Manchester United return to the Molineux Stadium to face Wolves for a second time in 16 days on Tuesday afternoon. After being eliminated from the FA Cup at the same venue, United will look to get some revenge on their opponents with a victory in the league.
The Red Devils will need all the points they can get as they are in the midst of a heated race for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot, but Wolves will prove to be a tough challenge once again.
Man United were quite poor on Saturday but still managed to pick up the win at Old Trafford against Watford. T
he away side were on top to start the contest and had a number of chances to take the lead. They would be made to regret their inefficiency in front of goal as United took the lead after a devastating counter.
Luke Shaw played Marcus Rashford through on goal with one of the passes of the season, and the England striker made no mistake with the finish, drinking it past the keeper.
It continued to be a scrappy affair, but the Red Devils doubled their advantage through Anthony Martial, who was the first to react to a rebound in the penalty area. Watford pulled one back after some delightful build-up play between Isaac Success and Abdoulaye Doucoure and started pulling on the pressure to grab a late equalizer. The United backline held firm and helped Solskjaer pick up a win in his first game as the permanent manager.
Wolves had a much tougher time at the weekend, and made a nightmare start in their game away to Burnley, with Conor Coady putting the ball into the back of his own net after only two minutes. Wolves had a tough time breaking down a compact opposing defence, but had a great chance fall to Jonny, who failed to put away a header in the penalty area.
Burnley made it two with a quarter on an hour to go, with Dwight McNeil rifling a low shot into the bottom corner past the outstretched arms of Rui Patricio. It was a disappointing result against a team fighting relegation, but Wolves managed to maintain their 7th place position in the Premier League.
Last time out
As mentioned prior, this is the second time the two sides will face off in the span of just over two weeks. It was a FA Cup contest last time out as the Molineux hosted a vital quarterfinal matchup.
United were sluggish to start and failed to create many chances early on while Wolves were compact and organized at the back.
The home side held on and managed to strike first in the 70th minute when Raul Jimenez pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and smashed it past David De Gea.
Wolves would grab another five minutes later, as Diogo Jota torched United on the counter following a disastrous corner kick. A goal from Rashford gave the Red Devils a glimmer of hope with minutes to go, but Wolves held on to secure their spot at Wembley Stadium in the semifinals of the tournament.
It’s not nearly as bad as the injury crisis the club went through earlier in the season, but United are still set to be missing a number of key players.
There are four who are guaranteed to miss out, as Eric Bailly, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, and Alexis Sanchez are all unavailable for selection. Martial picked up a knock at the weekend against Watford but should be ready to go on Tuesday.
Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku are also both back with the team, and should be fit for selection barring any late issues.
Yet again Wolves have no injuries to deal with, which is truly remarkable at this point in the season.
Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Young, Andreas, Herrera, Pogba, Mata, Lukaku, Martial
Wolves: Patricio, Saiss, Bennett, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Gibbs-White, Jonny, Adama, Costa.
What to watch for
Plenty of squad rotation expected
As it is a midweek Premier League fixture, there is plenty of reason to believe both managers will rotate their teams ahead of the contest.
United do not have a game the following weekend, but they do have a massive Champions League tie against FC Barcelona coming up a week from Wednesday.
A fair share of the focus will be on that contest, and Solskjaer might keep some of his big names on the bench to protect them from potential injury. Many players for United have also featured a lot this season, and squad rotation will be needed to give them some much-deserved rest.
Wolves do have a match at the weekend, and it’s the biggest match of their season so far. After beating United, they earned their spot in the semifinals of the FA Cup, where they will face Watford at Wembley Stadium.
It has become clear how much the club cares about picking up a trophy come the end of the season, and they’ll likely sacrifice this game to ensure everyone is ready for the crucial cup tie.
They have room for error in the league as well, as they sit in a comfortable 7th place. Wolves would love to beat a club the size of United for a second time this season, but they still realize that their priorities lie in the FA Cup contest on Sunday.