 11th in the league at this moment in time. In 15 matches Wolves have won six, drawn three and lost six, which is not a great record. They are not in the relegation places yet, not that it is a worry right now but they only sit nine points clear of Fulham who are in 18th place in the league so far this season. United should be able to get the better of the club, who lost Diogo Jota to Liverpool in the summer, also losing one of their top scorers, Raúl Jiménez to a head injury some weeks ago.
Team News: United could be without up to four defenders for the clash with Wolves. However, the visitors will be without three players, possibly another if he has not recovered.
Phil Jones (knee), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (other) and Marcos Rojo (calf) are all ruled out for the time being with Jones likely to be back at some point in January, Wan-Bissaka currently being assessed and Rojo back in mid-January. Daniel James received a knock against Leicester City, which might make him a doubt against Wolves and Victor Lindelof (lower back injury) is still waiting to see how long he could be out of action. Other than this, United seem to have the rest of their squad fit and able to feature against Wolves at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, which is a must-win match for United and Solskjaer, especially after the Leicester draw.
Raul Jimenez (fractured skull), Jonny Castro Otto (knee) and Leander Dendoncker (other) have been ruled out of the clash with United on Tuesday evening at the Theatre of Dreams. Willy Boly (other) missed the clash with Spurs at the Molineux but should be fit to face United on Tuesday evening, giving Wolves a defensive boost ahead of the must-win match for them. United have a poor record at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season, winning twice, drawing twice and losing three times in seven matches at the Theatre of Dreams. Wolves will be seeking to add to that misery.
Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to lead the attack against Wolves with United seeking to raise the stakes in the race to the Premier League title this season?
Edinson Cavani should lead the line against Wolves, supported by Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. Between all four players, there have been a total of 34 goals and 18 assists (52 goal contributions), which is a good sign for United, having a lot of fire power on the pitch against a team they have struggled against in the past. Paul Pogba and Fred should play in midfield with a back four of Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles ahead of David De Gea. United should be able to get a good result against Wolves, furthering their pursuits in the Premier League this season.
Match Prediction: United and Wolves have met 12 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning half of the matches, unbeaten in 75% of the matches played.
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.
Manchester United 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Written by John Walker