Despite two wins in cup competitions, Manchester United come in to the English Premier League’s featured Saturday match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on a two-match league losing skid. The skid started with a dispiriting defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool about two weeks ago.
Despite a spate of injuries to key players, including attacking midfielder Paul Pogba, Saturday’s match is expected to include the Manchester United debut of Bruno Fernandes, the $61 million Portugal International signing, who comes over from Sporting Lisbon. According to The Sun, Fernandes is viewed as Pogba’s replacement in the attacking midfield slot.
The French international will now likely be let go by United in the summer transfer window. According to the Sun account, the 20-time top-flight champions will be willing to drop their $200 million asking price on the World Cup winner, just to get Pogba out of Manchester. The frequently-injured 26-year-old has caused tension on the team with his open expressions of dissatisfaction with Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the club.
Fernandes, on the other hand, has tallied 15 goals in 28 games across all competitions this season, and says that he hopes to follow the lead of Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo as a Manchester United star.
“My love of Manchester United really started when I used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo play,” Fernandes said, as quoted by The Sun. “For me to now play for Manchester United feels incredible.
He joins a club that sits in fifth place on the Premier League table, but level on points at 34 with the seventh-place Wolves, and six points off the pace set by Chelsea in the final UEFA Champions League qualification slot.
United drew their first meeting with the Wolves, 1-1, back in August, but eliminated the Wolverhampton side from the FA Cup on January 15 with a 1-0 win. In fact, Manchester United has not lost a game to Wolves at Old Trafford since 1980, according to the BBC, which recounts that United have not trailed for a single minute in the subsequent 11 home contests, of which United have won nine.
With the teams separated only by a three-goal differential on the table, there would appear to be little to choose from when it comes to setting odds on the match. But United’s Old Trafford record against Wolves has the home side installed as the clear favorites, at decimal odds of 2.10, according to odds published by Goal.
That means a wager of $100 on United to win would pay off at $210 if, in fact, the Red Devils do prevail. Underdog Wolves come in at 3.50, with 3.20 decimal odds set on a draw.
The match kicks off at 5:30 p.m. GMT in Manchester, England, or 12:30 p.m. ET, 9:30 a.m. PT, in the United States, where the game will be nationally televised by the NBC network.