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Three things to look out for: Manchester United vs Wolves (Premier League)



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Credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire

Manchester United host Wolves at Old Trafford in their Premier League opener on Monday.

Manchester United will take on struggling Wolves on Monday as the Reds kick off the 2023/24 Premier League campaign. Erik ten Hag‘s men will have a number of issues to work through. United face injury woes ahead of their first Premier League match of the season.

Their star signing, Rasmus Højlund, is currently nursing a back injury and will be missing the first few games. The Dane joins the likes of Amad Diallo and Kobbie Mainoo, who are suffering from long-term injuries. Tom Heaton also picked up an injury earlier this week.

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Wolves, on the other hand, are in a bit of turmoil themselves. They finished 13th last season, and their Spanish coach, Julen Lopetegui, left the club just two days ahead of their Premier League opener. Gary O’Neil, the former Bournemouth manager, has been appointed as the new manager for the current season.

Here are a few things to look out for ahead of the game:

#1 – Bruno Fernandes-Mason Mount partnership

As seen during the pre-season, United’s new No. 7, Mount, is set to slot in the midfield three along with Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes. While the Brazilian will sit at the top of the trio as the lone DM, Mount and Bruno will be expected to carry out the creativity in the midfield.

The former Chelsea man has done just well enough in the pre-season matches. However, he needs to step up his game especially when he will be complementing Bruno in United’s midfield.

#2 – Who will lead the attack?

With the confirmed absence of Højlund and the cloud regarding Anthony Martial’s match fitness, it is certain that Marcus Rashford is the most likely candidate to spearhead United’s attack. However, in the pre-season, Ten Hag deployed Jadon Sancho as a false nine in a couple of matches.

The Englishman was also impressive in those outings and even scored a goal against Arsenal. If at all Sancho plays in the middle, Rashford and Antony will be on the wings.

However, Sancho is yet to be tested on a bigger stage, and hence the safe option would be to have Rashford play in the middle with Garnacho and Sancho or Antony playing on the right wing of United’s attack.

#3 – Matheus Nunes is the man to look out for

Wolves signed Nunes from Sporting CP for £42.2 million, but the Portuguese failed to justify his price tag. However, the 27-year-old put up some fine performances for Wolves in the pre-season and is expected to be the fulcrum of Wolves’ midfield following the departure of Ruben Neves and Joao Mountinho.

Earlier this year, Nunes was a midfield target for Liverpool, and deservingly so. The Portuguese international is an excellent passer of the ball, and at his best, he can easily penetrate strong defences with a smart pass aimed at his teammates. O’Neil has to rely on Nunes’ brilliance to attempt to take control of the midfield.