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Ratings: Ronaldo, Cavani and Rashford leave Spurs in the doldrums; Solskjaer was spot on today!

Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the Premier League. It was a good comeback for United after their humiliation against Liverpool last week. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 39th minute of the match, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. United doubled their lead through Edinson Cavani in the 64th minute of the match, assisted by Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford scored the third goal of the match in the 86th minute, assisted by Nemanja Matic. United face Atalanta on Tuesday evening, then Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the season next weekend.

It was a mixed start against Spurs with United seeming cautious rather than playing a pressing game, which saw them defeated 5-0 by Liverpool so I guess that is why United were not pressing. The said. it did not take Spurs long to get into the game, pressing United. To be fair, United did well under that pressure but this was not going to be a swashbuckling comeback from the devastating defeat last week. Spurs had a fair few chances in the first half but did not seem to be able to taken them, which is the story of their season so far. United had an ideal match to regain some confidence against Spurs, but it was not going to be easy.

United seemed to continue the caution approach throughout the first half but Spurs found a goal late in the half with Christian Romero tapping in at the far post but the flag was then raised with the goal being disallowed by VAR. United, minutes later, attacked Spurs with the players preying in the final third, passing the ball around before Bruno Fernandes lofted the ball over the defence into an onrushing Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened the scoring for United in their first match after the despicable defeat to Liverpool. It was a positive half for United, even better that Solskjaer’s side were in the lead at the break. This was not over though.

There were not changes at the start of the second half for either team. Ronaldo did score a second goal for United early in the half, but he was offside and the goal was ruled out. It seemed to have been a good game plan for United at this stage in the match, but a second goal should be pushed for with United needing this victory more than anything else in the world right now. There will be some so-called supporters of this club that will have been upset to see United score and in the lead at the end of the first half. These people are not supporters of the club, they just have an agenda that they just want to be correct.

United doubled their lead in the 64th minute of the match with Ronaldo playing Edinson Cavani through on goal, finding the back of the net. It was a cushion for United, but this Spurs side seem to be dejected to a point, which is where United were against Liverpool last week. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 71st minute of the match, with United 2-0 up. Marcus Rashford replaced Ronaldo. Straight after this, Fred was booked for a challenge, minutes after being let off for something similar. Solskjaer made his second substitution in the 76th minute of the match, bringing Nemanja Matic on for Fernandes – it should have been Fred though.

Solskjaer made his final substitution in the 82nd minute of the match with Jesse Lingard replacing Cavani, which left Fred on some dangerous group if he was to get himself booked again. United should have enough talent on the pitch to grind out this victory – which has not been the most entertaining match this season, but a win is a win and United can start getting back to work after their poor period of results. Solskjaer will need to keep players fit for Tuesday’s match against Atalanta in Italy, then the Manchester derby at Old Trafford next weekend – which is an important match for United to get another good result in.

United scored a third goal of the game through Marcus Rashford in the 86th minute of the match. Matic assisted the goal, which shows that Solskjaer chose the right players, formation and tactics today and more importantly, chose the right substitutions as this team has risen above Spurs, in their own backyard, showing them who the boss is. There will still be people calling for Solskjaer to be sacked as their own ego’s will be pressing for that as it is so important for them to be right – even though they have been made to look wrong for the time being. If you support Manchester United, you want them to win, not lose.

Three minutes were added on at the end of the match but United were in a great position to guarantee all three points in this match. It was a good win for United and a better on for Solskjaer. There is still a lot of work to be done at United to get this team firing again but this victory came at the right time. United will face Atalanta on Tuesday evening in the Champions League, before welcoming Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday, which will then see the third international break of the season and the last of 2021, ahead of another important run of matches for United and Solskjaer.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Got his second clean sheet of the season, which is important. Played a good game against Spurs and seemed confident. Did all he could do as this Spurs side played a shocking standard of football - and Solskjaer is the manager that is facing loads of criticism - there are many worse than him in this league.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Played a good game defensively, which was a relief after last week. This formation worked today. Will have found confidence in the clean sheet, which is something United need to achieve more often.

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19 Raphael Varane

The best defender on the pitch today and he was needed. Might have been rusty but played the game and did what he needed to do. The clean sheet was the better result, other than the win. United need more of these.

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5 Harry Maguire

Since his return from injury, he has not been the best. Played better with Varane and Lindelof in the back three, which might be a plan going forward. He will regain his form again. This happens in football.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did well both defensively and whilst attacking. I worked well today for Solskjaer. I would like to see him offer a lot more going forward, but let's walk before we can run.

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17 Fred

Many will have been annoyed to see him start, but he did well. Had a shot on goal and generally played well. He has this in his game, just needs consistency. Booked for a rash challenge and was left on for the remainder of the game, when he could have been substituted for Matic.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played a good game and seemed to be up for this challenge. Showed his pride and generally did his job during the match. There will be some that will criticise his performance.

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23 Luke Shaw

He's lost the form that he was in but it will come back. He played well in the left wing-back role. Got forward at times and will be full of confidence after that clean sheet.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Assisted for Ronaldo's goal, which was the first goal for United. It was a very good ball. I think he started to regress into the second half, which is why he was replaced by Matic in the 76th minute.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Opened the scoring for United with six minutes of the first half left. Scored another, which was offside. Fed the ball into Cavani, who scored United's second goal of the game. It was a much better performance from the Portuguese forward. He was replaced by Rashford in the 71st minute of the match.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Scored his first goal of the season for United, after being set up by Ronaldo. He played a good game with Ronaldo and him up top, and I feel they worked well together. This may not work for every match moving forward, but it was good it was tested out today. He was replaced by Lingard in the 82nd minute.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Ronaldo 71'. Came on and led to find another goal, which was great for him. Used his energy and his presence to add something to United's attack. A good performance for him, which should see him start on Tuesday. Three goals in four games is a good return from injury.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fernandes 76'. Came on to strengthen the midfield at 2-0 up. Assisted for Rashford's goal, which was good for him - his second assist of the season.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Cavani 82'. Should have been Van de Beek coming on. I feel sorry for him. Lingard did what he needed to do and got a run out in this win.

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Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 39′, Edinson Cavani 64′, Marcus Rashford 86′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 39′, Cristiano Ronaldo 64′, Nemanja Matic 86’

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Varane, Maguire; Wan-Bissaka, Fred, McTominay, Shaw; Fernandes (Matic 76′); Ronaldo (Rashford 71′), Cavani (Lingard 82′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Dalot; Van de Beek; Greenwood, Sancho

Bookings: Ben Davies 78′; Luke Shaw 19′, Harry Maguire 22′, Fred 73′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo and Cavani lead the line against Spurs with Solskjaer changing formation and tactics

Manchester United return to Premier League action this evening as they travel to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under severe pressure at this time following the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. United have been poor recently, losing to Aston Villa, Leicester City and Liverpool in the league, and drawing with Everton. United have only beaten Villarreal and Atalanta – both in the UEFA Champions League since they beat West Ham United in the league back in September. United need to find a way out of this poor form whilst they can still make amends.

Spurs have not started the season in style with Harry Kane in poor form, even though he has played most matches since him move to Manchester City fell through, plus he has played for England and based on his individual performances, he should be dropped – but seems untouchable. Spurs have been fragile, despite having much better form, based on results, winning four matches and losing twice. Solskjaer might be at rock bottom at this time but he has the squad to turn this around, which could see them rise ahead of Spurs, with a victory ahead of a tough run of matches lying in wait. Come on United!

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Varane, Maguire;

Wan-Bissaka, Fred, McTominay, Shaw;

Fernandes;

Ronaldo, Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Dalot; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Rashford, Greenwood, Sancho

Tottenham Hotspur:

Lloris;

Royal, Romero, Dier, Davies;

Hojbjerg, Skipp;

Moura, Lo Celso, Son;

Kane

Substitutes:

Gollini; Doherty, Reguilon, Sanchez, Rodon, Tanganga; Alli, Ndombele; Bergwijn

United and Spurs have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 36 times, drawing 12 times with Spurs winning the remaining 10 matches. United have scored 98 goals, winning eight penalties and scoring all of them. Spurs have scored 57 goals, winning one penalties and scoring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Spurs keeping eight. United players have been shown a total of 103 yellow cards and four red cards with Spurs players being shown 93 yellow cards and one red card. This needs to be a comeback for United.

Jack Hall, Jimmy Brown, Garth Crooks, Alan Brazil, Terry Gibson, Chris McGrath, Fraizer Campbell, Chris Jones and Zeki Fryers have all played for both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. More recently though there are treble winner Teddy Sheringham, who made 153 appearances, scoring 46 goals and 28 assists, two-time Premier League winner Dimitar Berbatov, who made 149 appearances, scoring 56 goals and 27 assists and winner of seven or the eight honours United have contested, Michael Carrick, who made 464 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 37 appearances. He is now one of the coached for the first team.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-1-4-1] Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes, Van de Beek and Sancho to start against Spurs? Tactics need to change!

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday evening as they travel to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under severe pressure at this time following the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. United have been poor recently, losing to Aston Villa, Leicester City and Liverpool in the league, and drawing with Everton. United have only beaten Villarreal and Atalanta – both in the UEFA Champions League since they beat West Ham United in the league back in September. United need to find a way out of this poor form whilst they can still make amends.

Spurs have not started the season in style with Harry Kane in poor form, even though he has played most matches since him move to Manchester City fell through, plus he has played for England and based on his individual performances, he should be dropped – but seems untouchable. Spurs have been fragile, despite having much better form, based on results, winning four matches and losing twice. Solskjaer might be at rock bottom at this time but he has the squad to turn this around, which could see them rise ahead of Spurs, with a victory ahead of a tough run of matches lying in wait. Come on United!

Previous meetings with Tottenham Hotspur and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Spurs have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 36 times, drawing 12 times with Spurs winning the remaining 10 matches. United have scored 98 goals, winning eight penalties and scoring all of them. Spurs have scored 57 goals, winning one penalties and scoring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Spurs keeping eight. United players have been shown a total of 103 yellow cards and four red cards with Spurs players being shown 93 yellow cards and one red card. This needs to be a comeback for United.

Jack Hall, Jimmy Brown, Garth Crooks, Alan Brazil, Terry Gibson, Chris McGrath, Fraizer Campbell, Chris Jones and Zeki Fryers have all played for both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. More recently though there are treble winner Teddy Sheringham, who made 153 appearances, scoring 46 goals and 28 assists, two-time Premier League winner Dimitar Berbatov, who made 149 appearances, scoring 56 goals and 27 assists and winner of seven or the eight honours United have contested, Michael Carrick, who made 464 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 37 appearances. He is now one of the coached for the first team.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has been in good form this season. Most of the goals that have been conceded this season were not all errors of his, which is something that seemed regular last season. He has been the payer carrying the team this season and if it was not for him, United could have lost some of the matches in which they have won recently. United have a good squad but the form is not there right now and many so-called supporters on Twitter have put that on the manager. United’s form changed when Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho and good players don’t just perform poorly overnight. There will be another explanation.

However, you will not find any other explanation that ‘Solskjaer is the problem’ on Twitter as it seems to be overrun by so-called fans who don’t care about the club and will just throw disrespect at anyone who tried to defend the manager. Granted, Solskjaer has let this happen and the tactics have been down to him, but it is all something that can be sorted out in time. However, these so-called fans on Twitter don’t want to give any time as the agenda they have built needs to be right for them, otherwise it will be well known that they were not proper fans after all. It seems funny that the majority of match-going fans back the manager!

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

The defence is an area of problems right now. 11 conceded goals in the last three matches gives much room for improvement and it was the captain’s poor performances which was really letting the side down. Now that Raphael Varane is back in training, hopefully he should be ready to get back into action with United still facing some important fixtures over the next week or so. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place at right-back as Diogo Dalot has not really proven himself in the position. At left-back, Alex Telles should be given an opportunity to fit himself into the team seeing as Luke Shaw’s performances have suffered recently.

Providing that Varane is fit, he should start this match with Harry Maguire in the centre of the defence. Hopefully the Frenchman can help raise the game of the captain which could stabilise the United defence, which is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. If Maguire is still terrible, perhaps the captaincy is the most pressure on him, so perhaps that should all change. It is early days to appropriate blame right now and things need to be tried in order to find a solution. Sooner or later, one needs to be found in order for United to turn a corner and get back to winning ways in the form we know they are capable of.

Defensive Midfield: Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic is the only defensive midfielder at the club who offers experience. Scott McTominay and Fred have not been the answer to any of the problems at the club and the duo have hardly shown how undroppable they have been. With a great midfielder at the club in the future, the duo would not really feature in many matches other than the rotation ones. Matic might be getting older and may not be able to put in the performances in week in and week out but he is the most able player in this position as long as other players on the pitch are doing the running.

The Serbian midfielder has a good eye for playing the ball forward and without him having to cover much of the pitch, the likes of Rashford, Van de Beek, Fernandes and Sancho could do all that for him, aiming to supply Cavani who should be leading the line in this match. Of course, with the substitutes available, Solskjaer could change the game at any given time, as long as United are a few goals up, the formation could be changed in-game, which would be some good management, rather than leaving the substitutes so late and rueing the lack of opportunities, which has been the case in the past. Solskjaer has this chance to reduce the pressure on him.

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

Playing in a 4-1-4-1 formation will give United Matic to play in front of the defence, giving four players the freedom to assist the attack, when on the ball. In the moments when Spurs are attacking, the wide players could close down the wide players on the opposition with the central players, helping to defend. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford should be the wide players, as both are very talented and despite Sancho not yet scoring or assisting, he needs to be given sufficient chances to further his career at the Old Trafford club. If Solskjaer trusts these players, he could find the key to unlocking the solution for the club.

In the middle of these four attacking positions, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek should be given the chance to show what they can do together on the pitch. The Dutchman had a great time at Ajax and he is an able player. Solskjaer has not trusted him and perhaps the manager should let him play football. I would rather see him than Pogba, as despite his seven assists this season, he has offered little going forward and let his team down against Liverpool, especially with that smile after he was sent off. No respect given means no respect offered. This could be a great formation for this United team to show themselves again.

Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford

United’s attacking line needs a few tweaks here and they to get the best out of the team. Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line has not really worked out in the last few matches, despite him scoring the winner against Atalanta. Solskjaer needs to find the strengths of his team in this area and have them playing to their strengths. I think Jadon Sancho should be given a chance to shine. United should be determined to hit back hard against Spurs, not only thinking about that 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, but the 6-1 defeat at the hands of Spurs last season. Sancho is a player that has bags of talent but people seem to be writing him off as a fraud.

It is probably the same people that tweeted incessantly throughout 2020, moaning about not signing Sancho and stating that he was the missing link to this team. The same people are suggesting that Solskjaer is not the right manager and Antonio Conte is. I would worry about their opinions. Marcus Rashford should playing on the left-wing, as I feel he seems determined to overcome Sunday’s defeat and help get United moving forward. Edinson Cavani should lead the line as I feel he could be the missing link in this attack. From there, having the Uruguayan in some kind of form, it could be an option to have him and Ronaldo leading the attack.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Fred, Scott McTominay; Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood

The substitutes against Spurs will need to be right. Bringing on Paul Pogba against Liverpool, at 3-0 down was nothing more than a disaster and for that reason, the Frenchman should not be playing a part in any matches for the foreseeable future, unless there are injuries, with respect to next week’s Champions League clash with Atalanta. Dean Henderson will remain on the bench. It does not look like he will get much football at this time, unless it is U23 football. In defence, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw should be available if needed with the latter benched to give Telles a chance to get stuck in for United. A change is always good for the soul.

In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Fred, and Scott McTominay should be available with Solskjaer needing to change things up and not stick with the players that have continually let him down, giving players with an opportunity to prove themselves, especially in the case of Van de Beek. In attack, which is United’s major strength this season, despite that no really being shown recently, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood will be available. Things need to change and I feel this could work. I would like to see two strikers playing at he same time but with Cavani and Ronaldo so similar, it might take something big to make it work.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Under Pressure but will Another One Bite The Dust against Spurs? Solskjaer to unify United?

Tottenham Hotspur -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Saturday 30 October 2021, KO 17:30 BST

Referee: Stuart Attwell Assistants: Harry Lennard, Simon Long

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday evening as they travel to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under severe pressure at this time following the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. United have been poor recently, losing to Aston Villa, Leicester City and Liverpool in the league, and drawing with Everton. United have only beaten Villarreal and Atalanta – both in the UEFA Champions League since they beat West Ham United in the league back in September. United need to find a way out of this poor form whilst they can still make amends.

Spurs have not started the season in style with Harry Kane in poor form, even though he has played most matches since him move to Manchester City fell through, plus he has played for England and based on his individual performances, he should be dropped – but seems untouchable. Spurs have been fragile, despite having much better form, based on results, winning four matches and losing twice. Solskjaer might be at rock bottom at this time but he has the squad to turn this around, which could see them rise ahead of Spurs, with a victory ahead of a tough run of matches lying in wait. Come on United!

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWLDWL

Liverpool 5-0 L, Atalanta 3-2 W, Leicester City 4-2 L, Everton 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-1 W, Aston Villa 1-0 L

Goals: 5 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 2 – Victor Lindelof, 1 – Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

Tottenham Hotspur – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLWWW

Burnley 1-0 W, West Ham United 1-0 L, Vitesse Arnhem 1-0 L, Newcastle United 3-2 W, Aston Villa 2-1 W, NS Mura 5-1 W

Goals: 7 – Harry Kane, 4 – Son Heung-Min, 2 – Dele Alli, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, 1 – Giovani Lo Celso, Lucas Moura

Assists: 2 – Son Heung-Min, Sergio Reguilón, 1 – Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Bryan Gil, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Harry Kane, Giovani Lo Celso, Lucas Moura, Harry Winks

Previous meetings with Tottenham Hotspur and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Spurs have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 36 times, drawing 12 times with Spurs winning the remaining 10 matches. United have scored 98 goals, winning eight penalties and scoring all of them. Spurs have scored 57 goals, winning one penalties and scoring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Spurs keeping eight. United players have been shown a total of 103 yellow cards and four red cards with Spurs players being shown 93 yellow cards and one red card. This needs to be a comeback for United.

Jack Hall, Jimmy Brown, Garth Crooks, Alan Brazil, Terry Gibson, Chris McGrath, Fraizer Campbell, Chris Jones and Zeki Fryers have all played for both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. More recently though there are treble winner Teddy Sheringham, who made 153 appearances, scoring 46 goals and 28 assists, two-time Premier League winner Dimitar Berbatov, who made 149 appearances, scoring 56 goals and 27 assists and winner of seven or the eight honours United have contested, Michael Carrick, who made 464 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 37 appearances. He is now one of the coached for the first team.

Team News: Solskjaer will be hoping that Raphael Varane is fit enough to feature this weekend after poor defensive showing in at least the last three matches.

Paul Pogba has been suspended for the next three Premier League matches after his unprofessional red card against Liverpool last weekend. He will miss the matches against Spurs, Manchester City and Watford. Amad Diallo (Thigh) has a 25% chance of being fit, but I see him more as a player that will feature for the U23’s than the first team, until he is fully fit. Anthony Martial (Fitness) has a 50% chance of featuring for United after missing the last few matches. Raphael Varane, who was injured in the last international break, also has a 50% chance of featuring for United this weekend, which is a must based on United’s defensive failures.

Ryan Sessegnon (Other) has been ruled out for the long term and is the only confirmed absentee for the clash against United. Bryan Gil (Hamstring) has a 25% chance of featuring against United, which suggests he will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Spurs seem to be in good shape ahead of an important Premier League match this weekend, but they are not in great form, which can be said for United too. Spurs Stade started well against United last season, winning 6-1 at Old Trafford, but lost 3-1 at home. They sit a point ahead of United at the time of writing, which will probably see them as the favourites heading into this match.

Predicted Starting XI: A change of formation and tactics could solve United’s problems, or show that the manager and the coaches are the ones lacking ideas – or the players don’t care for this club!

To save himself and get United back on track, Solskjaer needs to change his trusted formation and the tactics, which I feel are a cause of the problems. He also needs to show the players that he is the boss and they need to do what he says, or they will be dropped. This will probably cause the media to hound him even more as they don’t like to show faith as negativity drives hits to their respective websites, which in turn makes them money. It always seems to be United that they are against as that makes them the most money. If Solskjaer cannot change anything, it will only be a matter of time before he will be relieved of his duties.

David De Gea should keep his place as despite conceding 11 goals in the last three matches, they have mostly been defensive errors. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will need to retain his spot as I have no faith in Diogo Dalot. Hopefully Raphael Varane is fit to start as he should partner Harry Maguire, to see if he can find some form after his injury layoff. Alex Telles should be given a shot in the left-back position. Nemanja Matic should play in the defensive midfield position with Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford playing in the four positions behind the striker, which in this match should be Edinson Cavani.

Match Prediction: Manchester United will need to dig deep, root out the problems and find belief, desire and determination to come back from a terrible few months of poor performances and inability.

Last season, United were defeated by Spurs at Old Trafford in a 6-1 thrashing, which was a devastating defeat for the Old Trafford club. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the second minute with Spurs equalising and taking the lead within five minutes. Anthony Martial’s red card saw United collapse with four more goals being scored. At the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, United got their revenge, beating the club 3-1 with Son Heung-Min opening the scoring in the 40th minute, Fred equalising in the 57th minute, Edinson Cavani putting United ahead in the 79th minute and Mason Greenwood securing the victory in added time.

United need to find passion, determination, ability and more importantly a game plan for when things do not go the way that was expected. If tactics and the formation are not changed, United will continue to head in the wrong direction after all this work, which has changed the course the club has been heading in. The coaching seems to be problematic and perhaps some tweaking needs to be done there. After a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Liverpool last week, at the Theatre of Dreams, this team should be losing to hit Spurs hard. If that does not happen, questions will be asked and the pressure will end up ripping everything apart.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Elanga and Mata score to seal United victory over Wolves; Tuanzebe, Telles, Van de Beek and Elanga in running for MOTM

Manchester United beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at the Molineux on the final day of the Premier League season. Their second-placed finish was already guaranteed so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made ten changes to his team. Anthony Elanga scored his first senior goal in the 13th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James. Wolves got one back six minutes before the break with Nélson Semedo, assisted by Fábio Silva. However, in added time at the end of the half, in added time, United won a penalty which was scored by Juan Mata. Hannibal Mejbri and Will Fish made their league debuts with Shola Shoretire also appearing.

United started well against Wolves but it was the home club who got the first chance in the match with Adama Traore having a shot on goal in the second minute, which was off target. Anthony Elanga had a few good chances in the early stages of the match but his luck was not there was he tried to score his first senior goal for the club. However, that came in the 13th minute of the match after Daniel James played the cross into the box and Elanga opened the scoring for his club with a superb finish. Thats what Solskjaer will be happy to see at this stage of the season, another youth player blooded into the squad and scoring his first goal.

In the 17th minute of the match Eric Bailly had a chance with a header in the box after the ball was played in by Alex Telles but the Ivorian missed the target with his header. Fabio Silva had a chance for Wolves minutes later after the ball was played in by Traore, however his effort was wide of the target too. Wolves then seemed to be getting comfortable attacking United, camping on the edge of the box and sending balls into the box to find an equaliser, but their final ball quality was lacking to do some real damage to United. Solskjaer’s side seemed comfortable defensively at this time, which was a good sign – but no need for complacency though.

Wolves were forced into a substitution in the 27th minute with Traore unable to continue after seemingly diving in the box and suffering from something as a result of that. Willian José was the player brought on to replace him, which took some attacking threat off the pitch at that time. It was a pretty even match from there with chances being crested by both teams, but neither finding a goalscoring opportunity. However, in the 39th minute of the match, Nelson Semedo found the equaliser after United’s defence was split with Dean Henderson being beaten from a slight deflection off Bailly. United would now need to dig deeper to get the win.

United had a good chance to take the lead again minutes after Wolves’ equaliser with Brandon Williams the player furthest forward and firing to the bottom right corner, which was saved by Rui Patricio. Telles then had a shot on goal after being played in by Elanga, but his effort was high and wide of the target. United then spend some time on the edge of the Wolves area, trying to force themselves into the box with the ball to find a second goal. In added time at the end of the first half, there was penalty shout for United after Donny van de Beek was fouled in the box. Mike Dean did not give it but VAR intervened. The penalty was given.

Juan Mata took the penalty, restoring United’s lead in the fourth minute of added time in the first half. There was not much left to play ahead of the break, which once against sees Wolves behind. The supporters in the stadium were not happy with the penalty decision, but they will have to live with that. United were back in front with 45 minute of the season left to play before United’s biggest match of the season – the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdańsk. Solskjaer will have been happy that his gamble, resting the majority of his first-choice XI, has, at least so far, paid off with United 2-1 up at the break.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half of the match. There were chances for both teams in the opening stages of the second half with the best chance coming in the 58th minute after Amad Diallo played the ball into Daniel James, who tried to dink the goalkeeper from close range but ended up putting his shot off target, which could have seen United go 3-1 up inn the match. Before that chance, Dean Henderson was booked for time wasting, which is a warning sign for him and United. Wolves made their second substitution on the hour mark with Leander Dendoncker being replaced by Morgan Gibbs-White.

Solskjaer made double substitution in the 82nd minute of the match with Hannibal Mejbri replacing Mata, making his Premier League debut and Shola Shoretire replaced Amad Diallo. It was a good feeling for the two youth players, one of which (Shoretire) came through the academy with Hannibal signing for the club during the summer of 2019. He did say he wanted to play for the first team within two years and he seems to have achieved that. It will be a cameo for both players. Hannibal was perhaps the player that showed his gratitude for the appearance against Wolves, looking up for the challenge on his first team debut.

Five minutes were added on at the end of the second half with Wolves pushing for another equaliser but so far, Axel Tuanzebe doing everything he could to stop that from happening. He really is a player that should be afforded more time on the pitch for United. He has everything in his locker to achieve something at this club and could well be a player that offers more than Eric Bailly and Phil Jones in the future for United. Solskjaer made a final substitution in the fifth minute of added time with Will Fish replacing Daniel James. He did not have much time on the pitch but will be happy with his Premier League debut this season.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Conceded in the 39th minute with Semedo finding the equaliser. Made a few good saves to deny Wolves. Booked in the second half. He put the effort into his performance and is deserving of his place in this squad. He's the future, not matter what those who lack patience say.

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33 Brandon Williams

Having not player frequently this season, this was a good performance from the academy graduate. He's not first choice and should perhaps have a season out on loan. Did what he needed to do today and could have had a goal in the first half.

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3 Eric Bailly

Now the best central defender on this day. The Wolves goal had a slight deflection off him. Tuanzebe was the player that stood up and was counted in this match. United can do much better than Bailly but he is a handy squad player, if he stays at the club.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Was the better performer for me against Wolves. He seems to be aiming to prove himself for the Europa League final should Maguire not make it and deservedly so. United should offer Tuanzebe a new long-term contract and give hims a guarantee of minutes on the pitch as if they lose him, they will be losing a player who has the belief, talent and determination to succeed at the club.

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27 Alex Telles

Did what was expected from him, although Shaw is still ahead of him at this time. It was a positive performance for him. Will be looking forward to Wednesday now.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played a solid game for United. Dependable, experienced and gave his all on the pitch.

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34 Donny van de Beek

ad a largely positive performance at times. Won the penalty for United ahead of the break.

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16 Amad Diallo

Seemed to be getting up to speed in the Premier League. Played some good passes from the right-wing, including a good through-ball for James, who tried to chip the keeper which saw his effort going wide of the target. Came off in the 82nd minute with Shoretire replacing him.

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8 Juan Mata

Put United ahead before the break form the penalty spot. It could well be his last appearance for United and it was good that he could sign off with another goal. He's been a great player for United in his seven years at the club. Came off in the 82nd minute with Hannibal replacing him.

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Ratings: Elanga and Mata score to seal United victory over Wolves; Tuanzebe, Telles, Van de Beek and Elanga in running for MOTM

Got the assist for Elanga's goal, which was a good ball to play into the box for the academy graduate. Had the chance to put United further ahead but tried to chip the keeper, resulting in his shot way off target. His final ball needs to improve. Fish replaced him in the fifth minute of added time.

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36 Anthony Elanga

Scored his first senior goal in the 13th minute of the match, having two credible chances prior to that. It was a good strike from the academy graduate and was great to see. Played well for the remainder of the match.

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Substitutes

46 Hannibal Mejbri

Replaced Mata 82'. Looked up for the challenge and picked up the ball in some good positions. Great to see another youth player blooded into this team.

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47 Shola Shoretire

Replaced Amad 82'. Had some involvement against Wolves, which helped peg the home side back. Did what was expected of him.

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48 Will Fish

Replaced James 90+5'. Came on at the death. It was nothing more than a cameo but yet another player ingrained into the DNA of the club.

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Goals: Nélson Semedo 39′; Anthony Elanga 13’, Juan Mata 45+4′ penalty

Assists: Fábio Silva 39′; Daniel James 13’

Manchester United: Henderson; Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles; Matic, Van de Beek, Amad (Shoretire 82′), Mata (Hannibal 82′), James (Fish 90+5′); Elanga

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay; Rashford, Greenwood

Bookings: Rayan Ait-Nouri 41′, Leander Dendoncker 41′, Moron Gibbs-White 90+6′; Dean Henderson 57′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Amad, Mata, James and Elanga lead the line against Wolves; Hannibal, Fish and Shoretire on the bench

Manchester United face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux in the final Premier League match of the season this 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:

Henderson;

Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles;

Matic, Van de Beek, Mata;

Amad, Mata, James;

Elanga

Substitutes:

Grant; Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka, Fish; McTominay, Hannibal, Shoretire; Rashford, Greenwood

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Patricio;

Boly, Coady, Saiss;

Dendoncker;

Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri;

Traore, Silva

Substitutes:

Ruddy, Söndergaard; Hoever, Marçal, Kilman; Gibbs-White, Vitinha; José

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Elanga, Amad, Hannibal, Shoretire and Galbraith to start against Wolves? Bigger eyes on Villarreal?

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.

How United have faired against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Wolves in the Premier League at the Molineux on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson has had a largely positive season, despite that 4-2 defeat to Liverpool last week. He did not feature against Fulham on Tuesday so will be in line to start this match with David De Gea likely to start in the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal on Wednesday. Henderson has made a positive start at United, making 25 appearances for the club, keeping 13 clean sheets and conceding 21 goals in all competitions. It is not the best but for a player that made his Premier League debut during the 2019/20 season, he is not expected to be as good as the likes of Peter Schmeichel or Edin van der Sar at this time, at least by the supporters of the club who know what to expect and do not rely on computer games to level expectation.

Defenders: Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Alex Telles

The defence has suffered a big blow this season with the recent injury to Harry Maguire. United have conceded seven goals in the last three matches without the captain on the pitch. He’s likely to miss the UEFA Europa League final too, if you believe what Solskjaer says. There could be a game being played here – hopefully. Against Wolves, Brandon Williams and Alex Telles could feature in the fullback positions with no need to further tire Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw. Eric Bailly could play as the right-sided central defender with Axel Tuanzebe on the right – although he could be the player that steps in for Maguire if he is ruled out of the final on Wednesday, which is yet to be confirmed. It is not ideal but there is a more important match on the horizon.

Midfield: Ethan Galbraith, Donny van de Beek

The midfield would be better if the main players in the first team were rested. Scott McTominay and Fred normally feature here with Paul Pogba also featuring at times, when he has not featured on the left-wing. Against Wolves, keeping these players rested is important. Therefore, Ethan Galbraith should be starting for the club as he really is a talented midfielder and could show his manager what he is capable of ahead of pre-season and the new season, which I am sure many of these players will have involvement, especially pre-season because of the Euro’s this summer. Donny van de Beek could partner him in the midfield, adding some experience but also a player on the fringes of the first team. It will probably do for United.

Attacking Midfield: Amad Diallo, Hannibal Mejbri, Daniel James

Solskjaer should rest the liked of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford for this match as they will be better off being fully fit for the clash with Villarreal on Wednesday in Gdansk. Amad Diallo should be starting on the right-wing as he could use this match to show him the level that he would need to compete at next season, to get his place in the first team cemented – which will be tough. Hannibal Mejbri could all feature in the number ten position ahead of Fernandes. The Frenchman scored five goals and 10 assists at U23 level this season but he perhaps needs to control his anger at times. Daniel James should be back from injury and could start on the left-wing, giving this youthful side some experience in attack.

Forwards: Anthony Elanga

Anthony Elanga played well against Leicester City last week and he could be in line to start for United once again this season. It would be good to see more of him ahead of next season, when it is suggested that he will be a first team player, which shows Solskjaer has his eyes on him and is seeking a way to bolster his squad for the long, hard season they will feature in. At U23 level this season, Elanga scored 11 goals and four assists throughout the season, finishing as the top scorer for United at that level. It seems to be time for him to get more advanced football and that could be a good thing for him, especially with it likely to get more difficult for players at United after the summer transfer window.

Substitutes: Nathan Bishop; Will Fish, Alvaro Fernandez; Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal; Mason Greenwood, Charlie McNeill

The final match of the season is not really a competitive one for United as their fate this season has already been sealed – a second-placed finish and qualification for the UEFA Champions League next season. The UEFA Europa League final is the match that the players will have their eyes on. With that in mind, Solskjaer can give many youth players a chance to feature at this level. Nathan Bishop could be the replacement goalkeeper. In defence, Will Fish and Alvaro Fernandez could be used. In midfield, Juan Mata. Nemanja Matic, Shola Shoretire and Zidane Iqbal could be in contention. The could leave both Mason Greenwood and Charlie McNeill on the bench in an attacking sense. Experimental but with experience in places.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give youth a chance against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday?

Wolverhampton Wanderers -v- Manchester United

Premier League

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

Ratings: Frustration at Old Trafford in the final match of 2020; De Gea, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood did well as Rashford scored a late winner

Manchester United beat Wolverhampton Wanders 1-0 at Old Trafford in the final Premier League match of 2020. It was a close encounter with both sides having few chances throughout the match. United could have scored twice through Bruno Fernandes in the first half with the Portuguese midfielder having another chance in the second half, the first two were saved and blocked with the latter blocked. United tried to get the better of their opposition but left it late with Marcus Rashford, assisted by Fernandes scoring the only goal of the match in the third of five minutes of added time. United rose to second in the Premier League table.

United started the match in good stead, pushing forward to try and cause some early damage against Wolves. Marcus Rashford had a chance in the ninth minute of the match after Mason Greenwood played the ball to him but the England forward saw his long-range effort saved by Rui Patricio. A minute before, Pedro Neto had the chance to put Wolves ahead. Bruno Fernandes had a chance to find the back of the net in the 18th minute but it was blocked. Edinson Cavani had a chance with a header in the 26th minute, missing the target but Fernandes had the best chance in the 34th minute, seeing the effort saved by the keeper.

Solskjaer made his first substitution at the start of the second half of the match with Luke Shaw replacing Alex Telles, which may have been because of an injury to the Brazilian. Wolves started to emerge as the better side in the second half, doing well with the ball and getting it into attacking areas to try and pressure United a little. However, nothing at either end was happening, which was a disappointment. Anthony Martial became the second substitution in the match after he replaced Greenwood in the 64th minute with United needing to find a way to get the victory they desire to end 2020 on a high.

In the 69th minute of the match, United got into the Wolves area with the ball being played into Cavani, who was in the box but Wolves gave away a corner, averting the danger. United found the back of the net through Cavani but the goal was disallowed for offside but in the run up, Conor Coady handled the ball in the box but the offside was given and no penalty was awarded. United would have to go back to the drawing board to find a winner in this match. David De Gea made a good save in the 72nd minute after an effort by Romain Saiss, who was flagged for offside so it he had scored, it would not have counted.

In the 75th minute of the match, Paul Pogba struck a great effort on goal with Patricio getting the save to deny the home side from taking the lead late in the second half. Fernandes had a chance in the 85th minute of the match, sending a shot towards goal from outside the box but saw it blocked again. United seem to have been running out of ideas with Wolves parking the bus at times in the second half. Despite trying to, United could not seem to get a goal, However, almost at the death, Rashford put United ahead, assisted by Fernandes. Solskjaer made his third substation with Scott McTominay replacing Fernandes in the 90+5th minute.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made some good saved to deny Wolves, especially the precise save in the second half of the match. Seemed to suffer an injury late in the second half after a slow collision with Traore and after a few seconds seemed fine to continue.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

It was good to see him back after missing the 2-2 draw with Leicester City open Boxing Day. Defensively he did well but in terms of attacking, I would like to see a bigger and better input from him.

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3 Eric Bailly

Defended well against Wolves and did not really put a foot wrong, as has been the case in the past with the Ivorian, who could be minutes away from a red card or an injury.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led well at times with United being frustrated at home by Wolves, who did not look to cause much damage against United, despite having a few chances and forcing a few saves.

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27 Alex Telles

Had a pretty uninspiring first half. Got forward quite a bit but did nothing of note to help his club get on top. He did not come back out for the second half and was replaced by Shaw.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played a good defensive role but in terms of attacking from the midfield, this was not as good as it could have and should have been.

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6 Paul Pogba

Had a good long-range effort on goal in the second half, which looked to have stung the hands of the goalkeeper. Seemed to play better in the second half as he got further up field.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Played well in the first half and provided two good balls into Fernandes in the first half, which should have resulted in at least one goal. Replaced by Martial in the 64th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Could have had two goals in the first half, having the better of two chances in the 34th minute of the match. Hada chance in the 85th minute, but saw another shot blocked, which was unfortunate.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Was not at his best against Wolves. Tried to make the difference but it was not happening for him. However, at the death he found the winner to give United all three points. It was a frustrating night before that winner.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Found the back of the net but was ruled offside, despite there being a hand ball in the box, which was not given due to Coady's hand not being in an unnatural position. Did well at times but was forced out wide a few times, which left nobody in the box for chances to be scored.

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Substitutes

23 Luke Shaw

Replaced Telles 46'. Got forward for a lot of the second half. Could have done more offensively, but it was one go those matches.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Greenwood 64'. Missed a good chance in the second half, sending the ball into the stands. He should be doing much better with shots like that.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fernandes 90+5'. Came on at the death and did not have the time to get involved in the match with United scoring the winner two minutes before he came on.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 90+3′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 90+3′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles (Shaw 46′); Matic, Pogba; Greenwood (Martial 64′), Fernandes (McTominay 90+5′), Rashford; Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Tuanzebe; Mata, Fred, James, Van de Beek

Bookings: Marcus Rashford 50′; Rui Patricio 73′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani, Greenwood, Fernandes and Rashford start against Wolves; Martial, Van de Beek and McTominay on the bench

Manchester United 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:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Shaw, Tuanzebe; Mata, Fred, James, Van de Beek, McTominay; Martial

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Patricio;

Kilman, Coady, Saiss;

Hoever, Moutinho, Neves, Ait-Nouri;

Vitinha;

Traore, Neto;

Substitutes:

Ruddy; Semedo, Marques, Richards; Podence, Otasowie, Cundle; Silva, Corbeanu

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.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW