Manchester United have had a mixed start to life under Ralf Rangnick. They welcome Wolves to Old Trafford on Monday evening. This will be a huge test of their top four credentials, as Wolves have been tough to beat for the top six teams this season. In the earlier meeting, Wolves were much the better team, but Manchester United escaped with a fortunate three points. They will need to perform much better on Monday to get the same result.
There will still be hope that United can finish in the top four, but the improvements of Arsenal and Tottenham mean that it will be tough for them. They are certainly outsiders in the race, even if they have the talent within the squad. At the time of writing, they are four points behind Arsenal with two matches in hand. There isn’t much room for error in the coming weeks, as they need to build momentum under the interim head coach. The fixture list looks kind and there is an opportunity for the team.
Wolves have had a solid season so far. Bruno Lage has done an excellent job and taken the team on from Nuno Espírito Santo. They are now a more balanced team, who create chances and concede few. The next step will be to score more goals as they have just scored 13 times in the Premier League. They have been creating chances, but there is a conversion issue and a reliance on Raul Jimenez to get the goals.
Manchester United have only scored more than once in two of their last eight matches.
Only three players have scored more than once in the Premier League this season for Wolves.
It has been a tough season for Bruno Fernandes, as he is not the talismanic figure that he has been in previous seasons. The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo has caused problems for his international team mate, as he has had to change his role in the attack. Everything is no longer going through Fernandes and he has been less influential as a result. He has contributed five goals and three assists in the Premier League. These are numbers he will want to improve on over the coming weeks and months. This could be a good opportunity for him to get back to form, after missing the last match through suspension. Wolves are a very tough team to break down. There won’t be much space in the final third, which could benefit the Portuguese midfielder. It may take a strike from range to find a break through and Fernandes is the most likely to threaten from those areas.
This season has been a slow burn for the Wolves striker. He has had to rebuild his confidence following the horrific injury that he suffered last season. There is still some room to go before he is back to his best, with his aerial presence still being an issue. However, he is the biggest goal threat in the Wolves team and they will need him to be at his best in the final third if they are to win on Monday. He has contributed three goals and two assists, which shows that there is still some rustiness to his game. Jimenez will know that he can improve those numbers over the rest of the season. Manchester United have looked vulnerable in recent weeks and this could be a good match for the Mexican international.
Bruno Fernandes will be available following his suspension. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial remain on the sidelines, although it is hoped they will both be back in the coming weeks. Victor Lindelof is a doubt due to contracting COVID-19.
Rayan Ait-Nouri is back in training, but this game could come too soon. Jonny and Hwang Hee Chan won’t be back until at least February. Fabio Silva could be available following his COVID-19 infection.
This is going to be a tough game for Manchester United. In their last two matches, they have not looked convincing against Newcastle or Burnley. Wolves are a better team and they could take advantage of Manchester United’s issues in midfield. The problem for Wolves will be converting their chances. This could be low scoring match.
Manchester United 1-1 Wolves