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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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7 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

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes & Greenwood in attack? Pogba and Fred in midfield against Wolves?

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.

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

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea started against Leicester City on Boxing Day and despite not having a lot to do during the match, conceded two goals. United, as a team, will need to get to the bottom of the leaky defence and find a way to solve it for the better as this season, in the Premier League alone, they have conceded a total of 23 goals in 14 matches, which is not the best defence in the league, but not the worst either. Liverpool have conceded 20 goals this season, but have scored 37 with United only scoring 30. They are not that far behind though. De Gea has stepped up his form recently but it still a way from being at his best, which is a must for United to prevail.

Defenders: Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence has suffered recently with many injuries. Phil Jones has been out since earlier this year and will not play football in 2020. Marcos Rojo will be out until the New Year and at this moment in time, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof are both doubts, with the latter looking like a season-ending injury, which is yet to be confirmed by the club. Against Wolves, United could have Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles in the fullback positions and Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire in the centre of defence, which is not as bad as it could be and might force the club into the transfer market next month, rather than in the summer.

Midfield: Fred, Paul Pogba

The midfield is an area that should be doing a lot better than it actually is. Against Leicester City, Scott McTominay, who started his first game after coming off injured late in the 6-2 victory over Leeds United last weekend, did not play to his potential, seemingly playing a slow game of football, but adding something that he needed to during the match. In this match against Wolves, I feel Paul Pogba should start alongside Fred in the centre of the midfield, which could give United a good opportunity against the Premier League strugglers, giving United the result they need to keep climbing towards the top of the Premier League table.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

Between Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford there is a total of 30 goals and 16 assists in all competitions this season, which is a cracking show of ability from the trio. The area, in the 4-2-3-1 formation is where the majority of the goals have been coming from with Fernandes scoring 14 and Rashford scoring 13, Greenwood getting three goals so far. It is important that Solskjaer keeps these three players fresh for the remainder of the season, especially at this time when they have been playing every three days since the middle of December and that is not going to lighten up much in January.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has scored four goals and assisted two more this season, which is a small contribution but in terms of presence on the pitch, he offers a lot to the club. When it was confirmed that he was being signed by United, the negative supporters, of which they are so many to count, said he was too old, despite being around the same age as Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he arrived at the club as a free agent, but has not had the same impact as the Swede. He has shown that he is not past it and has a few more years in him yet, giving the likes of Rashford, Greenwood and Anthony Martial some insight in how to better their game.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Teden Mengi; Juan Mata, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Anthony Martial

United will be able to name nine substitutes in the Premier League for the remainder of the season, utilising three of them. Whilst it is not great, two more players will be able to be named on the bench, giving United more options to change the game, should they need to. Dean Henderson will be available should he be needed in goal. Defensively, Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Teden Mengi could make a difference. In the midfield area, Juan Mata, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could be called upon with Anthony Martial on the bench, which will keep him fresher for the next match against Aston Villa.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Manchester United -v- Wolverhampton Wanderers- Premier League – United to pile the pressure onto Wolves?

Manchester United -v- Wolverhampton Wanderers

Premier League

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

Review & Ratings: Fernandes sharp and hungry to score, Dalot impressive, Martial stinking it up in 0-0 draw with Wolves

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side a few good chances to break the deadlock but nothing seemed to work. Diogo Dalot had a late header to try and win the game but he was just off target. United have just over two weeks before their next match, time to get a rest ahead of a big push this season?

It was end to end football in the first half with Wolves having seven shots on goal; two of which were on target to United’s five shots on goal; one being on target. United had the most possession, 63% but yet again seemed able to make the break through. Debutant Bruno Fernandes had a shot on goal which excited the crowd – but was off target before having another which went straight into the arms of Rui Patricio.

In the second half, both teams had chances on breaking the deadlock but nothing was actually doing that. Fernandes had two free-kicks which were on target and saved by Patricio. Mason Greenwood, after replacing the terrible Andreas Pereira had an effort on goal and seemingly beat the goalkeeper with a deflection, however, Patricio made the save to derby United from taking the lead.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Despite facing more shots on goal against Wolves, in the first half at least, he had little to do. His command in the box could be better in all honesty. United need a massive boost in confidence right now. Getting a fully fit team might do that.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back spent a lot of the first half going forward and trying to play in a lot of crosses into the box. It rarely worked with Wolves defending so well.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Iceman was better in the first half against Wolves that he was against City during the week. I was expecting Bailly to be given the opportunity today but he was removed from the team completely for some reason.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain put in a few good plays against Wolves, breaking forward a lot of the time with United pressing. Shoed his class in defence also, which was good to see. Maguire made a good block, conceding a corner in the 85th minute to deny Wolves from possibly finding a goal. He then rose to defend the corner, making the clearance but Wolves nearly scored after receiving the ball but the player was offside.

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23 Luke Shaw

Traore was a big threat for Shaw. If Williams had started, I am sure he would have pocketed him again. Shaw is a weaker defender on the left that the 19-year-old. He was better in the second half, once Traore was off the pitch.

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Andreas Pereira

I cannot seem this lad playing much football when Pogba, McTominay and Matic are all able to play. Made a cynical foul at the edge of the box giving Wolves a chance to score, however, the free-kick was poor - a let off for Pereira. Played on the left-wing early in the second half and was just as poor. Nobody seems sure where his position in the team is - not on the pitch would be a good one. Had a shot on goal, which was saved in the 72nd minute, just before he was replaced by Greenwood.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian played well, as he had done for much of this season. He might not make the grade when Pogba and McTominay are both fit but he will be ahead of Pereira.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spanish midfielder did well despite playing a wide role much of the time. United's creativity needs a lot of improvement - the quality is there though. Had the best chance of the game in the 60th minute, which was just off target. Mata was replaced by Lingard in the 88th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The debutant had a shot in the latter stages of the first half but it was wide of the target. The effort was good but Wolves had been frustrating United, as they have in each and every match they have played. In the 40th minute, he had a shot on goal which was straight to Patricio. Had a free-kick early in the second half, stung the keepers hands with the effort. A long-range effort in the 67th minute was denied by Patricio too. He played further back in the second half, but that will all change when Matic is back, and again when Pogba and McTominay are both back.

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21 Daniel James

He was a bit weak in the first half. He's played a lot of football so far this season. He has the ingredients to succeed. This season will be a wake up call for him. He seems to have the mentality to rise above criticism and keep trying. The Welshman was fouled a few times but he carried on. He was replaced in the 88th minute of the match by Dalot.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman was his usual self against Wolves. As the striker, I expect him to be there. At one point, United were on the advance with James playing the ball into the box but Martial was still outside the box. Pointless creating if he's not in the area looking to score. Ighalo will be confident of taking his place as the leading striker from the off, as long as he is actually fit to play.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Pereira 72'. Had a great shot on goal in the 79th minute, the deflection seemed to beat Patricio, however, he made the save.

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Diogo Dalot

Replaced James 88'. Came on late in the game to give United a but more freshness with the game at 0-0. Nearly scored a late goal with a header but he was just wide of the target. A better attacking option on the left than Pereira.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Mata 88'. He may be lacking form but United had little option but to bring him on.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pereira (Greenwood 72′), Fred; Mata (Lingard 88′), Fernandes, James (Dalot 88′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones, Williams; Chong

Bookings: Bruno Fernandes 55′, Victor Lindelof 79′, Luke Shaw 84′; Ruben Neves 57′, Joao Moutinho 71′

Confirmed Starting XI: Fernandes starts against Wolves; Martial leads the line, James, Mata and Pereira support

Manchester United welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Traford in the Premier League this evening. It will be the second time that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would have faced Nuno Espírito Santo’s side at the Theatre of Dreams in the past fortnight or so, the third time the teams have faced each other this month with the Emirates FA Cup draw at the Molineux and United’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

After beating Manchester City 1-0 in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening, despite losing 3-2 on aggregate, Solskjaer’s stock has risen being that he is the first manager to beat Pep Guardiola’s team twice at the Etihad this season and in around a six week period. Solskjaer cannot be that bad at his job to get wins over Jose Mourinho, Guardiola (twice) and be the only team to take points off Liverpool.

Saturday’s match will be a battle for United to distance themselves from Wolves, who have the same number of points after 24 matches, 34. United do have a better goal difference. Tottenham Hotspur are there with the same number of points too, a goal behind United; Mourinho’s side faces City on Sunday afternoon at home. United could utilise the services of Bruno Fernandes in this match which will be good to see, as well as the impending arrival of Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Pereira, Fred;

Mata, Fernandes, James;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Dalot, Williams; Lingard, Chong; Greenwood

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Patricio;

Coady, Boly, Saïss;

Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Otto;

Traore, Jiménez, Jota

Substitutes:

Ruddy; Kilman; Jordão, Podence, Morgan-Gibbs, Dendoncker; Neto

United and Wolves have played a total of 104 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 49 times, drawn 19 times and lost 36 times. In the last three matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, last losing on the 2 April 2019; a 2-1 defeat in the Premier League at the Molineux. Scott McTominay opened the scoring for United with Diogo Jota equalising then Chris Smalling’s own goal lost the match for United.

United last lost to Wolves at the Theatre of Dreams on the 9 February 1980; a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One. On the 19 August 2019, United drew 1-1 with Wolves at the Molineux with goals from Anthony Martial and Rúben Neves. In the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, both teams drew 0-0 at the Molineux with United winning the replay at Old Trafford thanks to Juan Mata.

How Manchester United could look against Wolves; 4-3-3 with Fernandes feeding the attack, Williams keeping his left-back place and Maguire leading?

Manchester United will face Wolverhampton Wanderers for the second time in just over a fortnight at Old Trafford, this time in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be tasked with ensuring that Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves side do not break a record as United have not lost at home since the 9 February 1980. In the past three matches against Wolves, United have drawn twice and won once, their first victory over the club since they were promoted at the start of last season.

The signing of Bruno Fernandes has been long-awaited over the past few weeks with a lot of speculation and he is expected to make his debut at the Theatre of Dreams against Wolves, which cannot come quick enough. The creativity and the goals and assists that he can provide will be well-received if he can find similar form in the Premier League to that he had in the Primeira Liga in Portugal. United will be seeking to win to keep their chase of a top four finish alive.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League at the Old Trafford on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea kept a clean sheet against Manchester City on Wednesday evening, pulling off a few good saves, turning back the years to the time where he was the saviour of the club, winning four Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards. De Gea has kept two of the four clean sheets in the past six matches with Sergio Romero keeping the other two. It is a good turn around in form for the Spaniard and perhaps his confidence, which will have grown considerably after Wednesday’s victory over City, despite exiting the Carabao Cup, will have gone much further too.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

The defence have done well over the past few weeks, despite losing back to back matches in the Premier League against Liverpool and Burnley. United have scored 12 goals, half of them in one game, conceded four goals and kept four clean sheets, which is a major improvement. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has done well defensively, has made the odd mistake and is not the best going forward but he’s trying. He’s the best right-back at the club. Brandon Williams has everything a United player should have, leaving Luke Shaw out in the cold for the time being, needing to show a lot more to win back his place. Eric Bailly has been a substitute on the bench for a few matches now, it is time he started and tried to form a partnership with Harry Maguire as Victor Lindelof has looked poor recently, which might be fatigue due to the amount of football he has been playing.

Midfield: Juan Mata, Fred, Bruno Fernandes

This may not be the best midfield three but with Nemanja Matic’s suspension for the Wolves game and the fact that Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are both injured, this is the best option for this match. I would expect Fred to play the defensive minded position in the midfield. I have chosen Juan Mata over Andreas Pereira, as his footballing brain is much better. I’d leave Pereira out of this match, giving him a bit of a break. Bruno Fernandes needs to start in this fixture. It would be better to ease him in against Wolves rather than against Chelsea in just over a fortnight’s time. He could find his feet right away, or it might take time. However, with the likes of Pogba and McTominay, he should be at his best, as should the team.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James

United need to find a way to get the better of their opposition whilst Marcus Rashford is injured. His performances have been impressive this season and he is missed in this team. Anthony Martial will continue to lead the line, unless United pull of a miracle and sign a proper striker, of which Martial is not. Mason Greenwood, providing he’s fit, should start on the right with Daniel James on the left. Fernandes could ass some creativity to this team, which has been lacking for most of the season. He could even become a second striker – it is a position he has played, to get the goals for United. United need to be ready for the summer to get who it is they need, no excuses.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong

Injuries are still limiting the strength of this United squad at the moment so Solskjaer will have to make do with the players he has available with a two-week break coming up after the Wolves match, which could help the players overcome fatigue as many have played a lot of football already this season. Sergio Romero will remain on the bench for this match with De Gea keeping his place in the team. Defensively, Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, and Luke Shaw could be available with Victor Lindelof rested due to poor recent performances, giving Bailly a chance to form a partnership. In an attacking sense, United have no other options than the player starting by Jesse Lingard, who was terrible against City, Angel Gomes, who has played little first team football this season and Tahith Chong could be available.

Preview: Fernandes to inspire United victory over Wolves keeping them unbeaten, by Wolves, at home since 1980?

Manchester United -v- Wolverhampton Wanderers

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 1 February 2020, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Harry Lennard, Marc Perry Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh 

VAR: Mike Dean Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

Manchester United will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Traford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It will be the second time that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would have faced Nuno Espírito Santo’s side at the Theatre of Dreams in the past fortnight or so, the third time the teams have faced each other this month with the Emirates FA Cup draw at the Molineux and United’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

After beating Manchester City 1-0 in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening, despite losing 3-2 on aggregate, Solskjaer’s stock has risen being that he is the first manager to beat Pep Guardiola’s team twice at the Etihad this season and in around a six week period. Solskjaer cannot be that bad at his job to get wins over Jose Mourinho, Guardiola (twice) and be the only team to take points off Liverpool.

Saturday’s match will be a battle for United to distance themselves from Wolves, who have the same number of points after 24 matches, 34. United do have a better goal difference. Tottenham Hotspur are there with the same number of points too, a goal behind United; Mourinho’s side faces City on Sunday afternoon at home. United could utilise the services of Bruno Fernandes in this match which will be good to see.

Form: United in better form with four wins and two defeats in their last six matches whereas Wolves have one win, two draws and three defeats in their last six matches.

Manchester United: WWLLWW

Manchester City 1-0 W, Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-0 W

Wolverhampton Wanderers: LWLDDL

Liverpool 2-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Manchester United 1-0 L, Newcastle United 1-1 D, Manchester United 0-0 D, Watford 2-1 L

Top Scorers: United have scored many goals this season but of late, against bigger teams, scoring goals has been problematic. Could Bruno Fernandes help change that?

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have improved and will be seeking to keep heading in that direction. February will see the return of Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and possibly Marcus Rashford, seeing the strength of the starting XI increase. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes will be a boost for now but until the team is strong again, his injection of talent may not be fully see. Four wins in the last six matches, two defeats, 12 goals scored, four conceded plus four clean sheets. On the right road, just need to stay there.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Goals: 14 – Raúl Jiménez, 6 – Diogo Jota, 5 – Adama Traoré, 4 – Matt Doherty, 3 – Patrick Cutrone, Leander Dendoncker, Romain Saïss, 2 – Pedro Neto, Rúben Neves, 1 – Willy Boly, Jonny, Bruno Jordao, João Moutinho

Wolves have not been as prolific as they were last season in the Premier League. In the league alone, Wolves have won one of their last five matches, which is not great form. They are, however, in the top half of the table and seeking to finish strongly. They have a talented squad but with their season starting at the end of July in the UEFA Europa League qualification stages, plus the group stage matches, it may have hampered them, playing more matches, which will start again next month.

Team News: Bruno Fernandes to make his Premier League debut at Old Trafford as United look to stop Wolves from getting a victory at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since 1980.

Bruno Fernandes is expected to make his debut for United against Wolves but Solskjaer will be missing a number of players. Scott McTominay (knee), Paul Pogba (ankle/foot), Marcus Rashford (lower back), Axel Tuanzebe (hamstring) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (lacking match fitness) will be on the sidelines through injury whereas Nemanja Matic is suspended for this game. Marcos Rojo is heading on loan to Estudientes in Argentina.

Wolves have one player out of action for this match; Ruben Vinagre (thigh). It will be the clubs second visit to Old Trafford in just over a fortnight with them seeking to rise above United in the Premier League table with both teams, joined by Tottenham Hotspur on 34 points after 24 matches although United have a better goal difference, plus seven compared to Wolves plus three and Spurs plus six.

Predicted Starting XI: Fernandes the creative inspiration in this United squad now? Martial to prove that he’s the best man to lead the line for the club?

Solskjaer now has a creative player in the midfield, one who knows hoe to score, assist and pass to his teammates. Of course, expecting this with new teammates from the off would be a bit harsh but the talent is there in this lad. United may not be at their best until later in February the both Pogba and McTominay are back from their lengthly injury spells, which has been problematic for United this season.

Match Prediction: United undefeated at Old Trafford against Wolves since February 1980. Can Solskjaer’s side keep that run going, earning a valuable three points in their fight for a top four place in the Premier League this season?

United and Wolves have played a total of 104 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 49 times, drawn 19 times and lost 36 times. In the last three matches, United are undefeated against Wolves, last losing on the 2 April 2019; a 2-1 defeat in the Premier League at the Molineux. Scott McTominay opened the scoring for United with Diogo Jota equalising then Chris Smalling’s own goal lost the match for United.

United last lost to Wolves at the Theatre of Dreams on the 9 February 1980; a 1-0 defeat in the old Football League Division One. On the 19 August 2019, United drew 1-1 with Wolves at the Molineux with goals from Anthony Martial and Rúben Neves. In the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, both teams drew 0-0 at the Molineux with United winning the replay at Old Trafford thanks to Juan Mata.

Manchester United 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Review & Ratings: Mata's magic the difference in Wolves victory; Williams growing in stature, Matic showing his class; Rashford injury worries

Manchester United beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Emirates FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday evening. It was the first time that United have beaten the club since their return to the Premier League. It could be a costly game for United with Marcus Rashford coming on in the second half and coming off injured minutes later. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy to be in the fourth round.

United started this game as they did the one at the Molineux a week and a half ago. It was not long before Wolves were pushing for a goal, breaking the deadlock in the tenth minute through Pedro Neto after Fred played the ball to Nemanja Matic which allowed Wolves to break. VAR disallowed the goal after Raul Jimenez was adjudged to have handled the ball. Again it was lucky for United to see another goal ruled out.

Daniel James had the chance to break the deadlock after breaking through on goal and dragging his left-footed shot wide of the far post. It was a shame the ball did not hit the back of the net – it was a good piece of play by the Welshman. United eventually broke the deadlock in the 67th minute of the match after Anthony Martial played a through ball to Juan Mata and he ended up chipping John Ruddy inside to box.

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper always seems to be a safe pair of hands whenever he plays for the United. Granted, a goal was conceded inside ten minutes by VAR ruled it out for a handball in the box.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back is a great defender in his position. In an attacking sense, more may be needed but it is something that the squad should be able to deal with. He proves week after week that his signing was an important one.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Iceman was the second-best central defender on the pitch against Wolves. He did what he needed to do and United kept a clean sheet, beating Wolves for the first time since they were promoted to the Premier League.

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5 Harry Maguire

The England defender played well at the back for United. He seems to be getting some form back and coming forward as the leader in the team.

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33 Brandon Williams

The left-back played a cracking game and got the better of Neto a few times. He's definitely secure his place in the starting XI for United. Shaw seems to be on borrowed time.

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17 Fred

It was not the best game for Fred and it may be an indication that a rest is needed and that cannot come at a worse time for the club with Liverpool on the horizon. After a few days though, he might be able to get something together to face the Premier League leaders.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian showed his experience against Wolves and was playing well, as would be expected from a professional player. When he has played recently, he has put in the performances needed to help United. It would be a loss for the club if he left this month.

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11 Mason Greenwood

It was not the night for Greenwood against Wolves for the second time in a week and a half. Without Rashford starting, United had little attacking ability. He was replaced by Pereira in the 64th minute of the match.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spanish magician put United ahead in the 67th minute of the match after Martial played a through ball with Mata beating the Wolves defenders and chipping Ruddy from inside the box.

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21 Daniel James

The Welsh winger nearly put United ahead after playing a left footed shot across the goal and missing the target. His pace was causing Wolves a fair few problems during his appearance. He was replaced by Rashford in the 64th minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman got the assist for the only goal of the game after he put the ball through for Mata in the 67th minute, seeing the Spaniard chipping Ruddy from close-range to settle the tie for United. More is needed from this team though with Liverpool lying in wait on Sunday.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced James 64'. The in form forward got some involvement in the game, showing his skills against Wolves. United scored with him on the pitch. Sadly, he seemed to be carrying an injury and could not continue, being replaced by Lingard in the 80th minute of the match.

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Andreas Pereira

Replaced Greenwood 64'. The attacking midfielder did well against Wolves and nearly got a goal for himself although Ruddy made the save easily.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Rashford 80'. Had ten minutes plus added time on the pitch. He did not really get much involvement in the game. It seems like we are seeing the twilight years of the player this season.

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Goals: Juan Mata 67′

Assists: Anthony Martial 67′

Manchester United: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Mata, James (Rashford 64′(Lingard 80′); Martial (Pereira 64′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Jones, Dalot; Chong

Bookings: Fred 37′; Pedro Neto 59′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial, Greenwood, Mata and James lead the line against Wolves

Manchester United will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford this evening in the Emirates FA Cup third round replay after a poor 0-0 draw at the Molineux at the start of the month. The winner of this match will take on either Watford or Tranmere Rovers – the winner of the match will be decided three days before the fourth round match, will be played on Sunday 26 January at 15:00 GMT.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he saw at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday afternoon as Marcus Rashford scored a brace with a goal from each of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood in the 4-0 victory over Norwich City in the Premier League, the clubs first win of 2020 after losing 2-0 to Arsenal, the 0-0 draw with Wolves and a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City in the semi-final first leg of the Carabao Cup.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams;

Fred, Matic;

Greenwood, Mata, James;

Martial

Substitutes:

Grant; Jones, Dalot; Lingard, Pereira, Chong; Rashford

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Ruddy;

Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss;

Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Doherty

Traore, Jimenez, Neto

Substitutes:

Patricio, Bennett, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Kilman, Ashley-Seal, Rasmussen

United and Wolves have played a total of 103 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 48 times, drawn 19 times and lost 36 times. The last defeat to Wolves came in the Premier League back in April 2019, a 2-1 defeat at the Molineux with Scott McTominay scoring the opening goal, Diogo Jota equalising minutes later and a late own goal scored by Chris Smalling.

Since Wolves were promoted to the Premier League ahead of the 2018/19 season, United have not beaten them in four matches. The first match was played at Old Trafford and resulted in a 1-1 draw. United drew Wolves in the FA Cup that season, at the Molineux and lost 2-0, also losing at the Molineux in the league 2-1. In the last game, earlier this season, it was another 1-1 draw with Anthony Martial opening the scoring and Rúben Neves finding the equaliser.

copyright: JW