3 Key battles that could decide the outcome of Wolves vs Manchester United
Wolves welcome Manchester United to the Molineux on Monday night for their second game of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side drew 0-0 with Leicester City in their season opener at the King Power Stadium last weekend. Five matches into the season and having reached the Europa League qualifying round, the Portuguese tactician made nine changes in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Armenia’s Pyunik, giving four new signings their first Wolves start.
Manchester United, on the other hand, kicked off their 2019/20 Premier League campaign in the best way possible, running out 4-0 winners against Chelsea at Old Trafford last Sunday.
A clean sheet and solid debuts for all the new signings, it was a perfect start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he most certainly will not get carried away knowing who their next opponent is.
Wolves have won the last two meetings at home against United and come into the game after an impressive 4-0 win over FC Pyunik in the Europa League qualifying stages. However, United will be full of confidence, raring to make a statement to back their victory over Chelsea.
Let’s take a look at three key battles that could decide the outcome of this exciting contest.
1. Marcus Rashford vs Conor Coady
Marcus Rashford was excellent in the opening day success, scoring a brace against Chelsea. He was quick, direct and pounced at every opportunity to counter-attack and exploit the spaces left behind by the visitors.
The England international opened the scoring with a fantastic penalty before making it 3-0 with a calm finish off Paul Pogba’s exquisite long ball.
Rashford will probably line up against Wolves defender Conor Coady on Monday, which will be an important battle in the game. A leader of the team, Coady is a very good organiser of the backline and will look to keep the United forward at bay.
2. Raul Jimenez vs Harry Maguire
Raul Jimenez caused United a lot of problems in their last season’s visit to the Molineux. The Mexican was a real handful in the box, outmuscling the defenders with his strength and power. In fact, he had also netted in the 2-1 victory over the Red Devils in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The Wolves striker is likely to come up against United’s Harry Maguire. The Englishman has wasted no time in making his presence felt at United and gave an impressive display as the Red Devils recorded a clean sheet in their season opener.
He will be back in the heart of United’s defence for Monday’s night clash against Wolves as Solskjaer’s side aim to win all three points. Expect a mouthwatering battle between Jimenez and Maguire at the Molineux.
3. Paul Pogba vs Ruben Neves
Even though he was sloppy on occasions, Paul Pogba starred against Chelsea, bagging two assists. He made his presence felt when it mattered the most, with the floated long pass for Rashford’s second goal being the highlight of the victory.
However, the Frenchman has to be at his very best on Monday as he will come up against Ruben Neves, who has the ability to control games with his wide range of distribution. The Wolves midfielder should be tasked with nullifying Pogba’s influence in the final third, whilst recycling possession and creating chances for his teammates as well.
The Neves-Pogba battle in the midfield would be an interesting one to watch and one that could decide the outcome of the game.
3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester City ahead of PL gameweek 6
3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester ahead of PL gameweek 6
Man United triumphed 1-0 over Leicester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, as the Red Devils ended the Foxes’ unbeaten run and registered their first victory in the league since the 4-0 hammering of Chelsea on the opening day of the campaign.
The game, which was regarded as one of the main attractions of Round 5, turned out to be something of an anti-climax in the end, and the overall lack of creativity over the ninety minutes was quite ridiculous considering the quality of players in action.
There was hardly anything to separate the two teams in what turned out to be a rather dull and boring game of pretty ordinary standards, with Marcus Rashford making all the difference with his goal from the penalty spot early in the first half.
Overall, it was a story of how both the teams failed to live up to the hype surrounding the game, with Man United lacking the composure to keep hold of the ball long for long enough to carve out anything meaningful and Leicester just not showing enough creativity to find a way through a stubborn United backline led by Harry Maguire.
Nevertheless, Ole Gunnar Solskajer should be happy with those three valuable points and more importantly, against a side that has been tipped to overtake them in the race for the top-six. Here are 3 talking points from the dull 1-0 encounter:
1. Maguire gets the better of Vardy
This was the first time that Harry Maguire was facing his old club in the Premier League since his move to Man United earlier in the summer and the Englishman was always going to be Solskajer’s best bet in trying to keep an in-form Jamie Vardy at bay.
And the towering central defender, who seemed to be fully aware of Vardy’s tricks and strengths in the final third, didn’t allow his former teammate to even get a sniff of the goal on Saturday.
Maguire’s flawless reading of the game and his knowledge of Vardy’s strengths were instrumental in United’s efforts to drag the ultimate opportunist out of the game and though it wasn’t a very creative display from the Red Devils, they certainly deserve plenty of credit for a clean-sheet against one of the most potent attacking units in the division.
2. Soyuncu’s bubble finally bursts
Caglar Soyuncu, who has taken over the reins from Maguire at the heart of Leicester’s defence, was showered with praises for his performances in the first four league games heading into the international break but the youngster turned into a villain at Old Trafford this weekend.
Soyuncu’s needless clip on Marcus Rashford’s heels inside the box early in the first half allowed United to open the scoring from the penalty spot and that, ultimately, would go on to be the decisive moment of the game.
Indeed, he has done a fair job at the back but his sudden rush of blood on Saturday, which eventually cost the Foxes the game, would have reminded Rodgers that the Turk is still quite young and relatively inexperienced at the Premier League level.
3. Scott McTominay the standout performer for Man United
On a day where both the teams lacked creativity and finesse in the middle of the park, Scott McTominay put in arguably his best performance of the season so far and repaid Solskjaer’s faith in his abilities.
Playing alongside Nemanja Matic as a part of a double pivot in the midfield, the Scottish international completely bossed the midfield with his tireless running up and down the pitch, while his physical presence put off the likes of Hamza Choudhury and Youri Tielemans.
McTominay broke down the play really well with his tackles and interceptions, carried the ball forward with intent and was always at the right place and at the right time to safeguard United from Leicester’s forays.
The 22-year-old won 9 out of 16 duels on the ground, 3 out of 3 duels in the air, completed 2 out of his 2 attempted tackles and chipped in with 2 interceptions and 3 clearances.
Apart from that, he was instrumental in circulating possession in the midfield and switching the play, with the youngster registering 60 touches on the ball and completing 31 passes (accuracy rate of 79.5), including 6 successful long balls.
McTominay has shown signs of maturing into a powerful defensive midfielder this term and Man United have every reason to be pleased with his rapid development.
[Image] Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 5 featuring Chelsea duo and Norwich star
2019-20 Premier League: Team of the Week Round 5
Premier League returned to action with a bang this weekend after the end of the international break and Round 5 witnessed plenty of turnarounds in fortunes for some of the big-six clubs.
Wolves continued their losing habits and Everton stumbled against Bournemouth, while newcomers Norwich City grabbed the headlines with a shock 3-2 victory over Man City at Carrow Road.
There were plenty of individual performances that got the crowd off their seats and it is now time to assemble the standout performers from Round 5 in our Team of the Week.
Premier League Team of the Week
Tim Krul (GK)
The Dutchman showed a tremendous level of calmness and composure between the sticks against a world-class Man City attack and made several key saves to propel his team to an upset victory.
Serge Aurier (RB)
Perhaps a rather surprise inclusion in the list, the Ivorian announced his return to Spurs’ starting eleven in an emphatic manner and stole the show against Crystal Palace with a superb all-round display.
Harry Maguire (CB)
The England international returned to face his former club Leicester City and did ever so well to keep Jamie Vardy at bay in the Red Devils’ 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.
Fikayo Tomori (CB)
He might not have done an awful lot defensively in Chelsea’s 5-2 victory over Wolves but his 35-yeard screamer is likely to be one of the top contenders for the Goal of the Season award.
Andrew Robertson (LB)
The Scotsman assisted Sadio Mane’s equaliser in the 3-1 triumph over Newcastle and put in yet another lion-hearted performance down the left-hand side of the pitch.
Scott McTominay (CDM)
The youngster was one of the brightest sparks in United’s victory over Leicester this weekend, thwarting the Foxes with numerous interventions in the middle of the park.
Emiliano Buendia (LM)
Norwich City, as a unit, completely outplayed Man City in the 3-1 win at home and the Argentinian was one of the standout performers with his creativity and uncompromised work rate.
Heung-min Son (RM)
The Korean hasn’t had the best start to the season but he finally rose to the occasion and bagged a brace in the 4-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace, including a stunning volley that rattled the net.
Roberto Firmino (CAM)
The only inclusion in the elite eleven who came on as a substitute, the Brazilian changed the whole complexion of the game in favour of Liverpool and completely bamboozled the Magpies with his guile, craft and work rate.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)
One of the sure contenders for the Golden Boot this season, the Gabonese international took his tally up to 5 goals with a well-taken brace against Watford.
Tammy Abraham (ST)
The Chelsea academy graduate just can’t stop scoring at the moment. The youngster bagged a hat-trick in the Blues’ 5-2 triumph over Wolves and took his tally up to 7, becoming Chelsea youngest-ever player to score a Premier League hat-trick.
[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Man United XI to face FC Astana – can the Red Devils begin Europa League journey with a win?
Manchester United vs FC Astana prediction: Manchester United line-up
Manchester United begin their Europa League campaign with a home encounter against Kazakhstan side FC Astana on Thursday.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have endured a mixed start to the Premier League season, they still sit fourth on the table with eight points from five games. The Red Devils narrowly defeated Leicester City at the weekend and Solskjaer will look to achieve some momentum now.
With a relatively thin squad this time around, the Norwegian tactician could use the Europa League by giving the academy stars a chance to impress. In fact, it is the perfect time for some of the Manchester United fringe players to make a lasting impact.
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba are unlikely to feature on Thursday but they’ll be ready for Sunday’s trip to West Ham. Diogo Dalot is a doubt but Solskjaer could have Jesse Lingard back for the FC Astana test.
Probable Manchester United XI
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Sergio Romero (GK)
Romero has often featured in this competition in the past and the experienced Argentinean could start between the sticks on Thursday.
Ashley Young (RB)
With Wan-Bissaka expected to be rested and Dalot still out, Young is likely to be deployed at right-back.
Axel Tuanzebe (CB)
Tuanzebe made his first appearance of the season coming off the bench against Leicester on Saturday. He should get his first start of the season against Astana.
Phil Jones (CB)
Partnering Tuanzebe at the heart of United’s defence could be Jones, whose experience will come handy in such a tricky game.
Marcos Rojo (LB)
With Shaw out injured, Solskjaer could hand Rojo his first start of the campaign at left-back.
Nemanja Matic (CM)
Matic may not have played much this season but he is likely to start this game and help United get a solid start in the Europa League.
Fred looked lively in his first appearance of the season against Leicester, impressing after coming off the bench. This could be the perfect opportunity for Fred to get some minutes under his belt and impress the manager.
Jesse Lingard (RW)
Lingard hasn’t been able to make much of an impact for the Red Devils this season. So, he’ll look to seize the chance on Thursday against FC Astana.
Tahith Chong (LW)
Chong was very impressive in his cameo against Leicester, adding plenty of pace, energy and dynamism to the attack. He is in line to start his first game for Manchester United.
Angel Gomes (CAM)
Gomes is a special talent, who could provide some much-needed creativity and spark to United’s attack. He has been knocking on the door for some time now and is likely to start in the no.10 role.
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Mason Greenwood (ST)
Needless to say, Greenwood needs a run of games in the number 9 role. No starts have come his way yet, but the first could come on Thursday.
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