Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester United preview, team news, tickets & prediction

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester United preview, team news, tickets & prediction

It is a replay of the opening match of the Premier League season as Manchester United travel to the West Midlands to take on Wolves

Gary O’Neil’s side will be looking to go level on points with Man United and enter the top half of the Premier League table in front of their fans. Wolves are unbeaten in eight league matches at home and this game against the out-of-sorts Red Devils is somewhat stacked in their favour.

Raphael Varane’s close-range header secured a 1-0 win for Erik ten Hag’s side despite an unconvincing performance in the first match of the 2023-24 season. It made it a third consecutive victory for United and their sixth win of the last seven encounters with Wolves.

The Wanderers have been very impressive so far with their fortunes firmly on the up despite preparations for the season being disrupted by the dismissal of manager Julen Lopetgui on the eve of the campaign.

Gary O’Neil replaced the Spaniard, having himself left Bournemouth in shock circumstances but led his new side out at Old Trafford only four days after taking on the job. Two tough defeats against Manchester United and Brighton were endured before they finally got it right by beating Everton thanks to an 87th-minute header from Sasa Kalajdzic.

A failure to control favorable in-game situations cost them defeats against Crystal Palace and Liverpool, while they drew 1-1 at Luton Town with a man down.

However, Wolves’ season kicked into life as they became the first team to beat Premier League champions Manchester City with a well-deserved 2-1 win at home then they shared the spoils with rivals Aston Villa. Kalajdzic was the match-winner again when Wolves beat Bournemouth in O’Neil’s return to the South Coast and they went toe-to-toe with Newcastle in an exciting 2-2 draw.

They would lose to Sheffield United, Fulham, Arsenal and West Ham as they won only two and drew one of the next seven games. The visit of Chelsea had a liberating effect as they built on that 2-1 win with commanding victories over Brentford (4-1) and Everton (3-0).

Wolves’ only Premier League fixture in January takes them to Brighton so they will be well-prepared for the visit of the Red Devils.

Their aggressive approach to pressing is reaping huge benefits and a win against United would put them within 10 points of last season’s 41 points tally which yielded 13th spot in the league.

It has been a shambolic campaign so far for Ten Hag’s men. Their poor league outings were worsened by an exit from a UEFA Champions League group containing Bayern Munich, Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

Three defeats and two wins from the first five games set an alarming precedent for what was to come for the Mancunians. A win and another loss followed against Burnley and Crystal Palace until United found some form thanks to second-half winning strikes from Scott McTominay and Diogo Dalot against Brentford and Sheffield United respectively.

That short reprieve was followed by successive 3-0 defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle (Carabao Cup). Thereafter, United won the next three in the league against Fulham, Luton and Everton, although they couldn’t transfer that form to European competition.

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United fell to another defeat at Newcastle as a 2-1 win at home to Chelsea proved to be their last for the next four matches until a comeback win against Aston Villa in the final home game 2023.

In keeping with their inconsistent performances, United were beaten 2-1 by Nottingham Forest. Before another tough trip, they must get some positive performances in the bag against Wigan (FA Cup) and Tottenham.

The Red Devils have failed to win any of their last four away matches so that they would be underdogs going into this one.

Mach tickets

This game will be played on Thursday, February 1 with kick-off scheduled for 8:15 PM UK time. Tickets for the game have been made available for sale on each club’s website so season ticket holders can help themselves.

Wolves’ ongoing home form has seen them defeat Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea so the Molineux Stadium is expected to be filled to the rafters with over 31,000 people. Given United’s lacklustre fortunes this term, fewer away fans are expected to make the midweek trip so several extra tickets may be available.

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Supporters keen to get a hold of Wolves vs Manchester United tickets are unlikely to find any via official sources save for ticket resale websites.

Team news

Jonny Otto is set to miss this match for the Wolves alongside Hee-Chan Hwang, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Boubacar Traore who are away on international duty. Meanwhile, Mario Lemina has been on leave due to the passing of his father but he should be available against United.

Ten Hag might be seeing an end to his lengthy injury malaise with Luke Shaw likely to return from a muscular injury. Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Casemiro, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial are also reportedly close.

Andre Onana and Sofyan Amrabat have been at the AFCON so there are question marks over whether they would be available for this game.

Line-ups

O’Neil would have to deal with the absence of a couple of key players and he must find some continuity while Hwang and Ait-Nouri are away. The balance in their 3-4-3 would be vital to getting any positive result against United.

Wolves: Sa; Kilman, Dawson, Toti; Semedo, Doyle, Gomes, Doherty; Sarabia, Cunha, Neto

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Injury returnees would lighten the heavy workload on many of Ten Hag’s players and he would be delighted to be able to name a stronger matchday squad.

Manchester United: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Evans, Shaw; Mainoo, McTominay; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund

Prediction

Wolves were unlucky to come away from the reverse fixture empty-handed having created the better chances at Old Trafford. They must secure at least a draw this time around.

Man United are suffering a crisis of confidence and Wolves must be proactive in putting pressure and forcing errors from their backline. This would be entertaining, maybe not for the Red Devils faithful.

Wolves 2-1 Man Utd

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