It was a dream start for new Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui as he won his first Premier League match 2-1 away against Everton. Rayan Ait Nouri struck with the last kick of the game to give Wolves a much needed 3 points. Now they play host to a Man Utd team chasing the top four. The Red Devils registered a comfortable 3-0 victory vs Nottingham Forest and will be aiming for a similar outcome again.
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New Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui went with a 4-3-3 formation vs Everton and is expected to retain the same system.
One change in the XI could be Matheus Nunes replacing Joe Hodge in midfield. The young Irishman did impress though, so that particular position is up for grabs. Both Pedro Neto and Jonny are doubtful with injury and are unlikely to feature.
Erik ten Haag sprung a surprise in the previous match by employing Luke Shaw at centre back. However, both Lisandro Martinez and Harry Maguire might return into consideration here.
It would be a surprise if United’s midfield or attack changes considering their excellent performance vs Nottingham Forest. Anthony Martial will likely lead the line with Marcus Rashford cutting in from the left.
Wolves only average 0.63 goals per match but have been vastly underachieving their xG which is 1.46. Part of their goal scoring problems have been averaging just 3.13 SOT per game which is a very low figure. At the other end of the field Wolves have conceded 1.56 goals per game and on average their opponents have fired 13.00 shots against.
Wolves matches have generally contained a decent number of corners at both ends of the field. They average 4.69 for and 4.94 against. Their fixtures tend to be quite feisty as well and Wolves have a high card count, racking up an average of 2.56 per game. Their opponents have obtained 1.81 cards in each fixture.
Man United average 1.53 goals for and 1.33 against per 90 mins. United average 13.93 shots per game but also concede a high number of shots, 12.33 in each game although only a third of those have been on target.
Erik ten Haag’s men have conceded more corners on average (5.60) than they have obtained (4.33) and have been a poorly disciplined team compared to their opponents. United average a league high 2.67 cards per match as opposed to 1.20 against.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Striker Diego Costa averages 3.04 shots per 90 mins since joining Wolves. Only 1.07 of those have been on target though and he’s been lacking accuracy. The whole team struggles with accuracy, and only one other player: Raul Jimenez averages more than one SOT per 90 mins (1.25).
Daniel Podence scored vs Everton and fires in 2.07 shots per 90 mins. He could take some confidence from that goal and might be one to watch here.
Brazilian showboating winger Antony averages the most shots per 90 mins for Man United with 3.57, converting that into 1.62 SOT. Marcus Rashford only averages 2.60 shots per 90 mins with 1.11 on target.
The most accurate of Man United’s shooters is Anthony Martial who converts his 2.04 shots into an impressive 1.70 SOT. Fred got himself on the scoresheet vs Forest and fires 3.28 shots per match, albeit at a poor accuracy rate.
Player Goals and Assists
In cricketing terms, Wolves rarely trouble the scorers. Only five players have managed to find the back of the net this entire season with Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves bagging the most with four. Daniel Podence has now scored three times.
Left back Rayan Ait Nouri scored the late winner vs Everton which was his first goal of the season. Right wing speedster Adama Traore also only has one goal. This Wolves team really lacks assists. Incredibly, none of their players have supplied more than one this season!
Marcus Rashford has scored five goals for Man United and also weighed in with three assists. He had a strong game vs Forest so should be confident here.
Antony has scored three times from just seven appearances whilst Anthony Martial has three goals and two assists from just six starts. The leading assist provider for the Red Devils with five is Danish talisman Christian Eriksen.
Wolves have averaged 49% possession overall, but it is worth noting that vs Everton they only had 42%. They were playing away from home, but this is still a low amount facing one of the poorer teams in the Premier League. The expectation is they might not have much of the ball here.
Only two Wolves players, Jonny Castro and Ruben Neves average more than 60 passes per 90 mins. Jonny is likely injured which leaves Neves and potentially centre back Max Kilman as the most likely candidates for the most Wolves passes.
United have an overall possession metric of 53% this season. They racked up 66% of the ball vs Forest in midweek though and will likely dominate that statistic again here.
Luke Shaw averages 77.5 passes per 90 mins and amassed a massive 111 passes vs Forest when operating as a centre back. If that happens again here, then his over passes must be considered. Only three other United players, Casemiro, Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez average more than 60 passes per 90 mins.
Wolves rank fifth overall for yellow cards obtained this season in the Premier League and Ruben Neves leads the entire division, picking up 7 yellows so far. Neves only averages 0.88 fouls per 90 mins but tends to go in hard and can also talk himself into the book.
The two players who average the most fouls per 90 mins in this Wolves team are Daniel Podence (1.57) and Nelson Semedo (1.53). They have both each picked up four cards each. Centre back Nathan Collins has three cards and averages roughly one foul per 90 mins.
The trio of Anthony Elanga, Anthony Martial and Brazilian winger Antony average the most dribbles per 90 mins of anyone in this Man Utd squad. Martial and Antony are expected to start and are obvious candidates to draw fouls, especially the Brazilian with his bag of tricks and showboating. Both Hugo Bueno and Podence will have their hands full down that side.
Elsewhere, in midfield Bruno Fernandes is fouled 1.36 times per 90 mins and is sure to have a crunching midfield clash with fellow countryman Ruben Neves.
Match-Ups to watch
Ruben Neves vs Bruno Fernandes
Nelson Semedo vs Anthony Martial
Hugo Bueno vs Antony
Manchester united Cards
United lead the card count in the Premier League this season and three players, McTominay, Fernandes and Dalot all have five each. Luke Shaw and Malacia have obtained three.
McTominay and Malacia top the foul count averaging 2.54 and 2.19 respectively per 90 mins. It doesn’t look like either will start here though. Both Dalot and Shaw would appear vulnerable, although Shaw did feature as a centre back in the previous game.
The two most fouled Wolves players are likely substitutes Guedes and Adama Traore. The speedy Traore is a bit of an enigma and averages 5.62 dribbles per 90 mins. He’s fouled 1.78 times on average and will be a very tricky customer when he comes on the field.
Both starting wingers Podence and Hwang tend to dribble the ball a lot, close to 3.00 times per 90 mins in the case of Podence. It looks like it will be a difficult match for the Man Utd full backs.
Match-Ups to watch
Luke Shaw vs Hwang/ Adama Traore
Diego Dalot vs Daniel Podence
Bruno Fernandez vs Ruben Neves