Wolves vs. Manchester United, Tuesday 2nd April, 18:45
Two defeats from our last three doesn’t tell the true story of our progression under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the W15-D2-L3 record he’s amassed during his time at the helm more representative of performances at large.
That includes nine victories from 11 road trips, while in the Premier League alone it’s 11 wins from 14 matches home or away, with just the solitary defeat as we went down at Arsenal.
That loss saw a team depleted by injuries as Paul Pogba was shunted out to the left-wing, while right-back Diego Dalot was pushed further forward on the other side.
However, Wolves’ record against the top sides has been well documented this term, and having gone undefeated at Molineux since the 2nd January as Crystal Palace sprang a surprise, winning six of seven games in all competitions, they’re not a team to be taken lightly at all.
Wolves are used to playing with a back three having deployed a 3-4-3 formation in their title-winning season in the Championship, but while it’s been tweaked slightly to a 3-5-2 this term, the philosophy remains the same and Nuno Espirito Santo can also call upon wide forwards like Helder Costa and club record signing Adama Traore from the bench for a plan B.
The extra man in the middle has helped exude control and avoided a situation whereby they’re overrun by the better sides down the central areas, though they still struggle to break down weaker sides.
Indeed, they could only manage one shot on target against Burnley despite enjoying 63% of the possession, but on the counter they can be a deadly force going forwards as they’ve demonstrated versus various top sides this term.
The international break afforded a welcome opportunity for various players to rest and recuperate, with the squad previously stretched thin as the injuries were mounting up.
Although Anthony Martial suffered a knock versus Watford at the weekend and was replaced five minutes after grabbing what turned out to be the winner, Solskjaer has claimed the Frenchman is available for selection, even if he may possibly have to settle for a place on the bench in order to mitigate risk having spent various spells on the sidelines recently.
Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard were on the bench against the Hornets, though the former will likely be the one to replace Martial in the starting XI in an otherwise unchanged attack.
Victor Lindelof also missed the game against Watford but should be available again after his wife gave birth, leaving just four players unavailable for selection.
However, Matteo Darmian, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Alexis Sanchez wouldn’t have got a look-in on current performances anyway, so their absences shouldn’t prove particularly detrimental. Given Wolves have a clean bill of health, both sides should have strong line-ups out there on the pitch.
We’ve been grinding out results despite not being at our best, and with Wolves cocking one eye on their FA Cup semi-final clash with Watford, we’re quietly confident of a major win in the context of the race for the top four.
That there’s a quick turnaround with this fixture on a Tuesday evening is certainly beneficial to us, not just because of a greater squad depth, but also owing to experience of these kinds of weeks after regular participation in European competitions.
However, given both teams have scored in nine of Wolves’ 11 encounters with ‘Big Six’ sides across all competitions, there’s good value surrounding enhanced odds for the win and both teams to score, as well as the 2-1 correct score.
*all odds are subject to change