Monday , February 10 2020

Manchester United vs Wolves combined XI: De Gea misses out while Jimenez leads attack

Manchester United host Wolves this weekend with the two clubs solely separated by goal difference after both claiming 34 points from 24 games. 

The two sides are also still competing for the Europa League with United facing Club Brugge and Wolves taking on Espanyol in the last 32 of Europe’s second tier competition. 

Wolves played their final game of their title-winning Championship season just 20 months ago but are already on a par with the declining Manchester United. 

The Red Devils are still trying to get back on track following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 with the club struggling under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Here, Sportsmail compares the two sides by naming a combined XI made up of fit and available players – so don’t be surprised when you see Paul Pogba’s isn’t in the engine room or Marcus Rashford isn’t leading the line. 

United new boy Bruno Fernandes would likely have made the cut too but doesn’t get in as he is yet to make his debut for his new club.

Bruno Fernandes would have likely made the cut but misses out as he is yet to make his debut

4-3-3 

Rui Patricio  

It’s hard to split Rui Patricio and David de Gea when comparing their Premier League statistics for the season as both custodians have kept just four clean sheets and have a similar save percentage at 65.96 per cent and 67.78 per cent respectively. 

The duo have been playing at a similar level this season but you expect more from De Gea as he was once billed as the world’s best keeper. 

De Gea has also been playing behind a defence which has cost United almost £200million while Patricio has the likes of Conor Coady and Romain Saiss in front of him. 

The Spaniard has slowly been on the decline during the last few years and United are even planning on keeping Dean Henderson to apply pressure on the former Atletico Madrid man next season. 

Rui Patricio gets the nod to start in goal ahead of Manchester United keeper David de Gea

Rui Patricio gets the nod to start in goal ahead of Manchester United keeper David de Gea

Aaron Wan-Bissaka 

The right back has settled into life at Old Trafford with relative ease with the £50m former Crystal Palace man being one of Manchester United’s standout players this season.

United fans have quickly become accustomed to seeing Wan-Bissaka make last-ditch tackles to stop his opponent from bypassing him. 

He has made the third most tackles in the Premier League with 239 and a success rate of 68 per cent. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has hardly put a foot wrong defensively with his biggest error coming when he gave a penalty away against Watford. He needs to improve the attacking elements of his game but he has had a steady start to life as a Red Devil.  

Conor Coady

Wolves’ club captain has shown he is more than capable of competing against the Premier League’s best attackers following his rise with the club from the Championship. 

Coady, now in his fifth season at the club, has been more consistent than the likes of Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe so gets the nod to start alongside Harry Maguire. 

The 26-year-old could make a late push for a place in this summer’s England squad for the European Championship with Gareth Southgate revealing he hasn’t been selected because the Three Lions do not currently play in a back three.  

Wolves' Conor Coady, pictured facing former side Liverpool, wears his heart on his sleeve

Wolves’ Conor Coady, pictured facing former side Liverpool, wears his heart on his sleeve

Harry Maguire 

The former Leicester man has high expectations on his shoulders after becoming the world’s most expensive defender in the summer. 

He is yet to live up to his £80m price-tag but he can’t be blamed for that as it’s not his fault United paid over the odds for his services. 

Harry Maguire was made club captain in his first season which shows his standing among his colleagues and the management team.

Supporters are quick to write players off but he is definitely an upgrade on the defenders that have been plying their trade at United in recent years. 

Brandon Williams

The rise of Brandon Williams has been another bonus for Solskjaer this season with the 19-year-old proving to be a consistent performer in a red shirt. 

Solskjaer decided to let Ashley Young leave for Italy due to Williams’ progression with the teenager now competing with Luke Shaw for United’s left back role. 

Like Young, Williams is a right-footed left back who likes to cut inside on his stronger foot when attacking on the wing. 

He will be hoping to solidify himself as the club’s first choice left back before the end of the season and he should even be in Southgate’s thinking for the Euros.  

Brandon Williams has been a consistent performer in his first breakthrough season at the club

Brandon Williams has been a consistent performer in his first breakthrough season at the club

Fred   

The Brazilian was written off after his first season in England as the former Shakhtar Donetsk man struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League following his £52m move in June 2018.  

Fred missed United’s pre-season tour because he booked his wedding for the late summer after assuming he was going to be included in Brazil’s Copa America squad. 

He took a while to get going after having to start the season on the bench but he is now one of the first names on Solskjaer’s teamsheet.  

Joao Moutinho

United’s weakest area is one of Wolves’ strongest with the Portuguese duo of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves both shining for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side. 

Moutinho has six Premier League assists to his name – making him one of the most creative midfielders in the division. 

The 33-year-old was a great coup for Wolves in July 2018 with the Portuguese costing just £5million from Monaco.  

Joao Moutinho is the creative hub in Wolves' team and has six league assists this season

Joao Moutinho is the creative hub in Wolves’ team and has six league assists this season

Ruben Neves

Solskjaer will be jealous at the fact Nuno can call on a player of Ruben Neves’ calibre on Saturday evening. 

Wolves signed Neves in the summer before their promotion to the top flight with the central midfielder leaving Porto to make a name for himself in England. 

Neves captained Porto at the tender age of 18 which shows his sheer ability and popularity among his team-mates. 

Wolves fans should enjoy seeing him line up in the middle of the park as Neves wouldn’t look out of place in a Champions League side. 

Adama Traore

The former Barcelona winger has been one of the star performers in the Premier League this season with Nuno getting the best out of the 24-year-old. 

Traore was not exactly pulling up many trees at Aston Villa or Middlesbrough but he is now a winger who gives opposing defenders nightmares. 

He will be out to improve on his four goals and seven assists this season when he faces United at Old Trafford. His assist for Raul Jimenez’s opener leveller against Liverpool showed what his game is all about in a nutshell. 

Europe’s top clubs will also be keeping close tabs on Traore with his pace and natural strength making him highly sought-after.  

Adama Traore celebrates with Raul Jimenez after assisting his team-mate against Liverpool

Adama Traore celebrates with Raul Jimenez after assisting his team-mate against Liverpool

Raul Jimenez

Manchester United are said to be interested in bringing Raul Jimenez to Old Trafford as they continue to scour the market for a new forward. 

And it should come as no surprise that the Mexican is on their list of targets as he already has 11 Premier League goals to his name. 

He is strong in the air, is not afraid of putting a shift in and is very clinical so he was a shoo-in to lead Sportsmail’s combined XI. 

His tussle with Maguire will be one to look out for come Saturday evening.  

Anthony Martial 

The Frenchman is incredibly lucky to be included but he has to fill in for the injured Marcus Rashford as our side is based on players who can play on Saturday. 

Anthony Martial has had yet another topsy-turvy campaign in a Manchester United shirt with Solskjaer counting on him to lead the line following Romelu Lukaku’s departure. 

United’s No 9 has netted eight Premier League goals with the former Monaco forward often having to feed off scraps due to his side’s lack of creativity. 

He came under-fire after wasting a golden chance against Liverpool with many pundits still questioning his consistency in front of goal. 

Anthony Martial is having yet another indifferent season but is included due to injuries

Anthony Martial is having yet another indifferent season but is included due to injuries