Manchester United will play their second Premier League match of the season on Monday night, when they take on at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The match will be played at the Molineaux, as the two clubs competing in Europa League this season are going head to head.
Wolves In A Euro Campaign
It is a unique season for Wolves, as they are in the European competitions this year. Their previous campaign was the first in the top flight after coming back from Championship and that did not bother them a bit. They stuck to their strategy of bringing in quality players from Portugal (and some other countries too) and they finished the campaign in seventh place, behind Man United.
This meant they have already played four matches in Europa League qualifiers this season. Their campaign started earlier, in the last week of July, and they are in full swing for almost a month. That might be a good thing for them right now, but another important fact is that there is no feeling around Wolves wanting to get out of Europe to concentrate on the league.
That was the case with Burnley last year and maybe with a good reason, too. But Wolves want to have a strong campaign in Europa League and they will have to beat Torino over two legs if they want to reach the group stages for the first time in their history. With the squad they have, they can be a very interesting addition to that competition.
Resting And Rotating A Big Question
The question Nuno Esprito Santo will have to answer is how will he rotate the players between the two competitions. Last season, he was making the least changes to his starting lineups amongst all Premier League managers and this time that has to be different. Playing on Thursdays and Sundays all the time is consuming. Before this match against Man United, there are no big problems, as Espirito Santo had the luxury of rotating heavily for the second leg match against Armenia’s Pyunik. After winning 4-0 in Armenia, most of the starting lineup was completely changed and the team will be well rested for the Devils.
The problems might occur if Wolves get into the group stages. Sure, a decent draw would ease the burden even more, but nevertheless, their Premier League form could still falter. Wolves looked tired on the opening day against Leicester, but with two good results against Man United last season, they are expected to look better this time out.
The Three Centre-Backs
Wolves are known for playing in a different formation than most Premier League sides. They utilize either a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 formation, depending on the opposition, but it is certain they will confront United with three centre-backs. Ryan Bennet played on the right, Conor Coady in the center and Willy Boly on the left. That is the challenge Man United’s attackers will have, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will most probably come out with a single striker and two wingers. It will be interesting to see what kind of answers will Martial, Rashford and others have against them,