Patrick Cutrone and Diogo Jota celebrate scoring a goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Why United can expect a different Wolves test

Manchester United are set to face Wolverhampton Wanderers for the third time in four weeks when Nuno Espirito Santos’s men travel to Old Trafford on Saturday.

Given that we’ve become so accustomed to going toe-to-toe with the Black Country outfit, it could be presumed that the Reds should know exactly what to expect this weekend.

However, for a variety of reasons, Wolves’s squad makeup could be much changed from our previous two clashes in 2020…

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CUP LINE-UP

Our recent double-header of fixtures with Wolves came in the Emirates FA Cup and the Midlanders, like most Premier League sides, rotated their team for the competition. John Ruddy, for example, played both matches, but regular no.1 Rui Patricio will almost certainly start at Old Trafford. Max Kilman and Benny Ashley-Seal also were selected to play in our trip to Molineux on 5 January, but between the pair they have made just two Premier League starts so far this year, so neither are expected to begin Saturday’s clash.
TRANSFERS

Wolves announced the signing of winger Daniel Podence from Olympiacos earlier this week and he could make his debut at Old Trafford on Saturday. The 24-year-old, who scored against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League in September, is expected to go straight into the squad for this weekend’s clash. However, Leonardo Campana and Enzo Loiodice, who also joined the club in January, are unlikely to feature.

In terms of outgoings, Patrick Cutrone left Molineux in January and returned to his native Italy on loan for the end of the season. The striker, who featured in the reverse league meeting in August, will spend the remainder of the campaign at Fiorentina. Jesus Vallejo will also be unavailable for the visitors, with the centre-back moving to Granada on loan last month.
INJURIES

Diogo Jota and Willy Boly missed both of our FA Cup fixtures earlier this year through injury, but have since recovered from their respective problems. The former featured in Wolves’s last league game - a 2-1 defeat against Liverpool - while Boly was on the bench for that clash, but could be fit to start at the Theatre of Dreams. However, wing-back Ruben Vinagre is a doubt for this weekend’s match. The youngster picked up a knock in our FA Cup game two weeks ago, which forced him to sit out the recent loss to Liverpool.

Highlights: United 1 Wolves 0Video

FAMILIAR FOES

We’ve certainly become accustomed to facing Wolves in the past year - in fact, this will be our sixth meeting in 11 months and Ole has faced no side more often since taking charge of the Reds. However, our recent spate of fixtures has not been the norm over the past few decades and while Saturday will be our sixth encounter in under a year, our six prior meetings were spaced out over a period of eight years.

United also have a good record when hosting Wolves and we haven’t lost to the West Midlands side in our last 11 games at Old Trafford, stretching back to 1980. Ole’s Reds did, of course, beat Wolves in our previous home meeting this campaign - the 1-0 victory last month - while we drew 1-1 last season in the league, a game in which Fred scored his only United goal to date.

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