What can we expect from Wolves?
Wolverhampton Wanderers proved to be tricky customers for Manchester United last season.
The Reds drew 1-1 at Old Trafford, before suffering defeats at Molineux in the league and cup as Nuno Espirito Santo's side finished seventh and qualified for Europe in their first season back in the top flight.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men returning to the Black Country, here is a look at the potential dangermen United could face in our first away Premier League fixture of the season.
STRIKER: RAUL JIMENEZ
The talented front-runner is likely to start in attack with Diogo Jota for the hosts tonight, as he looks to continue his impressive record against the big six in the Premier League. During his first season at Wolves, six of the Mexican’s 17 goals came against Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and United.
Jimenez is a constant danger in the opposition area with his clever close control and finishing ability making him difficult to stop. The 28-year-old's performances during Wolves’ run to the Emirates FA Cup semi-final and seventh-placed Premier League finish in 2018/19 led to him being voted the club’s Players’ Player of the Season.
Before his £30 million move to Molineux, the 6ft 2in attacker spent four years at Benfica, where he won the Portuguese league title on two occasions alongside our Swedish defender Victor Lindelof, who is expected to come up against Jimenez in the Monday night fixture.
MIDFIELDER - RUBEN NEVES
The highly-rated schemer played an instrumental role during his first season at the club as Wolves won the EFL Championship and promotion back to the Premier League.
He joined from Porto in 2017 for £15 million, despite several teams from Europe’s elite rumoured to be interested in his services. The 22-year-old is a modern-day midfield technician with the ability to dictate the tempo of a match through his range of passing and pinpoint set-pieces, with two of his four goals in the top flight last season coming directly from free-kicks.
His partnership with fellow Portugual international Joao Moutinho in the middle of the park is vital to Wolves implementing a high-pressing game on their opponents to spark counter-attacks. Neves was part of the Portugal squad who were crowned the first champions of the UEFA Nations League in June, alongside former Red, Cristiano Ronaldo.
DEFENDER - MATT DOHERTY
The Irishman is regarded as one of the best attacking right-backs in the Premier League following his impressive displays in 2018/19, as he netted four goals, registered seven assists and helped Wolves’ defence keep nine clean sheets. In fact, the only two players with more goal contributions for Nuno's men than the 6ft 2in defender last season were strikers Jimenez and Jota.
The Irishman provides a strong threat going forward as part of Nuno’s tactical set-up, which is usually a 3-5-2 formation, allowing Doherty freedom to combine his attacking and defensive duties on the right wing.
Wolves signed the 27-year-old from Irish side Bohemians for just £75,000 in 2010, making him their longest-serving outfield player and, since then, he has appeared for the club in England’s top three divisions, as well as having loans spells at Hibernian and Bury.
GOALKEEPER – RUI PATRICIO
The keeper has a wealth of experience and a reputation as being one of the best in the business in Europe, which prompted Wolves to sign him from Sporting Lisbon – where he kept 179 clean sheets in 460 appearances. He dislodged John Ruddy as the club’s no.1 following his arrival and, since then, has missed only one league game.
Patricio has built a career out of making high-calibre saves and showing quick reactions to frustrate opposing strikers and the shot-stopper already has one clean sheet to his name this campaign, after Wolves drew 0-0 away at Leicester in their first league game.
At 31 years old, the former Lisbon man still has many years at the top left ahead of him and he is set to play a key role for Wolves as they aim to break into the top six of the Premier League.
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