Manchester United will begin their second season under Erik ten Hag on Monday when they welcome crisis-hit Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford for their first game of the 2023/24 Premier League season.
The Red Devils returned to Champions League football in their first season under Ten Hag thanks to a third-place finish made possible by a solid home record.
So it is good that they are starting the new season at home against Wolverhampton’s side, which is in turmoil. The visitors had a managerial change just before the season began after Julen Loptegui walked away, sighting a lack of transfer activity.
In place of Loptegui, Wolves have hired Gary O’Neil, who miraculously led Bournemouth to safety last season.
But can the English man steady the ship and repeat the feat this season, beginning with a win against Man United, or will the Red Devils continue their impressive Premier League form at Old Trafford?
We look at the stats and team news.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 29 games of the competitive campaign at Old Trafford (W25, D4).
- The Red Devils scored 58 goals last season, the lowest among the top-six sides by at least ten.
- Man United have won six of their last eight opening-day fixtures (L2), with both defeats coming at Old Trafford.
- Wolves have not won any of their last eight Premier League away games, losing six and drawing two.
- The visitors have won just one of the last ten H2Hs against Man United (D3, L6).
- Wolverhampton Wanderers failed to score in five of their last ten away matches.
- Wolves have lost their opening league game in the last two seasons, last doing so in three consecutive campaigns between 1988-89 and 1990-91.
Manchester United will look to begin the new Premier League season well when they welcome Wolves to Old Trafford on Monday.
The Red Devils enjoyed a promising first campaign under Erik ten Hag, with a top-four finish and a Carabao Cup win, their first title since 2016 under Jose Mourinho.
The Dutch coach will be looking to push on and get his team even closer to Manchester City and Arsenal in 2023-24. He has laid the foundation for that by signing Mason Mount, André Onana and Rasmus Højlund.
So we can expect United to be moulded further into the Dutch coach’s image this season, and their development will be fascinating to see as the campaign goes on.
They will be confident of winning this game as heading into the opening weekend, only Chelsea have won as many opening Premier League games as Man Utd (20).
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 12, 2023
However, the Red Devils have lost their first outing in two of the last three seasons. But they are facing a Wolves side that they have beaten in their last two games without conceding a goal.
The visitors travel to Manchester in crisis, having recently lost the manager who led them to a successful 13th-place finish last season.
After seeing several key players depart without replacements, Lopetegui decided to walk away from the Molineux. Financial Fair Play issues continue to plague the visitors despite the fees recouped for Rúben Neves and Nathan Collins.
However, new boss Gary O’Neil is used to walking into a crisis. The Englishman stepped up at Bournemouth last year after a 9-0 thrashing against Liverpool and guided the Cherries to a six-match unbeaten streak (W2, D4).
He won’t need a similar turnaround here, but ending Wolves’ eight-match winless streak on the road in the PL represents quite the challenge (D2, L6), especially against an opponent they’ve won just one of the last ten H2Hs against (D3, L6).
Opening day at Old Trafford.
COYW 👊 pic.twitter.com/G0jjEFTWxE
— Wolves (@Wolves) August 12, 2023
United won’t be able to offer a debut to new signing Rasmus Hojlund this evening after the Dane picked up an injury in pre-season with Atalanta. However, the issue is not thought to be serious.
Predicted Man United Lineup: Andre Onana, Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Casemiro, Mason Mount, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho, Marcus Rashford.
Predicted Wolves Lineup: Jose Sa, Nelson Semedo, Craig Dawson, Max Kilman, Hugo Bueno, Matheus Nunes, Mario Lemina, Joe Hodge, Pedro Neto, Pablo Sarabia, Matheus Cunha.