Wolves face their second Manchester club of the season as they take on United at Old Trafford this weekend.
After last weekend’s one nil win over Burnley, Wolves have won their last two, keeping clean sheets in both games. It has to be said, Wolves absolutely dominated the game against Burnley and showed a huge gap in quality, admittedly against a side that looks in serious trouble.
Wolves had 30 shots yet only scored once, and nobody can say that they were all from range either as 20 out of those 30 were taken inside the box. What this does mean though is that Wolves need to be more clinical and if Burnley had decided to try and attempt to get up the other end and score, they may not have won the game.
Both wing backs were superb, with Matt Doherty receiving criticism from his national team manager Martin O’Neill after the international break. Doherty responded with his man of the match performance on the pitch.
On the plus side, Wolves look incredibly calm at the back and are not giving teams many chances. This game is a huge test against a side that is much better than Burnley but have been proven to be beatable, as shown by Brighton and Tottenham. United could have also dropped points against Leicester and Watford, and this will give Wolves some confidence.
Manchester United beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road last time out, with goals coming from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling. Nemanja Matic received a red late on and this will force Jose Mourinho to change his midfield trio. Andreas Pereira or summer signing Fred may be reintroduced.
Jose Mourinho knows Nuno very well. The former keeper played under Mourinho at Porto, winning both the Uefa Cup and Champions League. In fact, Nuno has been recently touted to replace Mourinho when he leaves the club (which could be this season). Nuno was not drawn on speculation and insisted he only focuses on Wolves.
Ruben Neves has also been rumored to be on Mourinho’s January shopping list and it’s said both he and rival Pep Guardiola will fight it out for the Portuguese midfielder. I cannot see Neves being sold this season and if he does go next summer, it will be for a lot of money.
United defeated Young Boys 3-0 last night and will have some tired legs ahead of Saturday’s game, which will hopefully play into our hands. Wolves also defeated Young Boys 4-0 in pre season.
In terms of depth, Wolves should have a full squad available with Leander Dendoncker seemingly okay to play. Ivan Cavaleiro should receive some minutes next week against Leicester in the Carabao Cup as he closes in on a full return.
Nuno rarely changes a winning team, so I think he will stick with the same XI. Wolves have used the fewest number of players so far this season and have named the same team for all 5 games.
Neves and Joao Moutinho won’t get as much time on the ball as they did last week, so they will need to be on their ‘A’ game, which is what we expect anyway with the duo excelling so far this season. Rui Patricio will surely face some testing shots and the defence will be coping with a new threat in Lukaku but I am confident Wolves will do themselves proud whatever the result.Embed from Getty Images
Before the International break, I predicted a 2-1 home win but I am going to be brave and predict Wolves not to lose, as I think we are good enough to take on an at times confused looking United team.
Predicted lineup (3-4-3).
Patricio; Bennett, Coady(C), Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Costa, Jimenez, Jota.
Predicted result – Manchester United 1-1 Wolves