|Photo from the Old Trafford Faithful.|
An FA Cup replay was certainly the last thing on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wishlist as his Manchester United side took to the Molineux field for their third round tie against Wolves on Jan. 4. Unfortunately for the Reds, a heavily rotated side failed to find the winner in an evenly balanced 0-0 draw, and things will need to be settled at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
In what already was a jam packed January schedule, the depleted United squad will have to take on yet another 90 minutes of football minimum in quick succession — something that’s far from ideal for a group of players as prone to picking up injuries as the Reds. But, with that said, the FA Cup suddenly appears as one of the likeliest potential sources of silverware for Wednesday’s hosts after they lost the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final to Manchester City 1-3 last week. Therefore, Solskjaer is not likely to tinker with the lineup too much, but will certainly have the huge league clash with Liverpool at Anfield on the weekend in the back of his mind.
United head into the replay on the back of a 4-0 thumping of Norwich in front of the home fans. The Reds strike force have been in fine form this season, fiercely led by Marcus Rashford who could break the magic 20 against Wolves as he sits on 19 goals this season in all competitions. Among all of the midfield troubles, the development of United’s front line has been a real positive to take away from this season so far, and the fans will be looking to the attackers to take them into the next round and set up an away trip to either Watford or Tranmere Rovers.
The visitors can certainly not be overlooked in this game though, as they will feel like the FA Cup is also one of their brightest chances of silverware this season. Nuno Espirito Santos’ side have been terrific since regaining their top flight status a couple of years back, and they must be hungry for a trophy to finally truly reward them for their achievements. They will come to Old Trafford on the back of a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United on the weekend, with Santos also likely to field a strong side in the hope of progression to the next round.
United are set to be without a few players, hindering the potential rotations that Solskjaer may have had in mind. Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are likely to remain sidelined until at least the mid-February winter break, with Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcos Rojo still out with short-term knocks. Solskjaer already confirmed that Ashley Young will remain out for the Wolves clash amidst the heavy rumors linking him with a move away from Old Trafford. As for some possible returnees: Jesse Lingard could be available after recovering from illness, and Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah are also both available for selection against after getting some minutes in for the U23’s last week.
As for the visitors, they will be without Diogo Jota and Willy Boly for this game, with the latter closing in on a return to full fitness. Other than the duo of absentees, Santos is set to have most of his squad available for selection.
Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Mata, Rashford; Martial.
Manchester United 2-1 Wolves