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Watch Live: Wolves v. Man United

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Manchester United travels to Monlieux to take on their boogy team as Wolverhampton Wanderers look to make it four straight without a loss against the Red Devils across all competitions (Watch live, 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The last time Manchester United beat Wolves was in 2012 when they won 5-0 at Monlieux in a season that saw Wolves eventually relegated. They were winless in all three matches against Wolves last season, including two in Premier League action and one in domestic cup play. To end that drought, they’ll need to break a Wolves streak of eight consecutive top-flight matches unbeaten at home, making their midlands ground a fortress of late.

WATCH WOLVES v. MAN UNITED LIVE ONLINE HERE

To help snap the streak, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has handed winger Daniel James a full debut, coming into the side in place of Andreas Pereira as the only change from the team that topped Chelsea 4-0 to begin the season. Juan Mata stays stuck on the bench, while Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial all spearhead the attack alongside James. Paul Pogba again partners with Scott McTominay in midfield to reprise a duo that was fabulous against the Blues. Alexis Sanchez remains out of the squad, although Solskjaer confirmed he is “close” to a return.

For Wolves, they deploy an unchanged side from the opening day draw with Leicester City. Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez are back leading the lines after being rested midweek for their Europa League win over Pyunik. Nuno again deploys a 5-3-2, with wingers Johnny and Matt Doherty serving as wing-backs along the three central defenders in Connor Coady, Wily Boly, and Ryan Bennett.


LINEUPS

Wolves XI: Patricio; Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny; Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho; Jota, Jimenez.
Subs: Ruddy, Neto, Cutrone, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vinagre, Traore.

Man United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Pereira, Mata, Matic, Greenwood.

Premier League preview: Wolves v. Manchester United

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  • Man United aiming for two out of two
  • Wolves searching for first PL goal of season
  • Wolves unbeaten in last eight PL home games

A seemingly revitalized Manchester United looks to reverse last season’s road woes as the Red Devils travel to Monlieux to take on a bugaboo opponent in Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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Wolves took four points off Manchester United last season and was unbeaten in three matches against the Red Devils across all competitions. Not only that, but Manchester United has not won in its last four Premier League road matches, their worst run since 2014, and seven of their 10 losses last league campaign came away from the friendly confines of Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be buoyed by the surprising 4-0 opening day win over Chelsea as new boy Harry Maguire helped lock down the Blues on defense, but sustainability is key for the Red Devils this season and two wins out of two against a pair of quality opponents will go a much longer way than a single result. Solskjaer’s biggest selection decision will be whether to give Juan Mata the start after his appearance off the bench against Chelsea or stick with 23-year-old Andreas Pereira in the central attacking role, although both will likely see the field at some point.

Wolves, meanwhile, have looked blistering in their Europa League journey thus far, but played to a drab 0-0 draw with Leicester City in their opening Premier League match, suggesting heavy European fixture congestion could be wearing on the squad. Raul Jimenez has four goals in four Europa League matches but was held to just two shots – both off target – against the Foxes and appeared frustrated as the game wore on. He and Diogo Jota were both rested for the midweek win over Armenian club Pyunik along with seven other first-teamers, so rest could be a major factor.


Projected lineups

Wolves: Rui Patricio; Boly, Bennett, Coady; Moutinho, Dendoncker, Neves, Doherty, Otto; Jota, Jimenez.

Man United: De Gea; Shaw, Lindelof, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford, Mata; Martial.


What they’re saying

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo on last year’s record vs Man United: “It’s going to be a tough challenge, a new game, totally different to what we did in the past which doesn’t count at all. First of all, the players know they’re going to face a very tough opponent; a fantastic club, a fantastic squad, fantastic players, talent all over the place. All the good players in all the good teams can make a difference. We want to compete. We want to play. We know it’s going to be very difficult for us, but we will be ready. That’s the important part, we will be ready.”

Solskjaer on using past failures v. Wolves: “They were tough games and Wolverhampton are a hard team to break down, they defend deep, don’t give you a lot of spaces, and they can play, they can counter-attack, set pieces are always dangerous. So, we’ve been looking at the games we’ve had last season, see if there’s any tweaks or different things we need to do this time. But our form, our attitude and, yeah, the mood after the win is great from last season, so we go into the game confident.”


Prediction

Manchester United may have beaten Chelsea down on the scoreline in the season opener, but the Blues were slightly unlucky not to score, hitting the post twice and holding good spells of dangerous possession. If Manchester United is not improved defensively against a good attacking Wolves squad, they will be frustrated at the back and make mistakes. Wolves remains a bad matchup for the Red Devils and at home, they will come away with an exciting 2-2 draw and yet another point off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer: Alexis will play more often than many think

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is feeling good about Manchester United’s depth, and thinks there will be plenty of contributions from it.

Case in point: The Red Devils manager believes fans will see a lot of Alexis Sanchez despite the Chilean’s absence from the lineup against Chelsea and perceived status as a desired transfer.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City-Spurs ]

Solskjaer noted that his leaving Alexis, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Fred out of the 18 on Opening Day, and pointed to the former Arsenal playmaker in particular.

Alexis hurt his hamstring at Copa America but is getting back up to speed. From Sky Sports:

“Alexis is such a professional. He comes in working every single day, really hard. He wants to be part of this. These stories that he’s been put in the reserves – of course he hasn’t. He’s part of our squad and he’s a very good player. He’s a few weeks behind the rest but he’s very close to being part of it.

“We don’t have the biggest forward line so Alexis might end up playing a lot more games than you expect. We expect him to come good at this club. He’s quality.”

Solskjaer would love Alexis to turn things around, especially since Jesse Lingard also struggled last season and Juan Mata isn’t getting any younger (Andreas Pereira, while well-regarded, didn’t light the Premier League on fire last season, either).

Alexis has five goals and nine assists in 45 appearances for United since arriving in a swap deal with Arsenal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Last season saw him manage just one goal and three assists in 877 PL minutes.

Manchester United pummels Chelsea behind Pogba playmaking

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Paul Pogba set up two goals and Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United clobbered Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Blues were the better team for the first hour aside from a conceded penalty, but the dam exploded in the second half.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

American winger Christian Pulisic came off the bench for Chelsea with an hour to play.

Both Daniel James and Anthony Martial also scored in the win.


Three things we learned

1. Paul Pogba looked a man inspired, chipping in at both ends and scooping up two assists. The first was an audacious, inch-perfect ball to lift the lid on the defense and the second came after leading a marauding counter attack and playing a scintillating little pass to James.

2. Both Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer want to give the kids a chance, even if the former didn’t give our American kid a start. Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira held places in United’s XI, and both Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham opened business for Chelsea.

Lampard, however, perhaps got a little too cute in handing the Abraham an opening day start at Old Trafford when he had Olivier Giroud‘s experience in the mix (albeit with the knowledge that Giroud doesn’t have a great record at United). Abraham was quick and industrious but perhaps a bit tipsy from the stage.

UPDATE: Jose Mourinho, speaking on Sky Sports, agrees.

“Alonso, Kante and Giroud were on the bench. To come to Old Trafford, even if it’s not the huge Manchester United team that used to scare people, it’s still Manchester United, it’s the first match at home, first match of the season, people are excited. A little bit of experience would fit well with the team. You look at the performance of Mount, Abraham and Christensen and I think for matches of this dimension you need a bit more.”

3. Top strikers — and we have no idea if Marcus Rashford will prove to be one — score even when they’re struggling, and Rashford won and converted a penalty despite looking out of place for the first 15 minutes of the match.

Man of the Match:  Aaron Wan-Bissaka


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Tammy Abraham hammered a shot off the post in the fifth minute, and it didn’t even appear to spin (and may have been heard to whimper).

At the other end, a poor giveaway allowed Anthony Martial a prime chance. The French hit a low drive to Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mason Mount hit a hard shot that deflected off Harry Maguire but spun to David De Gea in the 12th.

Marcus Rashford had a poor first quarter-hour but his mistouch put Kurt Zouma off balance and the Chelsea man chopped him down for a penalty. Rashford roofed his effort for a 1-0 lead.

De Gea made a fine leg save on Ross Barkley as the match neared halftime, and Victor Lindelof blocked Jorginho‘s mediocre attempt to volley the rebound home. And Emerson smashed a shot off the top of the near post moments later.

Emerson forced De Gea into another fine save in the 56th minute.

Chelsea introduced Christian Pulisic around the hour mark, and the Blues had all of the ball but gave up a goal at the next United opportunity.

That came when Martial bodied up to meet Andreas Pereira’s cross at the center of the box.

Two minutes later, Rashford ran onto an inch-perfect long ball from Pogba and put his shot behind Arrizabalaga for 3-0.

Pogba then led a free kick counter attack down the left of the pitch before slipping a sensational pass through to James, whose shot turned off Emerson and past Arrizabalaga.

Romelu Lukaku left out of Man United squad

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Romelu Lukaku has yet to feature for Manchester United in preseason and speculating regarding his future at Old Trafford will continue to swirl.

The Belgian star was left out of United’s 26-man squad for their trip to Norway to play Kristiansund on Tuesday, and there was no reason given for his absence on the club website.

Lukaku, 26, has been linked with moves to Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan throughout the summer and it appears the end-game is near.

Reports suggest that Juve will offer Paulo Dybala for Lukaku, while Inter have been negotiating with United for some time but the Red Devils are said to want over $90 million for their Belgian striker and Antonio Conte‘s side are yet to offer anywhere near that.

An extra caveat to all of this is that Lukaku traveled with United to Australia and China for their lengthy preseason tour but didn’t play a single second due to a minor injury.

He could often be seen training on his own or working out on an excercise bike in the gym, as his future remains up in the air.

Do United need him?

Given his penchant as a proven goalscorer, you always need those around. But given the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants young, speedy strikers and he has a lot of them, Lukaku’s skillset makes him surplus to requirements right off the bat.

We saw him chucked out wide at times during the second half of last season and although he caused problems in that role, he never looked comfortable. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and youngsters Dan James and Mason Greenwood looked more natural fits for United’s new high-octane playing style.

Lukaku has talked about his love for Serie A on multiple occasions and it appears his time in the Premier League is about to come to an end.

When we look back on his United career, 42 goals in 96 appearances isn’t a bad record at all. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

His hold-up play didn’t improve much, neither did his record against the top six clubs, and the lack of service he received — especially in the opening months of Jose Mourinho’s final season in charge — saw him frustrated so when chances did arrive he snatched at them.

Along with Paul Pogba, Lukaku always seemed to be under pressure at United and it seems close to the mark to say both have been too inconsistent over the past few seasons.

Here is United’s squad in full for the trop to Norway

David De Gea, Lee Grant, Joel Pereira, Sergio Romero; Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Ashley Young; Fred, Angel Gomes, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Paul Pogba; Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.