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Manchester United vs Wolves: Preview

Carling CupI’m sure many of us are still riding high on the peak of cloud nine following the last gasp events of Sunday afternoon and who in their right mind can blame us! In fairness, you could even be forgiven for allowing this evening’s fixture against Wolves to have slipped the mind and altogether dipped off the radar.

Although however seriously United fans may or may not be taking the League Cup this season, you can bet your bottom dollar that the side Sir Alex decides to pick will be hell bent on putting on an impressive performance.

At the end of the day, as League Cup winners last season, the lads certainly have a trophy to defend and you would like to think that they will approach this task with a certain degree of gusto and determination. OK so lifting the League Cup clearly won’t be the pinnacle moment of any of these player’s careers but this competition does present the opportunity for fringe players and youthful exuberance to stake a claim.

Ferguson will undoubtedly want to win the game and his team sheet should reflect that exact point.  It is between the sticks that I believe the United boss will have his toughest decision to make with Edwin van der Sar still crocked. Does Fergie opt to continue with Foster despite his somewhat calamitous performance against City in a drastic attempt to restore some confidence? On the other hand is it time the somewhat forgotten man amongst the goalkeeping ranks, Tomasz Kuszczak, was given a chance without the pressure of Premier League points being at stake?

Tonight should mark the return of Wes Brown back into the starting eleven and if Gary Neville gets the nod at right-back, Brown will likely partner Rio Ferdinand (as punishment for his mistake to continue his comeback from injury) in the centre of defence. Patrice Evra should be afforded the night off having played in every competitive game thus far this season so young Fabio da Silva could come in as a direct replacement at left-back.

In midfield Nani should take centre stage on the left wing with Danny Welbeck possibly lining up on the right-hand-side.  Darron Gibson will be desperate for a start in the middle of midfield alongside Michael Carrick who will see tonight’s proceedings as the perfect chance to get his season up and running with a polished performance.

After his heroics on the weekend, Michael Owen will be rewarded with a start (although you would think that was part of the plan whether he scored on Sunday or not) alongside Italian Federico Macheda. I’ll apologise now for a team that will no doubt prove to be 99% wrong!

So what have the respective manager’s had to say in the build up to this third round tie? Well Sir Alex has, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, issued a warning to Macheda and Welbeck, urging them to assume a club>country mentality.

“Welbeck has been called away so much with every single England squad [the Under-19s and Under-21s] that I don’t know if he is our player or their player,” Ferguson said as quoted by The Times.

“Macheda has been away with the Italy youth teams all the time and has hardly been with us, either. They are away that much with the youth squads, they have forgotten where their real place is.”

Meanwhile Mick McCarthy has indicated that his Wolves side will look to attack from the off at Old Trafford which will hopefully make for an entertaining encounter.

“We are not going there to sit back,” the Wolves boss is quoted as saying by The Independent.

“We will play 4-4-2 and have a game with them. I have never beaten United at Old Trafford in anything. We want to try to win the game.”

Even with a starting eleven stripped of the likes of Wayne Rooney and the ever impressive Darren Fletcher, a victory should be well within our grasp. Wolves will see this as the perfect opportunity to attempt to get on the front foot which could prove their immediate downfall and with a few United player’s keen to prove their worth, we should end up ultimately having too much for the newly promoted side.

Prediction: 3-1 United



  1. Grognard

    25 September 2009 at 10:11

    @spizzy: It’s 2:05am as I write this. I tend to go to bed late these days and I wake up around 9:00. Privileges of being retired due to my back problem. Yes it can be frustrating because the time when I want to contribute and debate the most is when most everyone else is sleeping. Still, I manage. Fist thing I do in the morning when I wake up is get myself a coffee, go to the computer and got to Red Rants. It’s become a morning ritual for me like reading the paper at the kitchen table is for others. A great way to start the day, unless of course i have my band of blog brothers attacking me for my comments. On those days I kind of wished i never woke up. 😀 And one day I hope to wake up and find out that Fergie has demoted Ben Foster and has signed Manuel Neuer and David Silva. I can dream can’t I? 🙂

  2. Onkar

    25 September 2009 at 10:13

    @Grognard: I don’t know lot of things about the German Lad. but, I think we can certianly try our luck in January on BORUC from Celtic. He is also pretty good in what he does. What I really like about him is his Imposing presence in the box which I feel preety important for Keepers. And I think we may be able get him as Celtic.. well no great ambition…. for the lad.
    BTW bro just because you track Bundes Liga.. What is the situation of HLEB (ex Arsenal). I thought he has moved to Wolfburg in summer but was not on there wiki page team sheet. Which team is he playing and hows he doing?? Any clue??? i mean he is one man from Arsenal team who really interests me. I really liked his cool and calm presence on the ball. And certinaly was a clever player…

  3. Onkar

    25 September 2009 at 10:25

    @spizzy: @Grognard: I know bro.. Some what aware of it. Thats what I like the most about you Grogy. I mean not many time I agree with you. We kinda have a debates some times even fights. I also remember I had huge personal attack on you after RONALDO exit. But one thing I like is your passion towards Man UTD and of course this blog. For me, it has also become a routine. I mean most almost every day I come to office in the morning and then the first thing I do is put log on to RR and be on it for whole day till I leave office. Some how I just can’t work without being on RR. May we all are addicted to Each other isn’t it???
    But, don’t think that i won’t go after you because I admire you.. Next time when you will bring your Doom Marchants here I will be up for it facing you with my Opti bros like Craig, Madchester and company… :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    Beware of it 😆 😆 😆

  4. Craig Mc

    25 September 2009 at 11:14

    @Onkar: Come on the OPTI’s eh Onkar – we are the BEST! Numero Uno 😆

  5. Onkar

    25 September 2009 at 11:23

    @Craig Mc: 😆 😆

  6. Karl

    25 September 2009 at 11:45

    @Grognard: My only concern is ‘What’s giong to happen to our team when Mr. Rooney takes his “annual sabbatical”?’
    I’m not sure our replacement strikers can stand in for him during a 4-8 week injury.

  7. spizzy

    25 September 2009 at 12:15

    Well all our arguing and what not means nothing, foster starts against stoke tomorrow.

  8. Craig Mc

    25 September 2009 at 12:46

    @spizzy: You should know by now mate that SAF when making bold statements about players, like about Foster being Englands GK at world cup, NEVER backs down because he refuses to lose face. SAF is a winner, and he will be hoping to push Foster into being one. Whether it will ever happen – I am not sure at all 🙂 .

  9. gator

    25 September 2009 at 17:13

    @Gabriel: he is lanky like henry isnt he?

  10. Grognard

    25 September 2009 at 19:32

    @Onkar: Anybody on here who has read my posts for two years knows that I am a huge Artue Brouc supporter. When it comes to just having the shot stopping ability and reflexes to succeed, there is nobody better in world football. Yes he has a commanding presence as he is strong, intimidating and physical and he likes to shout at his players like Schmeichel but he is prone to moments of stupidity and lack of focus. Not as bad as Foster is but he did just come off an off season where his form was not always at the top level due to a messy divorce that seemed to play with his focus and concentration. Fundamentally he is strong but his other attributes although good, are not as good as Neuer or Adler. I would rate him third amongst my top five young and available keepers. Neuer, Adler, Boruc, Akinfeev and Frey are my choices for the best keepers out there that can be had for the right price. I rate Neuer a 10/10 and Adler 8.5/10 but Boruc is a drop in third place to 7/10 and tied with Akinfeev and Frey. Clearly the two German lads are supreme in my books, regardless of any bias that some may feel I have. I also am rather impressed by Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda of late. He is showing me an incredible ability as a shot stopper and possesses great reflexes and positioning skills. I need to watch more of Marseille to see how well he progresses.

    As Alex Hleb, he is now playing with Stuttgart but so far his form has just been average with nothing great shown from him yet. He scored a goal a few weeks ago in a loss but he hasn’t yet had the impact that Stuttgart have been needing. Its going to take some time for both him and Pogrebnyak to fit in with the club as they are still feeling the hurt from losing Mario Gomez. Hleb is a good player and he of course has plenty of Bundesliga experience so he will come around. But as he was a former Arsenal player, I for one do not fancy him one bit. 😀

  11. Grognard

    25 September 2009 at 19:37

    @Onkar: Hey mate, part of the fun of this blog is challenging each other and occasionally disagreeing about things. But we can both agree that we have a love for Man Utd and we can also agree that despite our occasional differences of opinion, we both respect each other’s viewpoints. I for one always like debating and chatting it up with you because you are a knowledgable fan but you also understand that although we all want the same thing, many of us have different views on how to get there. We both share the passion and the hunger and for that we are linked with the same common goal. 🙂

  12. Grognard

    25 September 2009 at 19:46

    @Karl: Berbatov is going to really have to up his game. He’s playing alright and he is much more aggressive then last season but he still needs to start putting the ball in the net. His shooting and heading have left me very frustrated. Hi shsots tend to be high and lack the composure he is famous for and his headers are always right at the keeper which means he is struggling with his confidence. A truly confident player aims and places his shots as well a shis headers more. Owen for example has been confident right from the beginning even when he was missing great chances. How do I know this? Because players who are confident or in form have no qualms about aiming for the corner of the goal. Owen has missed some great chances because he was aiming the ball and it just didn’t come off rarely has he shot a ball right at a keeper unless the keeper was coming out at him and he had no angle.

    Berbatov has missed point blank efforts only because he has given either keepers or defenders a chance to clear the ball because he has aimed in the middle of the goal. He needs to really address this problem and work on it in practice to hopefully iron it out. If he does, then losing Rooney for a period of time may not be the catastrophe that many might think it would be. Owen I feel is fine and getting better every game, Macheda is capable of offering something in small doses as is Welbeck. If Rooney were to go down however, I would hope it’s no too serious and also that it happens before or during the January transfer period so that we can always bring in a quick fix player as insurance. Lets just keep our fingers crossed that nothing befalls our beloved Electric Roonaroo.

  13. Grognard

    25 September 2009 at 19:51

    @spizzy: I never thought that he wasn’t going to start. Fergie is committed to him until EVDS returns. But I totally believe that he is now aware very aware that Foster is not the keeper for the future. You can really tell Ferguson is not thinking Foster long term because he isn’t losing his temper or his patience when being questioned about him by the media. When Fergie believes in a player and is 100% behind them he usually gets upset with those types of questions and either says something nasty or just walks away. I am noticing a reserved nature in him here as I think he understands that what the media sees in actually what he sees and so he isn’t going to get all upset about that line of questions. That for me is a death knell for Foster. Loud and clear.

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