Old Trafford, Manchester
November 6, 2010; 8:30 PM IST – Live on ESPN
The Red Devils entertain Wolves for the second time in ten days hoping to gain maximum points which would keep them in touch with leaders Chelsea especially with the Champions facing a daunting away trip to Anfield on Sunday.
Manchester United have finally seemed to have found form with five consecutive victories in all competitions including a 3-2 win in Carling Cup against Wolverhampton. Sir Alex would also be pleased about the fact that his team has looked solid at the back since Ferdinand’s return and also with Chris Smalling proving to be a more than decent cover. United would not be taking the game lightly having already lost crucial points this season which also includes a draw against West Brom at home.
A lot to worry about
Wolves, on the other hand, arrive at Old Trafford on the back of a famous win against the Blue team from Manchester last weekend. Still second from bottom, Mick McCarthy’s men have played far better football this season to be in that position in the league table. Wolves would also be taking confidence from their Carling Cup defeat two weeks ago when they gave the Red Devils a run for their money and only a last minute winner from Javier Hernandez knocked them out of the cup.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Injuries to Nani and Fletcher in midweek has increased the problems for Sir Alex as he already has several players on the medical table. Gibson and Anderson are out with a virus infection while Ryan Giggs faces a late fitness test after being out with a hamstring injury. Rooney, Owen and Macheda are also out along with long term absentees – Owen Hargreaves and Antonio Valencia. Rio Ferdinand has recovered though, after missing the trip to Turkey with a knee injury.
Sir Alex would surely be having an eye on the Manchester Derby coming up in midweek while picking his team for this game. With limited midfield options for the manager due to injuries, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick are expected to start the game. Gabriel Obertan is also set for his first league start this season with Park starting on the other flank.
Mick McCarthy has several players missing as well. J. Craddock, R. Zubar, A. Guedioura and M. Kightly are set to miss the game with various injuries.
Wolves now have a settled look to their team playing in their customary 4-5-1 formation. Matt Jarvis, Wolves most improved player of the season has been causing trouble to defences with his pace and trickery down the left wing. Kevin Doyle will be expected to run the channels and provide the attacking thrust however he might have to be content with feeding on scraps as Old Trafford isn’t a place for opposition forwards to make merry. However his ability to hold the ball and link up with midfield will determine the nature of the contest.
Key Match Facts
1) United average 3.1 goals per game in their last 16 league matches at home.
2) Red Devils have scored 6 goals from corners this season, more than any side in the league.
3) Wolves have conceded 7 goals in the last 15 minutes of league games this season, more than any other side.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Carrick seems to be getting back to his best after an indifferent last one and a half seasons. His dominating displays in midfield against Wolves, Tottenham and Bursaspor were instrumental in United’s victories. With Fletcher injured and Scholes likely to be rested, Carrick could well be the architect of a United victory.
Manchester United 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester United finally look organized in defence after elementary mistakes in the opening fixtures of the campaign. Wolves would be looking to play decent football as they have done all season including the game against Chelsea at the Bridge, but United would produce a strong performance to come out on top.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST