At the quarter-final stage, this has the feel of an incredibly open renewal of the FA Cup and either Wolves or Manchester United can give themselves a big chance of going all the way by making it through tonight’s quarter-final.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United have become used to doing things the hard way, and that will be the case again as they face a Wolves side that has become increasingly proficient against the Premier League’s elite, whether it be in the league or the cup. In the league, they have taken a point against Manchester City at home whilst then beating Chelsea at Molineux, and away from home, they have taken points from Arsenal, and Chelsea whilst beating Tottenham. Indeed, they drew with United when Jose was still in charge at Old Trafford and they took advantage of Liverpool’s changed side to start their cup run.
Last week Nuno got his men to sit deep in a 3-5-2 to stifle Chelsea and it worked a treat, with only Eden Hazard able to break them down cruelly late, but it shows that they can switch their formations. In Rueben Neves and Matt Doherty, they have two of the season’s in-form players and the partnership of Raul Jimenez and Diego Jota has really lit up in recent weeks.
There’s not much more that can be said about United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – their epic transformation has changed their season so much it feels as if the Norwegian has been there for years now – although they came back down to earth just a little bit when they lost 2-0 at Arsenal last Sunday.
That was a blow but the result doesn’t tell the whole story of the game (only their second defeat under new management) as Arsenal stopper Bernd Leno was the man-of-the-match and David de Gea made a rare howler for Arsenal’s opener and United found that neither Marcus Rashford nor Romelu Lukaku could find a way through in a rare occurrence.
Match betting for this is tight. There’s an argument for saying Wolves are value, given that they’ve drawn at home to Manchester City and away to Arsenal, United and Chelsea as well as beating the Blues at Molineux and Tottenham at Wembley this season, but they face a United side that has won at Spurs in the Premier League, PSG in the Champions League, and also Arsenal and Chelsea in this competition.
Wolves v Man Utd
FA Cup Quarter-Final
19:55 BBC One HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
SEP 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 Wolves
MAR 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE Wolves 0-5 Manchester United
DEC 2011 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 4-1 Wolves
FEB 2011 PREMIER LEAGUE Wolves 2-1 Manchester United
NOV 2010 PREMIER LEAGUE Wolves 2-1 Manchester United
OCT 2010 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 3-2 Wolves
MAR 2010 PREMIER LEAGUE Wolves 0-1 Manchester United
DEC 2009 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 3-0 Wolves
SEP 2009 CARLING CUP Manchester United 1-0 Wolves
JAN 2006 FA CUP Wolves 0-3 Manchester United
JAN 2004 PREMIERSHIP Wolves 1-0 Manchester United
AUG 2003 PREMIERSHIP Manchester United 1-0 Wolves
Both clubs are at their best on the counter, so we could see a tactical standoff here for much of the game followed by moments of brilliance or madness. It’s possible this game takes a while to open up truly – but both sets of forwards have enough quality to make this entertaining.
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