Manchester United v Wolves Saturday 22 September, 15:00
Have United turned the corner?
An unimpressive 2-1 home win against Leicester on the opening weekend was followed by a dreadful 3-2 defeat at Brighton and a 3-0 thrashing at home to Spurs but Manchester United may well have turned the corner after three away wins in-a-row.
The reintroduction of Marouane Fellaini led to a comfortable 2-0 win at Burnley, followed by a 2-1 victory at Watford (who had won their first four matches in the Premier League) and the Red Devils comfortably dispatched of the Young Boys of Bern on Wednesday night, with a cosy 3-0 win.
They were hanging on at Vicarage Road last week and not for the first time they had David de Gea's brilliance to thank for the three points in the end but they deserve much credit for the way they've turned their fortunes around. Jose Mourinho has galvanised his troops well and he'll be looking to get back to winning ways at Old Trafford too.
United have a fine recent home record against the visitors, winning the last six, Wolves have only scored twice in their last seven visits (although they both came in their last two) and we can expect Mourinho to have his side primed to continue their good run. He's never suffered back-to-back home league defeats in his managerial career but to counter that with a bit of negativity, United have lost three of their last five Premier League ties immediately following a Champions League match.
Wolves winning matches and admirers
Wolves have settled back in to the Premier League very nicely and following 1-0 wins away at West Ham and at home to Burnley they're now seeking their third top-flight success in-a-row for the first time since March 1980.
After their 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Molineux, Pep Guardiola was extremely complimentary, saying: "Wolves don't play like a team who have just been promoted. I'm confident they will take points off our competitors. They are geared up to get big scalps because they have enough quality and key players work hard. That's always a good mix."
And after last Sunday's defeat, in which he was kept very busy, Burnley keeper, Joe Hart, claimed Wolves were the best promoted side he'd ever faced.
The plaudits have been coming thick and fast and I'm not surprised. They play extremely attractive football and they're well organised at the back. On all the evidence to date, Wolves are far from relegation fodder and I can see why they're odds-on to finish inside the top-ten.
United too short against well-organised Wolves
With both sides in form and looking for their fourth win in-a-row (Wolves beat Sheffield Wednesday away in the League Cup before winning at West Ham), this is a fascinating clash that's hard to predict. Will United be able to muscle their way to another three points or will Wolves' slick style cause them problems? United's stats against Wolves and Mourinho's fine home record suggest they could justify odds-on favouritism but United's winning streak has been on the road and they're yet to impress at Old Trafford this term. They're also playing a side likely to play free-flowing, almost carefree football...
Wolves' points tally of eight from five (just one defeat) and their league position of ninth is more than acceptable for a team adjusting to life in the top-flight and nobody will be expecting them to go to Old Trafford and win. Having started so well, Nuno Santo's men can view this encounter as a bit of a free hit and I suspect he'll urge them to play with their usual flair and confidence.
Despite being widely tipped to fail to do so, United have justified odds-on favouritism in each of their last three matches but they look short enough against a team as well-organised as Wolves. Following their trip to Switzerland and with Wolves flying, this fixture could be coming at just the wrong time for Mourinho's men and I'm going to take them on modestly.
Goals could be scarce at Old Trafford
There have been three or more goals in five of United's six games to date in all competitions this season but I'm not convinced we're going to witness a free-scoring affair here.
Wolves restricted Manchester City to just a solitary goal at Molineux last month and in the three games since that draw they've kept three clean sheets so they're clearly hard to break down. They haven't been taking their fair share of chances at the other end though. Wolves completely dominated Burnley last week but just one of 30 shots found the net so if they're going to get a result, and I suspect they might, they'll either need to be far less profligate in front of goal and/or just as stoic in defence.
This has the potential to be an extremely entertaining game but I don't expect to see a glut of goals so odds-against about under in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market makes some appeal.