It will have been 15 days since Wanderers last set foot onto the pitch due to a covid outbreak in the side but with that behind them and no fresh cases from the latest round of testing - Bruno Lage goes into the game with a near fully fit squad to choose from.
And whilst that sounds like it can only be a positive, it could quite easily go the other way.
With 10 days of no training, planning has been a struggle and Lage himself has called recent events a ‘nightmare.’
But that won’t be used as an excuse and regardless of what team walks out at Old Trafford, they’ll have full belief that they can return to Molineux with three points to their name
One of the most consistent players this season, Jose Sa won’t be losing his place without an injury or positive test.
Nelson Semedo missed the 0-0 draw with Chelsea after testing positive for covid-19 but will most likely be favoured over Ki-Jana Hoever for the trip to United. Rayan Ait-Nouri should also come back into the eleven after missing the last few matches with a niggling injury.
The back three doesn’t have much room for maneuver even if Lage wanted to so it’s a good job they’ve been the strongest asset of the team this year.
With that said, Conor Coady, Max Kilman and Romain Saiss should all retain their place as the three central defenders providing they return negative lateral flow results ahead of the game.
Midfield is an area that Lage has publicly admitted he wants to strengthen in January and although the window may now be open, we’ll not get too giddy and expect a new signing to be involved at Old Trafford.
Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho appear to be the strongest pair for now and with Leander Dendoncker failing to really take his chances when he’s been called upon, expect those former two to get the nod in Manchester.
Even though we’re now in 2022, Lage still doesn’t seem to know his best front three and in fairness, not many do.
With little to no competition through the middle, Raul Jimenez should retain his place despite not scoring the goals he’d have liked to so far this campaign.
Those supporting him is where the difficulty lies but I feel we’ll see Adama Traore for his sheer pace that can hurt United on the break with Daniel Podence, who has probably been the best of the other wingers on the opposite flank.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-4-3): Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Semedo; Traore, Jimenez, Podence
With coronavirus still rife, don’t take this eleven as gospel as things can change at any minute but if everyone passes fit Monday morning, I think this is the most likely line-up we’ll see Lage go with.
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