Premier League preview: Wolves v. Manchester United




 

A seemingly revitalized Manchester United looks to reverse last season's road woes as the Red Devils travel to Monlieux to take on a bugaboo opponent in Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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Wolves took four points off Manchester United last season and was unbeaten in three matches against the Red Devils across all competitions. Not only that, but Manchester United has not won in its last four Premier League road matches, their worst run since 2014, and seven of their 10 losses last league campaign came away from the friendly confines of Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be buoyed by the surprising 4-0 opening day win over Chelsea as new boy Harry Maguire helped lock down the Blues on defense, but sustainability is key for the Red Devils this season and two wins out of two against a pair of quality opponents will go a much longer way than a single result. Solskjaer's biggest selection decision will be whether to give Juan Mata the start after his appearance off the bench against Chelsea or stick with 23-year-old Andreas Pereira in the central attacking role, although both will likely see the field at some point.

Wolves, meanwhile, have looked blistering in their Europa League journey thus far, but played to a drab 0-0 draw with Leicester City in their opening Premier League match, suggesting heavy European fixture congestion could be wearing on the squad. Raul Jimenez has four goals in four Europa League matches but was held to just two shots - both off target - against the Foxes and appeared frustrated as the game wore on. He and Diogo Jota were both rested for the midweek win over Armenian club Pyunik along with seven other first-teamers, so rest could be a major factor.

Projected lineups

Wolves: Rui Patricio; Boly, Bennett, Coady; Moutinho, Dendoncker, Neves, Doherty, Otto; Jota, Jimenez.

Man United: De Gea; Shaw, Lindelof, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford, Mata; Martial.

What they're saying

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo on last year's record vs Man United: "It's going to be a tough challenge, a new game, totally different to what we did in the past which doesn't count at all. First of all, the players know they're going to face a very tough opponent; a fantastic club, a fantastic squad, fantastic players, talent all over the place. All the good players in all the good teams can make a difference. We want to compete. We want to play. We know it's going to be very difficult for us, but we will be ready. That's the important part, we will be ready."

Solskjaer on using past failures v. Wolves: "They were tough games and Wolverhampton are a hard team to break down, they defend deep, don't give you a lot of spaces, and they can play, they can counter-attack, set pieces are always dangerous. So, we've been looking at the games we've had last season, see if there's any tweaks or different things we need to do this time. But our form, our attitude and, yeah, the mood after the win is great from last season, so we go into the game confident."

Prediction

Manchester United may have beaten Chelsea down on the scoreline in the season opener, but the Blues were slightly unlucky not to score, hitting the post twice and holding good spells of dangerous possession. If Manchester United is not improved defensively against a good attacking Wolves squad, they will be frustrated at the back and make mistakes. Wolves remains a bad matchup for the Red Devils and at home, they will come away with an exciting 2-2 draw and yet another point off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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