Thought on Wolves and the title fight
When United last faced Wolves the fixture caused plenty of controversy. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side secured a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford but his Wolves counterpart Mick McCarthy came under some heavy criticism for his team selection. McCarthy basically put out his second string on that occasion but I imagine he’ll field his strongest side this time around. Wolves don’t play again for another week after facing United, and with home advantage and a fight against relegation on their hands they need all the points they can gather.
Ferguson on the other hand may just chose to rotate his squad a little due to AC Milan’s visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday. However, should United beat Wolves they will go two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table due to Chelsea’s involvement in the FA Cup so Ferguson will still put out a side very much capable of coming away with all three points.
United’s injury problems have mounted since I last posted on manutd24, Anderson has joined John O’Shea and Owen Hargreaves on the sidelines and the Brazilian will now miss the remainder of the season. Rafael and Michael Owen are both ruled out with respective calf and knee injuries, while Rio Ferdinand (back) and Ryan Giggs (wrist) should be out of action for another two weeks or so. The major concern is Ferdinand but Ferguson has plenty of options in defence and the likes of Jonny Evans and Wes Brown are certainly capable of keeping Wolves at bay.
McCarthy is blessed with a basically fully fit squad but in all honesty I doubt they’ll cause United any major problems at all. I caught a lot of their match with Bolton last week and they did little to impress, in no way did Wolves do enough in that game to suggest they could get anything out of United. The key man for the Molineux side is striker Kevin Doyle who is a very capable frontman. Doyle has scored six times for Wolves this season – not a bad return when you consider the quality around him.
This should be a straightforward fixture for United and one I expect them to win with some ease – even if Ferguson decides to rest a few regular starters.
Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City last weekend opened up the title race somewhat in that Arsenal are now back in the frame. The Gunners have, on paper, the easiest run in and they do stand a real chance of upsetting the odds and claiming their first league title in some time. However, considering they’ve lost all four games against United and Chelsea this season it would be a travesty if they did finish on top at the end!
Ferguson is well aware of the situation in the league but he feels United have the experience to come out on top. This is what he has had to say: “Chelsea losing (4-2 to Man City) was a good result for us, but there are a lot of hard games left.
“You have to focus at the turn of the year and make sure you don’t make mistakes. We lost to Everton and we were a bit tired. But we recovered against West Ham and we recovered again (the Carling Cup final).”
“We have shown time and time again that this football club has determination. They don’t give in and that is a good quality. You will see that in the remainder of the season. We won’t give in.”
Strong words from Fergie, as you would expect. With games against Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester City to come it won’t be easy for United to secure a fourth consecutive title – the key game though, has to be the game against Chelsea on April 3. United will have the home advantage when they face Carlo Ancelotti’s men in April, unless results go badly for Arsenal in the meantime it won’t be the title decider everyone expected it to be, but it should still be a cracking game.
Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer who blogs about United, Cheltenham 2010 betting tips, the Premier League and the World Hurdle 2010.