Wolves vs Manchester United
Anthony Martial has been what you would call a bit part player for United this season, with that largely coming down to injury. However, when called upon the Frenchman has certainly offered plenty in an attacking sense for Ten Haag’s side.
Martial is averaging 1.70 shots on target P/90 from 2.04 shots P/90, a fantastic strike rate. He’s certainly capable of making Jose Sa work this lunchtime.
The French forward’s form this season has been relatively solid. He’s managed 8 shots on target in his last 5 league games for United, and he only started 3 of them.
Martial shots on target in last 5 Premier League games: 2, 2, 0, 1, 3
Wolves have conceded 4.12 shots on target P/90 this season, with Everton amassing a total of 6 shots on target in Julen Lopetegui’s first game in charge. There will be chances here for Martial, and I expect him to test Sa at least once.
Wolves captain Ruben Neves has proven himself to be necessarily combative this season. Not that it’s made a difference as to where they find themselves in the table, but the Portuguese midfielder will be a prime candidate for fouls at the base of the midfield.
Neves is averaging 0.87 fouls P/90, and is the single most carded player in the Premier League with 7, evidence that he’s truly willing to put himself about.
He’s committed a minimum of 1 foul in 8 of his last 9 league games.
Perhaps of more interest is Neves’ tackling output. The Wolves captain attempts 2.73 tackles per game, again highlighting a consistent intent to win the ball, and that he puts himself into more positions to make fouls.
He’ll come up against the likes of Bruno Fernandes, a player fouled 1.36 times P/90 and the single most fouled player in the United squad.
The United playmaker is crafty, and 1.79 dribbles P/90 should draw some change from Neves, who’s tough tackling approach will be a dangerous one to employ against his international compatriot.
Whilst Wolves only managed 2 corners away against Everton in Julen Lopetegui’s first game in charge, I would expect things to change when they take on United at home now that the Spaniard has a taste for Premier league football.
Over the course of the season, Wolves have been a solid bet for corners averaging 4.69 over their 16 games thus far.
It’s a total that has landed in all but 2 of Wolves’ 16 fixtures this season, encouraging signs fot his total to land again.
Wolves corners in last 5 league games: 2, 6, 4, 6, 9
At home against United, I expect Wolves to look to play at a quick tempo. Direct and tricky wide men such as Podence, Hwang, and Traore (2.98, 2.56, 5.62 dribbles P/90) should faciliate the accumulation of corners.
United meanwhile have conceded 5.60 corners P/90, and conceded 9 at home to an incredibly lacklustre Forest side on Tuesday.
Ten Haag’s side have conceded 4 corners on 11 occasions this season, with this selection also landing in 4 of their last 5.
United corners conceded in last 5 league games: 9, 10, 3, 10, 6
Two teams that love a card here. United are the most carded side in the Premier League this season after picking up 3 against Forest, whilst Wolves sit 2nd for cads after a staggering 6 against Everton on Boxing Day.
The pair come in with card averages comfortably above 2.00 per game. United sit at 2.67, whereas Wolves have amassed 2.38 per game.
Wolves and United rank 2nd and 4th respectively for over 3.5 match cards in the Premier League, with this selection landing in 69% (11 out of 16) of Wolves’ fixtures, and 67% (10 out of 15) of United’s.
Playstyle’s matter here, and Lopetegui’s debut outing tells you everything you need to know about how Wolves will look to approach games. 6 cards against a toothless Everton makes for good reading, and suggests that the Spaniard’s side certainly won’t shirk a tackle.
Meanwhile, United’s 3 cards against a poor Forest side also suggests that United are capable of going into the referee’s book even against the most reserved opponents.
Wolves cards in last 5 league games: 6, 3, 3, 4, 2
United cards in last 5 league games: 3, 1, 3, 1, 4