It seems almost cruel that after such a momentous victory over Spurs on Saturday, we have to travel to Old Trafford on Tuesday, for another massive test.
The way I see it is, there’s three ways you can look at the timing of this fixture.
1. Man Utd look vulnerable at the back with so many injuries, so it’s a decent time to play them. They’re confidence will also have taken a hit following the loss to Villa on Saturday and hopefully they’ll be feeling the pressure.
2. Man Utd will be smarting from the defeat to Villa and a backlash is likely.
3. There’s never a good time to play Man Utd.
Whichever view you subscribe to, one thing you can certainly say is that Wolves should be able to go there full of confidence and play freely. Those bonus points at White Hart Lane have put us nicely back on track, heading towards a big match against Burnley on Sunday, whereas United desperately need the win. Could that maybe play into our hands?
Even after Saturday’s heroics, I don’t expect Wolves to lay down and die. That performance is sure to have taken a lot out of the players, but we need to summon more of that same resilience if we’re to leave Manchester with anything on Tuesday night.
I don’t really need to say anything about our opponents. They’re a wonderful side, packed full of talented players that can change a game in a heartbeat. In saying that, the loss of Ronaldo and to a lesser extent Carlos Tevaz, has undoubtedly hit them hard and in my opinion, they haven’t replaced those two with like for like quality. Valencia is a good player but far from the finished article and question marks remains as to whether Michael Owen still has what it takes at the very highest level.
But even if United aren’t quite the same force they were last season, they’re still a top side who really should wipe the floor with us if they perform anywhere near their best.
We’ve had a taste of Old Trafford already this season with that narrow 1-0 defeat in the Carling Cup. How we failed to score in that match I’ll never know, given that we had at least three clear opportunities and played most of the game against 10 men. I don’t expect us to carve out as many chances tomorrow, but if we’re lucky enough to get even one, we’d better take it.
It’s a real shame that Mick can’t name the same starting eleven for the third match on the spin, due to that terrible injury to Dave Edwards. I’ve been critical of the Welsh midfielder at times this season, but his energy and enthusiasm are unrivaled, so he’ll certainly be missed. Hopefully it’s not as bad as first feared.
Anyway, here’s my predicted lineup:
So that’s just the one change with Foley slotting in on the right side of midfield. I think Mick will want to pick a player he knows will work hard and fill the gap left by the workhorse Edwards and Foley is the obvious choice. Halford is probably still in his bad books after the tantrum he had when taken off against Blues and I don’t think he’s too keen on Surman.
Whatever our manager chooses to do though, I just hope he doesn’t tinker too much with the shape of the side. Our players are beginning to understand their roles and disrupting that would be a big mistake.
In terms of a prediction, I think it’s too big an ask for Wolves to get something from this match, following the exertions of Saturday. Confidence will be sky-high, but I believe we’ll be on the wrong end of the final score, probably something like 3-1.
I just hope that whatever the outcome, we remain confident and upbeat for Sunday’s six pointer against Burnley.
If you’re making the trip to Old Trafford, have a great time and roar the lads on. The support at Spurs on Saturday was again phenomenal by all accounts and more of the same is needed.
Up The Wolves.