Manchester United will look to continue their winning run when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.
Premier League football resumes this weekend with Gameweek 6 of the 2018-19 season. Manchester United are among those playing on Saturday, when they will be hoping to continue their ascendancy on the table, when Wolverhampton Wanderers come visiting at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have turned their fortunes around with elan since stuttering at the beginning of their campaign, and have now won each of their last three games in all competitions. Two of these victories have come in the Premier League, elevating the Red Devils to 8th on the Premier League table, with nine points on the board.
Just a solitary point and position behind the hosts, are Wolves, who have been impressive on their return to the English top-flight. With just one loss from their first five games, and a respectable draw against champions Manchester City, Nuno Espirito Santo & co. look like they are here to stay.
The last clash between Manchester United and Wolves came in the 2011-12 season, with the Red Devils running riot in a 5-0 win at the Molineux. Ahead of their latest meeting on Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Jose Mourinho has a few roster issues to contend with before Wolves come visiting to Old Trafford. On Saturday, the Manchester United boss is set to be without as many as four first-team players due to injury problems and suspension.
Nemanja Matic will miss out on Saturday after being sent off for two bookable offences against Watford, while Marcus Rashford is serving the second of his three-match ban. Meanwhile, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo are not fit enough to be involved yet, after recovering from their respective injuries.
There is some good news though, with Phil Jones fit and available after shrugging off a hamstring injury, although he is unlikely to feature on Saturday. That is because Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof seem to have struck up a strong central defensive partnership, helping David de Gea keep two clean sheets in the last three games.
Smalling, Lindelof and de Gea are expected to retain their places in the starting lineup, as is Luke Shaw, who continued his strong start to the season against BSC Young Boys this week. But, Diogo Dalot should make way for Antonio Valencia, after Mourinho indicated towards easing the teenager in, instead of throwing him into the deep end.
One change from the game against Watford, meanwhile, will be enforced in midfield, owing to Matic’s suspension, with Fred likely to come in for the Serb. Alongside him in the midfield trio, should be Paul Pogba, who will hope to build on his midweek performance, and Marouane Fellaini, who should again occupy a deeper role in the middle of the park.
Upfront, Marcus Rashford’s unavailability should see Jesse Lingard come back into the side after being left back home for the Champions League fixture. Alexis Sanchez is likely to start as well, despite not featuring at all against Young Boys, with Anthony Martial dropping down to the bench once again.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Fellaini, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez
Nuno Espirito Santo has a near-full strength squad at his disposal, with just Ivan Cavaleiro the only player unavailable for the visit to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Saturday. But, the winger’s presence would have unlikely had an effect on team selection, with the Wolves manager sticking with his core group of players thus far.
One of Mourinho’s former players, Nuno Espirito Santo has put his complete faith on the 3-4-3 formation that changes into a 5-4-1 off the ball. While defending, the visitors will press at specific trigger points while leaving little space out wide or in the half spaces, thanks in part to the deepest block of five.
But, Wolves will also take the game to Manchester United, as they showed against the Premier League champions last month. When in possession, the visitors will focus on moving the ball out wide as quickly as possible, with most of the attacks flowing through the wing-backs, who interchange positions and quick passes with the wingers on their respective flanks.
Thus far, Matt Doherty and Jonny Castro have been excellent outlet on the flanks, not letting the effects of Helder Costa and Diogo Jota’s lack of form be felt. Costa and Jota though, should keep their places, even though Adama Traore has been outstanding from the bench in the games thus far.
Meanwhile, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho will mostly stay deep, pulling the strings from the middle of the park, although the former will pose a big threat ever so often with his efforts from range. Upfront, Raul Jimenez will be a big target man, who will be aiming to continue a decent start to the season.
Probable Starting Lineup (3-4-3): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny Castro; Costa, Jimenez, Jota
- Manchester United have won their last six league games against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford, including all four in the Premier League. In fact, Wolves are one of six sides they have played against on at least four occasions at home in the English top-flight while retaining a 100 per cent record.
- Manchester United are looking to avoid consecutive home defeats in the Premier League for the first time since March 2014, while manager Jose Mourinho has never suffered back to-back home league defeats in his managerial career.
- Wolves will be aiming to win three successive Premier League games for the first time ever. In fact, the last time they won three top-flight games on the bounce was way back in March 1980.
- Manchester United have lost two of their last five Premier League home games (W3), as many as they had in their previous 43 at Old Trafford combined (W28 D13 L2).
- Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 19 goals in 22 Premier League appearances against promoted sides (15 goals, 4 assists).
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.57
2. Alexis Sanchez to score anytime @ 2.60
3. Over 2.5 Cards @ 1.61
4. Wolves to score in 2nd half @ 2.37
1. Manchester United Over 2.5 Team Goals @ 3.25
Player to Watch
It has been a trial by fire for Fred at Manchester United thus far. After a solid enough start to his stint with the Red Devils, the Brazilian has struggled to adapt to the new surroundings he finds himself in, with a blow-hot blow-cold performance against Young Boys being his latest inconsistent outing.
But, with Nemanja Matic unavailable for the game against Wolves, Fred has another opportunity to make a mark and give Jose Mourinho some food for thought, especially with Marouane Fellaini usurping him for now. A crucial evening for Fred, who will be eager to prove a point on Saturday.
Manchester United 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Things finally seem to be falling in place for Manchester United, after an uncharacteristically poor start to the season. But, it could all come crashing down when Wolves pay them a visit on Saturday, with the newly promoted side making quite a statement with huge performances against the likes of Manchester City, Burnley and Everton.
Wolves will certainly make things difficult for Manchester United, who will be playing their first home game in nearly a month. But, Jose Mourinho & co. are seemingly back on track, and should have enough quality to edge the West Midlands side out on Saturday. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for the hosts.