Man Utd host Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils are fighting for a top-four finish whilst the visitors have survived relegation after four wins in their last six matches. The reverse fixture saw a 1-0 win for United as Marcus Rashford scored in the second half.
Man Utd Form
Erik Ten Hag’s team appears to be limping towards the finish line. Their last six matches in all competitions have seen three losses and they’ve been beaten 1-0 away in each of their last two in the league. The gap to Liverpool in fifth place is now just one point albeit with one game in hand for United. A 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest made it three league wins in a row. However, a 3-0 defeat away to Sevilla followed.
Their Europa League exit was followed by an FA Cup semi-final win on penalties vs Brighton (0-0 full-time). At Tottenham in their next match, they surrendered a 2-0 halftime to draw 2-2. A 1-0 win at home against Aston Villa had them holding on towards the end. Then, a last-gasp penalty saw a deserved 1-0 loss at Brighton. Last weekend, a David De Gea howler led to a 1-0 loss at West Ham.
Man Utd Team News
Ten Hag remains without Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane in central defence. Harry Maguire will remain on the bench with Luke Shaw at centre-back instead. In midfield, both Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek are out injured.
Some changes are expected further forward. Wout Weghorst struggled as a number ten vs West Ham and either Jadon Sancho or Marcel Sabitzer will replace him. Anthony Martial could also be recalled with Marcus Rashford reverting to his more effective left-winger role. Diogo Dalot could replace either Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back or Tyrell Malacia at left-back.
Man Utd Motivation
The Red Devils desperately need to get back to winning ways. A draw would be a terrible result and open the door for Liverpool in the top-four race.
Ten Hag’s side will attack but they’ve become quite conservative after half-time of late. Fatigue and a determination to protect any lead have been the main factors.
Julen Lopetegui has done a remarkable job since taking over. Wolves were in bottom place after 15 matches with just ten 10 points. Their 20 games under the coach have yielded 30 points. Of late, they’ve strung together four wins in their last six matches but all of those victories have come at the Molineux Stadium. After a late goal rescued a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest, they beat Chelsea 2-0.
Another 2-0 home win followed vs Brentford before losing 2-1 at relegation rivals Leicester. An own goal and a penalty brought a 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace to just about seal survival for another year. They took their foot off the pedal as they were thrashed 6-0 at Brighton in their next match. Last weekend, an early goal brought them a 1-0 home win against Aston Villa to reach the magical 40-point mark.
Wolves Team News
The only three injuries are those who have been absent long-term. Winger Chiquinho, target man Sasa Kalajdzic and midfielder Boubacar Traore are all out. They have been using a 4-4-2 shape of late and are set to continue with that, even at Old Trafford. Diego Costa will partner Matheus Cunha up front.
On the left wing, Pedro Neto got a start in the last match. Daniel Podence is another option and so is Pablo Sarabia. Both players were unused subs in the last match, showing the depth at the coach’s disposal.
This is hard to gauge. They are safe from the drop and don’t tend to look fully focused in away matches. They may not have 100% motivation or concentration on this match.
A draw would feel like a win but they’re expected to play quite expansively in their 4-4-2 shape.
Man Utd have won 12 of their last 15 league matches at home (3 draws)
Man Utd have kept 5 successive clean sheets at home (EPL)
4 of Man Utd’s last 6 home wins have come by a 1 goal margin
Wolves have won 4 of their last 6 matches (all at home)
Wolves have lost 4 of their last 5 away league matches (13 goals conceded)
7 of the last 8 meetings between these sides have seen Under 1.5 goals
A tight match is on the cards. Man Utd are low on confidence right now but their home record is excellent. Wolves could make life tough for them but the Red Devils should get the three points here.