United, at Molineux, have the chance to bounce back from a European exit by beating Wolves much like they did earlier in the year after their exit from the Champions’ League. That day United beat Wolves by putting four past them in a 4-1 victory. On Sunday a Wolves team in turmoil will be hoping that they don’t act, once more, as the footballing punch bag for United’s frustration. Instead they’ll be hoping to repeat last season’s 2-1 victory were Kevin Doyle scored the winner.
De Gea will start in goal and his defence will have Evra and Evans in it. Rafael or Smalling will fill in at right with Rafael’s attacking edge likely to give him a starting place. Evans’ partner could be Smalling who, donning a Cech-like helmet, made a return to fitness in Spain and could replace a possibly injured Ferdinand.
In midfield Scholes was an unused substitute against Bilbao and is surely set for a start in the middle of the park. He will charged with keeping the ball and frustrating Wolves whilst allowing his wingers, probably Valencia and Young, to join Cleverley and the strikers in attack. An interesting selection opportunity could be the much vanuted Paul Pogba. If rumours are to be believed then he looks to have signed a contract and with Ferguson now labelling him as a first team player he may find himself amongst the starters. He is, however, more likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.
Up front Rooney, if fully fit, will look to carry on his impressive goal scoring form and will be partnered by Welbeck or Hernandez. My personal preference would be for Welbeck but Hernandez appears to playing his way into Ferguson’s ideas recently. His pace and eye for goal would certainly be something to concern the Wolves defence.
For their part, Wolves have Karl Henry out and concerns over Jamie O’Hara and Nenad Milijas. Other than that they are looking in good shape and should approach this game as a no-lose situation. They’re not expected to win so may as well go for it. Winning this game won’t keep Wolves up in the Premier League, it’s the games against the teams around them that’ll have a bigger impact on their season.
Wolves have failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous twenty five league outings.
This may be down to the fact that they’ve allowd their opponents a staggering 208 shots on target this season.
Since losing 4-1 at Old Trafford in December, Wolves have picked up only one win and five draws, losing eight.
Rooney has scored in his last four league appearances.
He’s scored ten goals in his last seven league and cup outings.
If United win it’ll be their tenth away win of the season – twice as many as last season’s tally – and it will take them four points clear at the top.
I fancy United to bounce back from another European lesson and compound Wolves’ position as relegation candidates. Whilst an away fixture in the Premier League is never easy and I would never be so arrogant to assume an easy victory I do expect United to up the pressure on City by beating Wolves by a goal or two.