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Preview: Manchester United vs Wolves, Saturday 6th November 2010

November 5, 2010

On Saturday, United will look to continue their recent resurgence with a seemingly straightforward task on Saturday at home to Wolves. At least, that’s what Man City thought last week when they travelled to Molineux only to be beaten by a team performance full of endeavour that was in sharp contrast to their own.

At Old Trafford however, the task seems much more straightforward. Despite Wolves’ good performance last weekend, it was only their second win of a season that has been lacklustre so far with their main talking point being their ‘shit-kicker’ reputation they have garnered this season . An Arsene Wenger favourite, that one.

Of course, Wolves were recently at Old Trafford little over a week ago, and gave a good account of themselves in a 3-2 United win, but aside from that and a nifty point at Goodison back in July, they have been woeful on the road. Due to the start they’ve made, and the reputation they’ve garnered, Mick McCarthy won’t want to bring any more negative press to his team, so wholesale changes to the team for the trip to Old Trafford like last season’s premature surrender won’t take place this time.

After fairly straightforward wins against Spurs, Stoke, and Bursaspor another simple win here should be the order of the day to fully cement the defence as back in business and the solid force it was before this season’s puzzling collapse. Indeed, last week’s win against Spurs was surprinsgly straightforward – except, of course for that goal – but two of the chief components of that victory, Nani and Darren Fletcher are out on Saturday after both getting injured during the win in Turkey. It should mean that the midfield picks itself after good performances in the middle from Carrick and Scholes Tuesday night.

Hernandez should also return as the 4-4-2 has worked well during our recent spate of good results, and despite Wolves probably fielding five in the middle, there should be enough firepower up top to eventually blow them away. Berbatov has been somewhat lacklustre the last few games, and a game like Wolves at home is perfect for him to get back into the groove.

A partnership of Carrick and Scholes, especially at Old Trafford, should dictate proceedings even though Wolves have an extra man. One slight concern is that the extra man could tell eventually for Wolves in the middle of the park as their midfield has a high work rate, but I don’t think they have enough of a threat to warrant playing a defensive midfielder. Anderson, whose defensive work is underrated, could come in for Scholes to provide some legs in midfield.

This leaves one final outstanding issue – the wings. With Nani out, Obertan should keep his place after a stellar performance on Tuesday and Park should start on the other wing, particularly as his work-rate can far match Wolves’. Despite another accomplished performance against Bursaspor, Smalling will also make way for Ferdinand who will have to deal with either Kevin Doyle or Steven Fletcher. As Doyle led the line well against City, he should get the nod on Saturday, but a better option could be to use Fletcher’s sheer physicality as a lone target man to try and bully Vidic. Ex-United Ebanks Blake should be named on the bench.

Chelsea laboured to a 2-0 victory over Wolves in their last away game, and I would take the same here, but with a bit more zest. Wolves haven’t actually been thrashed yet this season (their heaviest defeat was 3-1 at Spurs) so it all points to a fairly routine victory.

Prediction: 2-0.

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