Erik ten Hag’s side face a stiff test under the Molineux lights on Thursday night. Here’s our Wolves vs Manchester United prediction and preview for the Premier League clash.

Wolves vs Manchester United Stats: The Quick Hits

  • A tight encounter is predicted at Molineux, with Manchester United winning 39.7% of pre-match simulations by the Opta supercomputer and Wolves triumphing in 30.6%.
  • Man Utd haven’t lost a Premier League game in the month of February since 2018, going unbeaten in 22 such matches.
  • Wolves are unbeaten in eight Premier League home games, only once enjoying a longer run in the competition.

Match Preview

Struggling away from home and yet to make any inroads in the January transfer market, Erik ten Hag will be desperate for a positive result to start the month as Manchester United visit Wolves at Molineux on Thursday in the Premier League.

United had little reason for Christmas celebration after being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League group stage alongside disappointing Premier League losses to Bournemouth, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest amid a troubling December. Those festive struggles did not entirely transpire into January blues, though, with United beating lowly Wigan Athletic and Newport County in the FA Cup third and fourth rounds respectively either side of a 2-2 league draw with top-four chasing Tottenham at Old Trafford.

Rasmus Højlund and Marcus Rashford twice put Ten Hag’s hosts ahead in the Matchday 21 clash with Spurs, only for Richarlison and Rodrigo Bentancur to score equalisers as United delivered yet another performance as exciting as frustrating in equal parts. The Red Devils sit eighth in the league table heading into MD 22, some 11 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa and five further behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

That league-table position has not forced Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, or any other of the United shareholders, to invest yet this month. The Old Trafford club have been linked to Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson and Bayern Munich’s Eric Choupo-Moting to fill the void left by Anthony Martial’s groin injury that’ll keep him out until April, removing any support for inexperienced Danish forward Højlund, who continues to slowly find his feet in the Premier League.

Rasmus Højlund Premier League Goals

Rashford is also encouragingly returning to form but his availability remains unclear – if the latter is welcomed back after missing the Newport triumph following “an internal matter” that Ten Hag promised to “deal with”. The England forward, who missed training this week due to ‘illness’ but was pictured reportedly partying in Belfast, has scored (two) or assisted (one) in each of his last three Premier League appearances – against Aston Villa, Forest and Tottenham – as many goal involvements as in his first 17 games this term (two goals, one assist).

Ten Hag’s lineup will at least be boosted by the returning Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, all of whom featured in the 4-2 victory over Newport on Sunday. Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo were on target in that win before Antony and Højlund ensured victory following a comeback from the League Two hosts. Victor Lindelöf, Mason Mount and Tyrell Malacia all remain out, however, while Morocco’s Sofyan Amrabat is away at the Africa Cup of Nations, where André Onana could return after Cameroon were eliminated on Saturday night by Nigeria.

United haven’t lost a Premier League game in the month of February since 2018 (1-0 vs Newcastle), going unbeaten in their last 22 such games since then (W13 D9), but Wolves’ excellent recent form should be noted. Since the start of MD 15, only league-leading Liverpool (17) have amassed more Premier League points than Wolves (14 – W4 D2 L1), who have been inspired in recent weeks by Matheus Cunha.

The Brazilian forward has been directly involved in seven goals across his last six home appearances in all competitions, scoring and assisting in each of his last two at Molineux – against Everton in the Premier League and Brentford in the FA Cup. Cunha missed a glorious opportunity in Wolves’ last league outing, though, as Gary O’Neil’s men managed a goalless draw away to Brighton and Hove Albion, leaving the west Midlands club 11th in the league table after MD 21 but trailing Man United by just three points.

It has been a much-needed return to form for O’Neil’s side, winning three straight Premier League games – against Chelsea, Brentford and Everton – before the Brighton draw and defeating Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday. Pedro Neto and Cunha scored in that derby-day victory, which was marred by crowd disturbances that led to the game temporarily being suspended at the Hawthorns.

As for O’Neil’s lineup, Wolves remain without the suspended João Gomes, while Boubacar Traoré is at AFCON and Hwang Hee-Chan continues competing at the AFC Asian Cup. Pablo Sarabia missed the West Brom victory with a calf issue but could return for Thursday, as Rayan Aït-Nouri did in the FA Cup fourth-round victory after coming back from international duty with Algeria.

Wolves vs Manchester United Head-to-Head

Manchester United opened their 2023-24 Premier League season up with a 1-0 win over Wolves at Old Trafford on Matchday 1. Despite coming away with nothing, Wolves’ performance was excellent and they would have been aggrieved to have not taken at least a point.

They attempted 23 shots in the 1-0 loss in August, which has only been bettered once in the Premier League by an away side at Old Trafford on record (25 by Chelsea in November 2005), while they had more touches in the opposition penalty area (48) than any other away side at Man Utd in the Premier League since the start of 2008-09.

Man Utd 1-0 Wolves 2023-24

O’Neil will hope the hosts can find a way to atone for his woeful record against United, seeing his sides lose all three of their Premier League encounters with the Red Devils without scoring a single goal (twice with Bournemouth last term and on MD 1 this season with Wolves), while as a player he only lost more games against Chelsea (15) than he did against Man Utd in the competition (10/14).

It is not just O’Neil who has struggled. Wolves have lost six of their last seven Premier League meetings with Manchester United (W1), losing the last three without scoring a single goal.

Indeed, having won just two of their first six Premier League away games against Wolves (D1 L3), United have now won each of their last three visits to Molineux, including a 1-0 win in this fixture last season as Rashford scored the only goal.

The England international, who has been the topic of much discussion this week, has two Premier League goals against Wolves with both being assisted by Fernandes in 1-0 victories (December 2020 and December 2022).

Recent Form

Ten Hag must find a way to improve United’s away form, losing three of their last four Premier League away games (D1) and scoring just one goal across these four outings against Forest, West Ham, Liverpool and Newcastle.

United failed to lead for a single minute in any of those last four away games, while coming into this round of matches, only 20th-placed Sheffield United (100 minutes) and 18th-placed Luton Town (223 minutes) have spent less time ahead in Premier League games this season than Ten Hag’s men.

Visitors United could lose three successive away league matches for the first time since a run of seven from March to August 2022 and Molineux has proved a stern task for many this term.

Having lost their first two home Premier League games of 2023-24 (vs Brighton and Liverpool), Wolves have since gone unbeaten in eight (W5 D3). Only once previously have they enjoyed a longer run without defeat at Molineux in the competition (a run of 10 ending in August 2019).

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Wolves vs Manchester United Prediction

Wolves vs Manchester United Prediction

This is expected to be the tightest Matchday 22 encounter, with the Opta supercomputer struggling to separate the two sides at Molineux.

Manchester United triumphed in 39.7% of 10,000 data-led simulations, with Wolves winning 30.6% and the game ending as a draw in 29.7%.

United’s top-four hopes have dropped to 0.6% in Opta’s end-of-season predictions, with their most likely finish as ninth (17.1%) – one below their current league-table position – while Wolves appear set to stay 11th with a 21% chance of doing so.

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