Wolverhampton Wanderers hosts Manchester United in round 2 of English Premier League. The match will be played on Monday, August 19th at Molineux Stadium (Wolverhampton)
Wolverhampton Wanderers held just a great last season - the team managed to take seventh place immediately after the Championship (although they deserved to be even higher in terms of the game quality) and broke into the Europa League qualification (since Manchester City won both the League Cup and the FA Cup). A great game in positional defense is Wolverhampton's jack. The team often gives the ball to the opponent, rearranges itself in the middle or low block waits for opportunities for counterattacks. The Wolves used two schemes in the last season: at first, it was 3-4-3, then - 3-5-2. It was used because many middle-class teams and outsiders closed against Wolverhampton, and a triangle in the center of the field (with 3-5-2) allows the ball to be moved more efficiently in this scenario. This scheme became the base for the new season - Wolverhampton played exactly 3-5-2 for the whole match against Leicester. In general, that match took place according to Wolverhampton’s scenario - the Wolves compactly defended almost the entire match (70 to 30 in possession in Leicester’s favor), relying on counterattacks - this was Nuno Espirito Santos’s plan against top rivals in the last season, and nothing has changed (yes, Leicester of Rogers is a top contender).
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If we look at Chelsea in the European Super Cup, it becomes clear that Manchester was very lucky, and this is not only due to game moments: N'Golo Kante set a career record in the match against Liverpool for the number of successful ground moves in one match – 8. Pedro, thanks to Lampard's plan, reminded Hazard in some moments, and Chelsea created more problems for Liverpool than Manchester City did in the match for the English Super Cup. I also want to say that Manchester United has interestingly changed its line of defense – Wan-Bissaka and Maguire replenished the squad and played in the first match against Chelsea. Of course, such a move will add reliability in positional defense, but it makes the Red Devils vulnerable in counterattacks because Maguire is quite slow - Guardiola spoke about it in one of the documentaries. As for Wan-Bissaka, there are questions about his connections to the attacks, but they are not as frequent as the media sometimes describes them - he used to be a winger, so he has the skills to support attacks.
We can say that the teams have something in common in the attacking game - both Wolves and Manchester United are very fond of counterattacks. Wolverhampton looks cooler in the defense - they play compactly and in a balanced way. I'm waiting for cautious and non-scoring football - Wolverhampton, in principle, does not like possessing the ball a lot, and Manchester United is unlikely to take the initiative since it is very dangerous to possess a lot in the games with Wolverhampton. A logical conclusion follows from here - rivals will create few attempts. Therefore, they will score too little. My prediction is Under 2.5 goals scored.
Prediction for the match: Under 2.5 goals scored