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Limping United Seek Lift Against Struggling Wolves

It might seem a little strange to say so, especially since Wolves are one of the worst sides in the Premier League, but this afternoon’s match at Old Trafford should be looked at with anticipation. No, not the kind of anticipation that’s felt ahead of a crunch clash in May, but the kind of anticipation brought on by a desire to turn the page and an uncertainty about what lies ahead on that next page.

For reasons that have been discussed, discussed, and discussed, the last few days haven’t been too pleasant for Manchester United, but today offers up the opportunity to start moving ahead. However, there’s no telling what lies ahead today, much less next week, next month, or the remainder of the season.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Wolves

1. Wolves are 16th in the Premier League table, four points clear of the bottom three with 14 points from 14 matches.

Last Sunday, they staged a late comeback to beat fellow strugglers Sunderland 2-1 at home, with Steven Fletcher cancelling out Kieran Richardson’s 52nd-minute opener with a 73rd-minute equalizer and then winning it for Wolves with an 81st-minute strike.

After winning their first two league matches this season, Wolves have only two wins in their last dozen league matches, and they have just as many points in their last 11 matches (7) as they did in their first three.

Away from home this season, Wolves have been woeful. They opened the season with a 2-1 win at Blackburn, but they’re winless in six away matches since, with five defeats and a draw.

2. Steven Fletcher was Wolves’ leading scorer last season, as he notched 10 league goals in 29 appearances, and he’s their leading scorer this season as well, with five league goals in nine appearances. That’s one third of Wolves’ haul in the league thus far, as they have notched only 15 league goals in their 14 matches.

Fletcher should be partnered up front by Kevin Doyle, who has two goals in 13 appearances this season.

Matt Jarvis, who had an excellent season last season, and Stephen Hunt, haven’t been at their best thus far this season but could be dangerous, while former Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara is performing well in his first full season at the club after a half-season on loan last season.

3. Wolves are near the bottom of the league defensively as well, having surrendered 24 goals.

Mick McCarthy’s side has allowed multiple goals in nine league matches, and in their last five away matches in the league, Wolves have surrendered a dozen goals, with each opponent netting at least twice. And in five matches against teams currently in the top seven, they’ve also allowed a dozen goals, with each opponent netting at least twice.

Manchester United

1. No injuries, please.

This goes without saying, especially after the unthinkable happened on Wednesday night, but United can ill-afford to lose anyone else to injury right now, even for a week. Injuries can’t be looked at as the sole reason for what happened in Europe or the recent lack of goals, but if the side was dealing with much better luck on the fitness front, there’s a more than fair chance things would not be as they are at the moment.

2. Rediscover the killer instinct, please.

United haven’t scored more than one goal in any of their last seven Premier League matches. That run needs to come to an end today.

3. Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity.

As crushing as exiting the Champions League is, this week could well be an extremely positive one domestically. If United win today, they’ll be in position to close the deficit at the top to either two or three if City fail to win at Chelsea on Monday.

60 Comments

60 Comments

  1. AndyCR7

    10 December 2011 at 14:28

    De Gea
    Smalling, Evans, Rio, Evra
    Valencia, Carrick, Jones, Nani
    Rooney, Welbeck

    Subs: Lindegaard, Fryers, Gibson, Giggs, Park, Young, Macheda

  2. Andrei

    10 December 2011 at 14:47

    4. No playing for 1-0 win, please.

  3. Traverse

    10 December 2011 at 15:05

    Wolves smell blood. They’re playing like they aren’t scared of us. Hopefully we’ll set them straight with 4 or 5 goals.

    • Ian

      10 December 2011 at 15:11

      lol, did you see my hastily written preview after you asked about a matchday thread?

      Wolves might smell blood

      haha great minds!

  4. Traverse

    10 December 2011 at 15:08

    I’d like to see more of that from Carrick, arriving late into the box. It’s something our midfield is missing in general.

    • Ian

      10 December 2011 at 15:19

      hE’S STARTED REALLY WELL…..NO SURPRISE THOUGH, HE’S STARTED FURTHER UP FIELD, THAT’S WHERE HIS PASSING IS MOST EFFECTIVE

      #canofworms

      sorry about the caps.

  5. Ian

    10 December 2011 at 15:17

    GET THE FUCK IN!!!!!

    1-0 NANI 18 MINS

  6. Eddie

    10 December 2011 at 15:19

    We’ve got one…but can we get two? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Jim

      10 December 2011 at 15:25

      I’d like to know if it could get to 4 or 5… but I suppose we need to start with 2!

      • Ian

        10 December 2011 at 15:26

        Jim, I’ve got a pair for Boxing Day v Wigan if you’re interested.

        • Jim

          10 December 2011 at 15:32

          Hey Bro, thanks for thinking of me, but I won’t be around.

    • Jim

      10 December 2011 at 15:27

      GET IN, WAYNE!

  7. Traverse

    10 December 2011 at 15:25

    Lets hope we don’t drop off like we usually do when we get one. Go for the jugular. Kill Kill KILL!

  8. Jim

    10 December 2011 at 15:27

    Have we figured out why Rio is playing on the left side of central defense, even with Evans back into the team?

  9. AndyCR7

    10 December 2011 at 15:58

    Is it just me or Vally has done more in first half than Young in his last 3-4 matches?!?

    • tonymontanna4united

      10 December 2011 at 16:38

      Youngs been awful since the chelsea game in september. Valencia has been mediocre himself but deserves his start, and from what ive heard (am not watching the game) he has performed ok so far.

      • AndyCR7

        10 December 2011 at 16:54

        3 assists! more than OK performance!

    • Yang

      10 December 2011 at 16:42

      Young is a fine player but I really think we have no problem without Young. We actually need wing back and center midfielder. It seems to me Fergie got his priority wrong.
      Toni must suspect his future in the team.

      • tonymontanna4united

        10 December 2011 at 16:57

        Dont get me wrong, i like young, infact i was one of the few on here who was actually pretty happy with his signing, but fact remains hes been shite for months now. Cant use the “im young, too inexperienced” excuse as hes neither, so just has to take this on the chin. Dropping him may do him some good as well as valencia.
        I agree though, at the end of the day, young wasnt a necessity, and the fact we spent £17m on another winger, missing out on a CM is madness really and something thats ended up coming back to haunt us.
        Sounds like weve got no plans for january either, so looks like we’ll just have to do with what weve got, which could end up haunting us in the same manner as it did the CL.

    • Jim

      10 December 2011 at 16:51

      Valencia played even better in the second half. Young is clearly 3rd choice winger at the moment.

  10. Yang

    10 December 2011 at 15:58

    Individually we are very good team. we do not need many new players only thing we need to do is learning playing as a team which will come as time go.

    I think that it will take a while probably this season may end with empty trophy cabinet.

  11. tonymontanna4united

    10 December 2011 at 16:39

    Fryers making his PL debut. Good lad. Great things to come from this boy me thinks, hope he gets lots of playing time in the coming months with evras shocking form and with the europa league coming up.

  12. Owen

    10 December 2011 at 16:59

    Only a fool will start Young in front of Valencia,a world class winger.

  13. [OPTI]Madschester United

    10 December 2011 at 16:59

    Deserved win, but we were still wasteful up front and nervous in defense.

    Jones should have scored one and made one but fluffed both chances in the box.
    Welbeck should have scored AT LEAST one goal.
    Rooney wasted one big chance but made a nice goal on the half-volley.
    —-
    That’s 2-3 goals that should have been

    We should have won 6 or 7 -1.

    However, win is a win. No injuries. Rooney and Nani both scored and played rather well (Nani).

    MOM = NANI.

    Smalling had a tough time against Jarvis and Rio was frustrated with Gea.

  14. Owen

    10 December 2011 at 17:04

    Carrick is really good these days..Great game along with Valencia and Rooney.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      10 December 2011 at 17:05

      agree. He did wellbreaking up play and delievered some quality passing at times.

    • AndyCR7

      10 December 2011 at 17:26

      That Carrick header from the 1st half was reminiscent of Ronnie’s against Roma…

  15. fahime shuhaime

    10 December 2011 at 17:10

    A different side of Nani today. Nani is genius intelligent if he sacrifices his selfishness and passes the ball. If he could maintain performance like today, i don’t see why he couldn’t be as good as CR.

  16. Moscow is my heaven

    10 December 2011 at 17:17

    Great win lads, get the fuck in. Good to see Rooney end his scoring drought, and some lovely passing by Carrick, he has certainly repaid my faith in him.

  17. RedDevilEddy

    10 December 2011 at 17:55

    Expect Rooney to go on a row now, scoring in 5 or 6 games in a row! 😀

  18. Yang

    10 December 2011 at 18:07

    Angry with Rooney, He waste his own talent with his stupidity. He could be a lot better player than now. Why he concern so much about his suspension.

  19. [OPTI]Madschester United

    10 December 2011 at 20:25

    Regarding our team overall quality, I think it is useful to compare our team against (other) top teams in europe and look at who would walk into our starting eleven:

    Just for kicks, here are Real Madrid and Barca teams. Players in bold would command a starting spot in our team (according to me, of course):

    Barcelona team: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Alexis/D.Villa & Messi.
    Real Madrid team: Casillas, Coentrão, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Alonso, Lass, Di María, Özil, Ronaldo & Benzema.

    Our players would make up the bench and second team of these two clubs with a few exceptions (Vidic, Nani, and Rooney – on form). This is pretty sobering. I even gave De Gea the benefit of the doubt due to his younger age/potential.

    Bayern, Man City, Chelsea would have a couple players each (mainly midfielders and LBs) who could walk into our team.

    The only benefit we have is that our team is young. With Jones, Smalling, Nani, Cleverly, De Gea, Chicharito, Welbeck, Rooney, we have a solid young core. The other teams are relying mainly on 28+ year olds and as long as our youngsters improve fast enough, we will be find in the coming years.

    I am OPTImistic that the tide will turn in our favor and Fergie will retire at the peak, which he deserves.

    BELIEVE!

    • Owen

      10 December 2011 at 20:46

      Even likes of Alcantra,Villa,Khedira,Kaka etc who are bench warmers will easily walk into our team.

      Only player who is suited for those 2 teams from United is Chicharito and Vida before his injury.No one else.

      • RedDevilEddy

        10 December 2011 at 21:50

        Nani, Carrick and Rooney.

        • Owen

          10 December 2011 at 21:55

          Barca lack shooters from distance…Gibson anyone!!

    • RedDevilEddy

      10 December 2011 at 21:54

      I don’t think Øzil would make our team, have you seen him play this season? 😕 Wouldn’t mind Abidal though, best left back in the world.

      • Moscow is my heaven

        10 December 2011 at 21:59

        He obviously forgot that we have Anderson.

        • RedDevilEddy

          10 December 2011 at 22:00

          And Gibson!!! 😯

        • Moscow is my heaven

          10 December 2011 at 22:03

          It’s encouraging to see that our midfield is used to joke around with nowadays…

          Barca lack some bite in their midfield. Fletcher would walk into Barca midfield.

  20. Moscow is my heaven

    10 December 2011 at 20:30

    Red Rants gives future United manager Jose Mourinho and his men the best of wishes to topple BarcaCUNTS and guarantee La Liga title.

    Any predictions on who will win El Clasico showdown?

    • RedDevilEddy

      10 December 2011 at 22:25

      Mourinho is perfect and never loses. 🙄

      • Moscow is my heaven

        11 December 2011 at 00:10

        🙁

      • Stephen

        11 December 2011 at 11:52

        😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    • Ian

      10 December 2011 at 23:05

      These are the views of Moscow is my heaven and not necessarily those endorsed by RedRants itself.

      🙂

      • Moscow is my heaven

        11 December 2011 at 00:11

        😆 😆 😆

      • Stephen

        11 December 2011 at 11:10

        Mourinho is a cunt and he will never manage United, we all know it.

  21. Owen

    10 December 2011 at 20:30

    Real Madrid: Casillas; Diarra, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria; Ozil, Benzema, Ronaldo.
    Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Cesc, Sanchez.

  22. Moscow is my heaven

    10 December 2011 at 21:50

    Mourinho has formed a dream team. Messi should have been sent off.

    • RedDevilEddy

      10 December 2011 at 22:01

      Red would have been Real harsh… Rooting for Real tonight, but feel Barca have been the better team. Expected more from the first half to be honest, hoping for a delightful second

  23. Owen

    10 December 2011 at 22:55

    Maybe Real Madrid will be better in Mourinho’s THIRD season! If he gets one 🙄

  24. [OPTI]Madschester United

    10 December 2011 at 22:57

    Barca were superior. Madrid got a goal from a GK howler in 1st minute and missed two good chances, whcih was all they created. Barca scored two nice team goals and got lucky with Xavi’s goal.

    Last year, we lost 3-1 to Barca in ECL final. This time, Madrid lost 3-1 at home. If football was linear, we would be as good as madrid.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      10 December 2011 at 22:58

      Also, not sure why Madrid slumped in the 2nd half. They were unprofessional and made so many mistakes. Barca stepped it up and owned the last 30 minutes.

      Ronaldo had a major stinker tonight too.

      • RedDevilEddy

        10 December 2011 at 23:16

        They are lacking creativity in the middle, don’t seem to have any system. They tried going down Barca’s left side every time rather than countering against Alves on the right, but Barca found them out, told Bosquets to do some more work there and it stopped.

        Real Madrid are brilliant when on form, but can be pathetic when found out. Neither Özil or Kaka have impressed anyone this season, it’s Benzema that has taken massive strides along with their defence. They were found out today though, as Real aren’t really a wide team. Benzema isn’t a big threat from crosses, so when their creativity through the centre falters they don’t really have much to offer.

        Oh, and yeah Ronaldo had a shocker. But then he’s got 3 men on him every time, not even he can do everything he wants then!

    • Moscow is my heaven

      11 December 2011 at 00:09

      I disagree that Barca were superior. Xavi’s goal was one in a million lucky goal and Ronaldo missed a sitter and selfishly didn’t pass to Di Maria who would have been through. Cesc goal came after Ronaldo’s howler of a header.

      Lass Diarra was immense though, we could really do with him on the cheap in January.

    • Stephen

      11 December 2011 at 11:08

      only if Fergie had the Real players I am sure he would win the Champions lague and La Liga at a canter.

  25. Stephen

    11 December 2011 at 11:07

    ALL HAIL THE NOT SO SPECIAL ONE!! 😆 😆 😆
    Mugged off again by Pep Guardiola, hilarious.. :mrgreen:

    • Moscow is my heaven

      11 December 2011 at 12:40

      To be fair, I thought Mourinho played Barca perfectly. They dominated the 1st half and pressured them all over the pitch. A very lucky goal by Xavi and two goals right after each of Ronaldo missing sitters. My goodness Ronaldo had a shocker last night.

      Real can still climb 3 points ahead of Barca.

      • RedDevilEddy

        11 December 2011 at 13:16

        Yeah cause Real’s goal wasn’t lucky at all

      • Stephen

        11 December 2011 at 15:11

        Perfectly? He lost 3-1, not that perfect….When we lost people were saying Fergie had lost the plot, strange.

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