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Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Premier League clash between Wolves and Man United, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Manchester United will be seeking revenge when they make the trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers, a little over two weeks on from their FA Cup loss at Molineux.

Wolves picked up a 2-1 win in the quarter-final tie to inflict a damaging defeat on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, but it was not enough to prevent the Norwegian from landing the United job on a permanent basis.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Raul Jimenez celebrates after opening the scoring for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Manchester United on March 16, 2019© Reuters

Sticking with what appears to be the theme of their season, Wolves followed up their fantastic result against Man United with a disappointing 2-0 loss at the hands of Premier League strugglers Burnley at the weekend.

If there has been one criticism of Nuno Espirito Santo's side this term, it has been their apparent lack of motivation to see off the division's lesser sides. If they are to push on next season and break into the top six, as many have tipped them to, they cannot afford to lose to the likes of Burnley, Huddersfield Town, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.

Still, finishing sixth this season and possibly qualifying for the Europa League would mark an incredible achievement for Nuno in his side's first campaign back in the big time. With the finish line in sight, Wanderers are in pole position to end as the best of the rest in the top flight.

It is against the division's elite clubs that they have reserved their best performances, collecting more points (10) against the big six in the Premier League this season than any of the other 14 teams in the competition.

With Man United and Arsenal still to play at Molineux, and a trip to Liverpool on the final day, Wanderers could pull off a few more upsets yet in this remarkable campaign.

The Premier League is no longer their priority, though, having set up an FA Cup semi-final with Watford thanks to their win over Man United earlier this month.

It will be the West Midlands outfit's first last-four tie in the competition in 21 years, and one they enter as favourites against fellow overachievers Watford. With that match coming just five days after United's visit to Molineux, Nuno's starting lineup on Tuesday will make his priorities clear.

No matter what side the hosts field, however, United will be in for a difficult evening. Wolves are unbeaten in four home Premier League games, winning three of those and keeping a clean sheet in two of the last three, and they will be desperate to rebuild some momentum ahead of their trip to Wembley.

Recent form in Premier League: DDLWDL
Recent form (all competitions): DLWDWL

Manchester United

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford scores past Watford's Ben Foster in the Premier League on March 30, 2019© Reuters

United may have headed into the international break on the back of successive defeats for the first time under Solskjaer, yet there is still a real feel-good factor around Old Trafford.

The regular bland performances from the Jose Mourinho era are a thing of the past, with United's players now entertaining supporters on a weekly basis. That, combined with a good set of results since mid-December, was enough to land Solskjaer the job on a permanent basis.

Solskjaer marked his official appointment with a 2-1 win over Watford on Saturday, though United were pushed all the way by Wolves' upcoming semi-final opponents and were glad to come away with a slender victory.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were both on the scoresheet at Old Trafford, making this the first time since the 1995-96 season (Paul Scholes, Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona) that the Red Devils have had four players score 10+ goals in a single Premier League campaign (Martial, Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba).

The visitors had 20 shots to United's eight, however, with eight of those on target, and Solskjaer confessed after the match that his players seemed as though they "were on holiday".

United cannot afford to enter cruise mode over the remaining two months of the season, still having plenty to play for on two fronts. Ahead of Arsenal's game in hand against Newcastle United on Monday night, Solskjaer's men sit a point better off than the Gunners in fourth place.

In fact, just a point separates United in fourth and Chelsea in sixth, so any dropped points now could prove costly in United's battle to secure another season of Champions League football.

United are still fighting for silverware this term, of course, with Barcelona to come in the quarter-finals of the Champions League next week, but for now they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball in the Premier League.

Recent form in Premier League: DDLWDL
Recent form (all competitions): DLWDWL

Team News

Manchester United winger Anthony Martial goes down injured during the Champions League clash with PSG on February 12, 2019© Reuters

Ryan Bennett is back available for Wolves after serving a two-match ban for an accumulation of yellow cards, giving Nuno a full-strength side to choose from.

After naming Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty on the bench against Burnley at the weekend, Nuno is expected to recall both men from the off on Tuesday evening.

Other regulars may make way to keep them fresh for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, though, potentially opening the door for Adama Traore to start for the ninth time this season.

Eleven of Wolves' last 15 home goals in the Premier League have been scored by either Jimenez (six) or Diogo Jota (five), but it is unlikely that will both start this match.

Man United's injury list is slowly starting to clear up, meanwhile, with Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Eric Bailly their only confirmed absentees.

Martial has recovered from a knock picked up against Watford, while Lukaku and Victor Lindelof are back in contention after overcoming injuries of their own.

Lukaku and Jesse Lingard are also both in line for returns to the starting lineup for this trip to Molineux, and some rotation can be expected in central midfield as Fred, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira are all pushing for inclusion.

Pogba should retain his place, though, as he has been directly involved in five of Man United's last eight away goals in the Premier League.

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Jimenez, Traore

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Young, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Herrera, McTominay, Pogba; Lingard; Lukaku, Rashford

Head To Head

Wolves have alternated between victory and defeat in their four previous Premier League home games against Man United, losing 5-0 the last time the sides faced each other at Molineux in March 2012.

The Red Devils are looking to avoid consecutive away defeats to Wanderers in all competitions for the first time since August 1980 following their 2-1 loss in this month's FA Cup quarter-final, when Jimenez and Jota were again on the scoresheet.

Not since 1979-80 have Wolves defeated United twice in the same season, however, winning both top-flight matches that campaign.

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We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester United

After losing their first away league game under Solskjaer last time out at Arsenal, following a run of six successive wins on their travels, United are now looking to avoid losing back-to-back away matches in the top flight for the first time since February 2018. Wolves' focus may be elsewhere in midweek, but they have a superb record against the top six and they cannot be written off here.

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring against Leicester City in the Premier League on February 3, 2019.
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1Manchester CityMan City32262483216280
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs322111060342664
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd32187761431861
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32138114039147
9Leicester CityLeicester32135144243-144
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham32126144148-742
13Crystal Palace32106163843-536
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3298153142-1135
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3196163246-1433
18Cardiff CityCardiff3284202861-3328
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3235241859-4114

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