March 6, 2010
Back in the 50’s, a game between Wolves and United was considered one of the biggest games of the season. Cullis was the man-in-charge of Wolves, leading them to three league titles while Sir Matt Busby was in control of the Red Devils during those days. Sir Matt once said, ‘Wolves in those days stood for everything that was good about British football. They played with great power, spirit and style.’ The rivalry has subsided to a great extent with the contrasting fortunes of the two clubs over the years and in the recent past Wolves have always gone into the game as underdogs.
Current Position: 17th, 24 points
Current Form: LLWLLD
The team is currently one place off the bottom due to its superior goal difference to Hull City. With only eleven games to go, the club is a guaranteed participant in the relegation battle come the final weeks of the season.
Andy Keogh is back in training after almost four months on the sidelines with an ankle injury and could find a place on the bench at best. Michael Kightly and David Edwards have not recovered from injuries. Mick McCarthy has fielded an unchanged line-up for the past three games and after the controversy surrounding the defeat at Old Trafford, he could continue to do the same against United.
Wolves’ home form has been decent in the last few games with a fabulous win against Spurs and a creditable draw against Liverpool. But with one goal in their last five premier league games, there is a lack of anticipation at the Molineux ahead of this game. United’s top scorer has scored more goals than the whole Wolves team so far this season.
Current Position: 2nd, 60 points
Current Form: WWLWDW
With Chelsea involved in FA Cup tie this weekend, Manchester United have an added incentive to go top if they avoid defeat at the Molineux. Sir Alex Ferguson is bound to rotate his players with the second leg of the Champions League tie against AC Milan coming up in midweek.
Michael Carrick is expected to be involved as he is suspended for the Milan game. Nani is available after completing his three-match ban last week while Rio Ferdinand could return after recovering from his latest back injury which kept him out for two weeks; Ryan Giggs is still out with a fractured arm, whereas John O’Shea, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson continue to be long term absentees.
Jonny Evans will also miss the game after suffering an injury on International duty, while Rooney is also a doubt after playing most of the ninety minutes for England in mid-week. But the biggest blow for United is that Michael Owen has been ruled out for the season ending his chances to go to the World Cup.
Manchester United’s away form has not been very good as the Champions have suffered most number of losses amongst the top five in the table. Their last away match was a defeat at Goodison Park.
Manchester United 3-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Old Trafford – December 15, 2009
A penalty from Wayne Rooney and goals from Nemanja Vidic and Antonio Valencia sealed a comfortable win for United against a weakened away side. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy fielded a second string lineup for this mid-week game, keeping in mind a crucial home fixture against fellow strugglers Burnley the following weekend. The club was later charged and fined by the Premier League on account of breach of rules.
TheHardTackle’s MATCH PREDICTION
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester United
Wolves will manage to trouble the unsettled back four of United but will lack the killer finish. The champions will be way too strong and will seal top spot in the league.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United)
The Bulgarian has been in good form of late and his contribution could prove to be decisive if Sir Alex decides to rest Rooney considering he was away on international duty and tougher games to follow.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Manchester United
Molineux – January 17, 2004
This game is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in Premier League history and the most memorable of wins for Wolves in the past two decades. To the United supporters though, it is still one of the worst performances by their team in the Premier League era. The day was also memorable for two former Reds – Paul Ince and Denis Irwin – who played a vital role in the victory for the team in gold and black.