It would be easy to assume a trip to Molineux would represent a simple three points for United today, but the past will tell us a different story.
Anyone who remembers Kenny Miller’s winner several years ago, or how close Wolves came to equalising in the final minute last season will testify that it ain’t always a walk in the park against the Midlanders.
Should United avoid defeat today then it would be a club league record, beating the previous best from the treble winning season. With Wolves propping up the table and having lost as many home games as they’ve won.
Wolves have lost their last two EPL home games against Stoke and Liverpool, however a month ago they did defeat Chelsea which should give United pause for thought.
United’s squad is in good shape going into the game, with Rafael returning and Darren Fletcher expected to be available following his cut on Tuesday night- not exactly Terry Butcher was he. Other than long-term absentees Antonio Valencia and Owen Hargreaves, not to mention Ji Sung Park who’s still recovering from his international duties. Stephen Hunt could be missing for Wolves who may give a debut to loan signing Jamie O’Hara.
Despite the massive gulf between the two sides the games at Old Trafford in both the league and the Carling Cup it took goals from Park and Chicharito to win the ties in the final minute.
With ‘squeaky bum time’ only a month or so away you cannot afford to take any game for granted and there’s no doubt that a win against United -or even a draw- would give Wolves a massive boost in their relegation battle.
So who do United need to be wary of in a team that’s struggled at both ends of the pitch all season?
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Ones to Watch/Head to Head
Although with only two assists and the same number of goals it might not seem that Jarvis is the most effective right winger in the Premier League, on his day he can be a handful. In the pre-King Kenny glorious comeback era of five games ago there was even talk of Liverpool being interested in him- arguably started by Jarvis himself, admittedly.
Regardless of whether Roy Hodgson was after him or not in all honesty you’d expect Patrice Evra to keep Jarvis quiet to say the least.
The tough tackling midfielder has taken over Michael Brown’s mantle as the man everybody loves to hate. Henry was behind the tackle that left Bobby Zamora with a broken leg earlier in the season, although to be fair to Henry many -including the referee- didn’t feel it was intentionally dirty.
The tackle on Wigan’s Jordi Gomez two weeks later was definitely intentionally dirty and rightly saw Henry sent off. Since then he’s only received two bookings so it would seem he has curbed his aggression slightly, however if Anderson starts something tells me their could be fireworks between the two- and I don’t mean in a romantic way.
The former United academy product gave his former club a scare when he came off the bench to score in the Premier League game at Old Trafford. With four goals in 19 appearances- ten of which were from the bench- then Ebanks-Blake is a player capable of scoring but not one of the most fearsome strikers Vidic and Ferdinand will face this season.
Overall on paper this looks as though it should be a comfortable United victory, you’d expect the recently scoring again Rooney and the prolific Berbatov to destroy the Wolves defence -but as this season has taught us -there are no easy away games.
Wolves can be a physical side, who can sometimes be accused of dirtyness although to be fair with only four more yellow cards than United this season they aren’t the most ill-disciplined team The Reds have faced.
What United will want to avoid is getting drawn into a scrappy physical game and an early goal from The Reds could open the game up and lead to a comfortable win. I suspect that it may be a lot tighter than that and Wolves will dig in and try and go for the draw, which as I mentioned earlier would be a great result for them,
My heart tells me an easy win but my head tells me it”s going to be a lot closer than that and I think it may even take a late winner from somebody like Chicharito to give United the three points.
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