Preview: Solskjaer’s United should be beating Wolves and booking an Emirates FA Cup semi-final place


Wolverhampton Wanderers -v- Manchester United

Emirates FA Cup

Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton

Saturday 16 March 2019; KO 19:55 GMT

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Manchester United will be pitted against Wolverhampton Wanderers for the second time this season, this time in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup. This season, United has eliminated Reading (2-0), Arsenal (3-1), and Chelsea (2-0). This test though, based on the form of Wolves after their promotion to the Premier League, could be difficult.

United has seen their confidence levels boosted this season after the sacking of Jose Mourinho and the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Their position in the league may not be secure in the top four but overcoming Paris Saint-Germain and earning a UEFA Champions League quarter-final place against Barcelona, along with their FA Cup position shows progress.

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Form: Wolves unpredictable in their results, United in better form

Manchester United: LWWWDW

Arsenal 2-0 L, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 W, Southampton 3-2 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Chelsea 2-0 W

United need to get back to winning ways after losing to Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend. In the last six matches that have been played in all competitions, Solskjaer’s side has won five and lost once, scoring 11 goals, conceding six and keeping two clean sheets. The match against Wolves is important as it could see United contend for a trophy.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: DWLDWD

Chelsea 1-1 D, Cardiff City 2-0 W, Huddersfield Town 1-0 L, Bournemouth 1-1 D, Bristol City 1-0 W, Newcastle United 1-1 D

Wolves seem to be unpredictable at this stage of the season. In their last six matches, they have won twice, drawn three times and lost once. It is not the greatest form but it adds a certain unpredictability, especially in games like this one, which could mean everything for them, if they can win. United will need to be aware of the threat of Wolves.

Top Scorers: United seem to be better at scoring goals but Wolves are able to score a goal or two

Manchester United: 15 – Romelu Lukaku, 14 – Paul Pogba, 11 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Fred, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Wolverhampton Wanderers: 14 – Raúl Jiménez, 6 – Matt Doherty, Diogo Jota, 5 – Ivan Cavaleiro, 4 – Rúben Neves, 3 – Willy Boly, 2 – Romain Saïss, Hélder Costa, 1 – Ryan Bennett, Léo Bonatini, Jonny, Leander Dendoncker, João Moutinho, Adama Traoré

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Team News: Injury crisis coming to an end for United? Wolves strong for FA Cup clash

Solskjaer has confirmed that United’s injury problems are improving although Romelu Lukaku has been struggling with sore foot and will be assessed ahead of the Wolves match. Phil Jones is available after recovering from illness. Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera have also been training this week; Juan Mata was training at the end of last week. Ashley Young is suspended for this match. Solskjaer said:

“We’re still getting players [back]. They’ve been training better this week so Jesse [Lingard] and Ander [Herrera] have been training.

“Rom[elu Lukaku] has a sore foot so he will be assessed this morning [Friday] so let’s see if he can join in. Phil Jones is back so we’re looking stronger.

“Mason [Greenwood] has been ill, so he’s not trained this week. He might be training this morning so let’s see how he is.

“Sergio [Romero] been absolutely fantastic and he must have the world record for clean sheets in the percentage of games he’s played. He’s kept nine [clean sheets] in the last 11 games, or something like that, in the FA Cup so that’s fantastic.”

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of the clash with United at the Molineux on Saturday evening. Ryan Bennett recently received his tenth booking of the season and will be suspended for two matches, although the suspension will be in the Premier League only, keeping him out against United on the 2 April.

Predicted Starting XI: United could be much stronger against Wolves with injuries coming to an end for some

Solskjaer has confirmed that there could still be absences but also saying that players have returned to training and a decision on match fitness will be made before travelling to Wolverhampton for this match. I have presumed that Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera will both be fit for this game, which may not be the case. Romelu Lukaku might miss out.

Match Prediction: United should be booking themselves into the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend

United and Wolves have played 99 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 15 October 1892, a 10-1 Newton Heath victory. United has won 48 matches, drawn 17 matches and lost 34 matches. There have been eight FA Cup matches between these two teams; United winning four, drawing twice and losing twice.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester United

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