Manchester United will look to build on their wonderful start to the 2019/20 campaign on Monday night, as the Red Devils travel to the Molineux Stadium to face off against Wolves.
It should be a thrilling contest, as both sides look to set the standard ahead of a gruelling season. United will also look to exact some revenge on the night, as the two losses they suffered at the Molineux last season eventually cost them in two competitions.
Manchester United hosted Chelsea at Old Trafford in the marque fixture of the Premier League’s opening weekend, and simply swept them aside.
The Blues did start the contest on the front foot, but committed early errors that cost them. Kurt Zouma took out Marcus Rashford in the box, and the Englishman stepped up and slammed home the resulting penalty kick. It was an even game up until the hour mark, when the Red Devils burst into life.
Anthony Martial finished off a rapid counter-attacking move, and Rashford grabbed his brace only a few minutes later. The three points were sealed with ten minutes to go, as substitute Daniel James saw his shot deflect into the back of the net.
After a summer transfer window that left many fans disappointed, United needed to boost morale at Old Trafford, and they did just that with their stellar performance against Chelsea.
Wolves may not have started their season with a win, but they still managed to pick up a quality result. Their campaign began at the King Power Stadium, as they travelled to face off against Leicester City in a tense affair between two teams looking to break into the illustrious top six.
Both created a fair share of chances throughout, but neither could find the crucial goal needed to snatch all three points. At the end of the day, both sides had to settle for a draw, which better suited a Wolves playing on the road.
Last time out
As mentioned prior, United effectively had their season ended last time out when they had to travel to the Molineux twice in quick succession.
It started with an FA Cup quarterfinal matchup in mid-March. The Red Devils were flying under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had only just lost his first game at the helm a week before. They jumped on the front foot, but Wolves were able to stay compact defensively.
It was a tense affair throughout, but the deadlock was broken in the 70th minute when Raul Jimenez pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area, slotting home from close range. The home side would double their advantage five minutes later, with Diogo Jota ripping United apart on the counter.
The Red Devils would get one back in the dying minutes through a penalty from Rashford, but it was too little too late as United saw their last chance at a trophy for the year disappear.
The rematch came only two weeks later, this time in Premier League play. It seemed United had learnt their lesson, as they grabbed an early lead through Scott McTominay.
However, it would not last long, as Fred lost the ball in his own half, making it easy for Jota to score and tie the game up ten minutes later. Things would get worse for the Red Devils, as Ashley Young was sent off at the hour mark after being shown a second yellow card.
Wolves made the most of the man advantage, pressuring United and forcing a late own goal from Chris Smalling, which sealed the win and all three points for the home side.
Nothing has changed for United in terms of the team available for selection. Alexis Sanchez has just returned to training in recent days, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Eric Bailly are still dealing with their respective long term injuries.
As like last year, Wolves will have a full squad to choose from, as manager Nuno Espirito Santo does not have to worry about any injuries or suspensions.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Andreas, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Martial, Rashford
Wolves: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Jimenez, Jota
What to watch for
Much to prove
The most exciting thing about this contest is that either team would be able to send a big message by picking up all three points.
For United, it would prove that last weeks victory was no fluke. The win did come against bitter rivals Chelsea, but the Blues were a team in transition, still getting used to the new signings and their new coach
They will need time to get to their best, while Wolves are already at that stage. They’ve played together on a consistent basis, and know exactly what their manager expects of them. United won’t have the friendly confines of Old Trafford to help them on either, so their composure will be tested in a tough away environment.
For Wolves, it would show that they are genuine threats to crack into the top six. Beating United might be less impressive than it used to, but to win three straight against the Red Devils would certainly be something to brag about.
It would also help transform the Molineux into a fortress, becoming a place no club in the country wants to come to. Wolves made such an impressive start to life back in the Premier League last year, and the pressure is on to exceed those lofty heights in their sophomore campaign.
Whatever does happen, Monday night's fixture could be an early indication on which team will fare better in the long season ahead.