Wolverhampton Wanderers -v- Manchester United
The Molineux, Wolverhampton
Sunday 23 May 2021, KO 16:00 BST
Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: John Brooks
VAR: Andy Madley Assistant VAR: Darren Cann
Manchester United face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday afternoon. United have already confirmed their second-placed finish in the league after their 1-1 draw with Fulham on Tuesday evening but only confirmed their place after Chelsea beat Leicester City later that evening. As it currently stands, Leicester have dropped out of the UEFA Champions League places with Liverpool breaking into the top four, having a better goal difference – it will be a tense final match of the season to see which team takes fourth place. Wolves have nothing to play for in this match but will want a home win.
United face Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday, so there will be many players rested for this match and it is possible that the youth at the club and those coming back from injury get some minutes under their belts against Wolves with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer probably set on his XI for the final. As there is nothing to play for in this match, it would be the best way to go as another injury would severely hamper United’s chances of lifting the trophy in Gdansk. It has been a long tough season and considering where United started, there is an immense amount of pride in where they will finish – not matter what the haters say.
Manchester United: DLLWLW
Fulham 1-1 D, Liverpool 4-2 L, Leicester City 2-1 L, Aston Villa 3-1 W, AS Roma 3-2 L, AS Roma 6-2 W
Wolverhampton Wanderers: LLWDLW
Everton 1-0 L, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Burnley 4-0 L, Sheffield United 1-0 W
Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes (28), Marcus Rashford (21), Edinson Cavani (16) and Mason Greenwood (12) top the United goalscorer charts after a turbulent but promising season.
Manchester United Goals: 28 – Bruno Fernandes, 21 – Marcus Rashford, 16 – Edinson Cavani, 12 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek
Over the last six matches, United’s form changed. They have won two matches, drawn one match and lost three matches. It is the poorest form since the start of the season – which was bad for United. Solskjaer’s side scored 15 goals, conceded 13 and kept no clean sheets. United will end the Premier League season in second place, that already being confirmed after the 1-1 draw with Fulham and Leicester City’s defeat to Chelsea. This last match of the season is a dead rubber for United and Wolves and should be used to give some of the promising youth players a chance to see what they need to do nest season to be give more chances.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Goals: 5 – Pedro Neto, Rúben Neves, 4 – Raúl Jiménez, Fábio Silva, 3 – Daniel Podence, Romain Saïss, Adama Traoré, 1 – Rayan Aït-Nouri, Willy Boly, Conor Coady, Leander Dendoncker, Morgan Gibbs-White, Willian José, João Moutinho, Vitinha
It has been a long and tough season for Wolves. In their last six matches, they have been in similar form to United in terms of results – two wins, one draw and three defeats. However, Wolves have scored just four goals, conceding nine goals and keeping just one clean sheet. Wolves are 12th in the Premier League before the final round of matches are played and if the likes of Crystal Place, Southampton and Newcastle United all win and Wolves lose, they could finish as lowly as 15th in the league. A win would keep then 12th and a draw could see them in the same place, or slightly lower. This is a dead rubber for them as much as it is for United.
Team News: Five players out for Wolves with three players definitely out for United ahead of the final Premier League match of the season.
Phil Jones (knee) and Harry Maguire (ankle) have been ruled out of the final Premier League match of the season with Maguire running out of time to be fit for the Europa League final on Wednesday. Fred and Scott McTominay had received knocks against Fulham on Tuesday with the latter being replaced in the match, but are both available. Daniel James has recovered and will play a part but Anthony Martial (knee) is unlikely to face Wolves. It could be a match where Solskjaer brings in some of the talented youth players, keeping many of his first team players fit for Gdansk, which is the important match.
Daniel Podence (groin/hip), Raul Jimenez (head), Owen Otasowie (knock), Pedro Neto (knee) and Jonny Otto (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit of United in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday. Wolves are in a position whereby they cannot finish any higher than 13th, which is where they sit after 37 matches played but could finish as low as 15th providing Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United all win, which will be a tough one considering some of their opponents on Sunday. It has not been a memorable season for Wolves but they will regroup ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Predicted Starting XI: A youthful squad for United in the final Premier League fixture against Wolves; first team rested ahead of the UEFA Europa League final.
Solskjaer will need to keep his players fresh for the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday evening. Therefore, the majority of the players that will be involved in Gdansk should be kept out of this match. United have nothing further to gain from the Premier League this season and have safely confirmed their second-placed finish and a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. The important match in three days after this one. Hannibal Mejbri, Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga, Ethan Galbraith and Will Fish, among others could find some involvement in this match, either starting or appearing on the bench.
Match Prediction: 13 matches played between United and Wolves; United have won seven times with Wolves winning three with the pair drawing three times.
United and Wolves have met 13 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing three times with Wolves winning three times. United have scored 21 goals against Wolves, winning two penalties and scoring just one of them. Wolves have scored nine goals against United, not yet winning a penalty against them. United have kept six clean sheets with Wolves heaping two. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 18 yellow cards with one red card whilst Wolves players have been shown 16 yellow cards and one red card. Both teams will be seeking to win this match.
Earlier in the season, United beat Wolves 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League with Marcus Rashford scoring the only goal of the match three minutes into added time, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. The last match between the two clubs at the Molineux was at the start of the 2019/20 season with the result a 1-1 draw. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 27th minute of the match, assisted by Rashford. Rúben Neves got an equaliser in the 55th minute of the match, assisted by João Moutinho. In the last five matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, but prior to that, had lost twice in a row in the league and the FA Cup.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Manchester United
Written by John Walker