James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United and provides us with his best bets for Saturday night’s FA Cup quarter-final by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • 2019 Profit & Loss: -8.37pts

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 16/03/19
  • Time: 19:55
  • Venue: Molineux
  • Channel: BBC One

Man United will be looking to bounce back from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first Premier League defeat as United boss as they travel to Molineux in Saturday’s quarter-final tie.

Solskjaer’s United, who are in the midst of an injury crisis, were disappointing in their 2-0 defeat at the Emirates last Sunday, leaving the race for the top 4 wide open. Currently, United sit in 5th and two points behind Arsenal whilst Chelsea, who sit in 6th, will have the chance to surpass the Red Devils if they win their game in hand.

The United boss will certainly be looking for a response against a Wolves side that have caused the big boys so many problems this season. Last week they were at it again, drawing 1-1 at Stamford Bridge and were only an excellent Eden Hazard stoppage-time strike away from claiming all three points.

The extraordinary passing ability in the form of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho along with the pace and power in the form of Adama Traore, Ivan Cavaliero and Helder Costa has turned the newly promoted side into one feared by the whole league. Not to mention the talent they have up top with Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota, both very good finishers who are also able to create (10 league assists between them).

Despite all the plaudits that Wolves get, I think their defence is criminally underrated. Goalkeeper Rui Patricio has been superb this season and was an absolute steal in the summer, Matt Doherty at right wing-back has tremendous ability going forward (7 G+A’s) whilst Jonny brings a little more balance in terms of defence and attack from his left wing-back position. The three mainstay CB’s have also been impressive; Connor Coady, Ryan Bennett and Willy Boly have all had stellar seasons and have certainly proved they can play at the highest level. It’s no surprise that this defence holds the 5th best record statistically in the PL.

This competition is certainly a chance for either side to go and grab themselves some silverware this season. The two Manchester clubs remain the only top 6 sides left in the competition and whoever wins this tie at Molineux will certainly be second favourites to win it outright, presuming City win at Swansea. However, I’m sure both sides will be confident that they could cause an upset against the best side in the country, especially in a Wembley semi-final or final where simply anything can happen.

The injuries to a number of key members of United’s squad has certainly hampered their fluidity going forward. The likes of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have missed the last few games, with the former returning against Arsenal but the latter being out for the foreseeable future. Moreover, the absence of Ander Herrera and, until last week, Nemanja Matic has certainly hindered Paul Pogba. The Frenchman has thrived under his new boss but has 0 goals and 1 assist in his last four starts. The absence of two key CM’s has meant that Pogba has certainly been more restricted in terms of going forward and definitely looks more like the Mourinho version when he sticks to his LCM role in a 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2. I would like Solskjaer to use Pogba in a much more advanced role and give him freedom going forward; his performances as a no. 10 against Bournemouth and Leicester were superb, but this means Solskjaer using a 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-2-2.

Team News    

The home side have no notable absentees to speak of.

However, for the away side; Romelu Lukaku is reportedly out for a number of weeks and will miss this fixture along with Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia and Alexis Sanchez, who also has a long-term issue. Full-back Ashley Young is also out due to suspension. On a positive note, Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones and most importantly, Ander Herrera are all in contention.

With Lukaku out, there’s a chance for Mason Greenwood to get his first United start. The 17-year-old forward has made just two substitute appearances against PSG and Arsenal, but his highlights this season for the U18’s have shown the talent this kid has got off both feet, I can’t comprehend that he’s a school year below me, something that’s quite depressing to think about.

Potential Wolves Starting XI: Ruddy, Doherty, Bennett, Boly, Coady, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Jimenez, Jota.

Potential Man Utd Starting XI: De Gea, Darmian, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Martial, Rashford, Greenwood.

Head To Head

  • All-time: Wolves-34, Draw-17, United-48.
  • The last time these two sides met in the FA Cup was back in 2006, with United running out 3-0 winners.

Key Stats & Facts

  • These two sides have accounted for the exits of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in this year’s competition.
  • Raul Jimenez tied Steven Fletcher’s PL record for most goals in a single campaign by a Wolves player, scoring his 12th PL goal.
  • Matt Doherty has scored 3 of the 8 goals for Wolves in the FA Cup this season, the wing-back has been involved in the most goals out of anyone left in the competition (5).
  • Wolves’ record at home: W7, D3, L5 (PL).
  • United’s away record: W9, D2, L5 (under OGS- W6, D0, L1).
  • United’s disciplinary record is unsurprisingly higher away from home- 50Y’s, 2R’s away compared to 33Y’s and 3R’s at Old Trafford this season.
  • Wolves have won this competition 4 times, but they haven’t reached the final since 1960.
  • In fact, Wolves haven’t reached the semi-final of The FA Cup since 1997-98, when they beat Leeds United at Elland Road in that season’s quarter final.
  • United are looking to reach The FA Cup semi-final in consecutive seasons for the first time since doing so in 2003-04 and 2004-05 under Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • The Red Devils are 12-time winners of the FA Cup, their last victory came in 2016 under Louis Van Gaal.

Betting Odds

  • Wolves 40/17
  • Draw 12/5
  • Man Utd 23/17

The Verdict

I think it’s worth a punt to stick a point on a Wolves ‘draw no bet’ at 11/8. Although Molineux isn’t exactly a fortress, I like what this Wolves side does against the top teams and there’s no doubt that they will create a few openings on Saturday. The strike partnership of Jota and Jimenez is very clinical with the pair having 18 PL goals between them. Jimenez is also a man for the big occasion; scoring in both games against Spurs and Chelsea, as well as getting on the scoresheet against Liverpool in the 3rd round of this competition. With United still having a loooong injury list, I’m confident this exciting Wolves side will at least force extra time.

I think Matt Doherty anytime is decent value at 21/2. The Scotsman loves to get forward down that right-hand side and is Wolves’ leading scorer in this competition with 3 goals. His PL record isn’t so bad either scoring another 3. I’m willing to take a punt on the wing-back to add to his already impressive FA Cup tally.

Another bet I like is both teams scoring in the second half. Looking at the stats in the league this season, United have a balance in terms of when their goals are scored- 1st half: 30, 2nd: 28, but, Wolves show a clear disparity. The home side has scored just 11 times in the first half of 30 PL games and 27 times in the second half. I think this one has the potential to be a slow starter, bursting into life in the second period.

Recommended Bets

  • 1pt – Wolves Draw no bet – 11/8 (Marathon Bet)
  • 1pt – Matt Doherty to score anytime – 21/2 (Unibet)
  • 1pt – BTTS in the second half- 12/5 (bet365)