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League Cup

  • 26 October 2010
  • • 20:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 46083

Manchester United - Wolves Preview: Michael Owen set for rare start in second string showdown at Old Trafford

Manchester United - Wolves Preview: Michael Owen set for rare start in second string showdown at Old Trafford


Manchester United

In a sign of the times for Michael Owen, the ex-England striker can expect to be involved from the start while the rest of Manchester United's star names stay at home.

Javier Hernandez's stellar beginning and Federico Macheda's rise has forced the 30-year-old to regularly miss the cut for the 18-man Premier League match day squads. If manager Sir Alex Ferguson goes for an adventurous selection, Owen can expect to partner the Italian up top.

With injuries aplenty out wide, Gabriel Obertan should follow his substitute appearance against Stoke City with a role from kick-off. On the opposite flank, Bebe could be handed his first start for the club since his surprise summer transfer.

The highlight of the evening for the United faithful could be the long-awaited return of Owen Hargreaves. The midfielder's second - and rumoured final - comeback after a two-year injury nightmare could begin in earnest.

Probable starting XI: Kuszczak; Rafael, Smalling, Brown, Fabio; Bebe, Gibson, Anderson, Obertan; Owen, Macheda.


Coach Mick McCarthy was slammed for selecting a top flight second string at Old Trafford last term but will cope no flack for the same trick in the League Cup.

The players who performed so admirably in defeat to Chelsea will be told to put up their feet. McCarthy's refusal to sanction a loan exit for Wayne Hennessey will see him replace veteran goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

Injury hit summer signing Steven Mouyokolo could also be handed a rare start after he made the substitute's bench at Stamford Bridge. Perennial reserve George Elokobi could also fit in at the back.

Stephen Hunt may be given more minutes under his belt after the fellow new boy came off the treatment table to feature at the weekend, while United youth product Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will be given a run out on his old stomping ground.

Probable starting XI: Hennessey; Stearman, Mancienne, Mouyokolo, Elokobi; Foley, Jones, Milijas, Hunt; Ebanks-Blake, Bent

Search for silverware

It will never take pride of place in the United trophy room, but the League Cup has been kind to the club.

Ferguson's men have lifted the trophy in the previous two seasons, with Tottenham and Aston Villa beaten in the finals. The victory against the Midlanders prevented a potless campaign, with the latest defence kicking off in free scoring fashion against Scunthorpe United.

Wolves began in the competition by making hard work of League One outfit Notts County. A late Nenad Milijas penalty saved defeat before they ran rampant in extra time to claim a 4-2 win.

History repeating?

Wolves and United met in the third round 12 months ago, with a repeat result for the hosts on Ferguson's mind.

The match winner that day, Danny Welbeck, is now plying his trade on loan at Sunderland so a different second choice centre forward must come to the fore. After he netted a brace against Scunthorpe, Owen could be that man.

Wolves haven't tasted victory in the fixture since Kenny Miller stunned United with a famous goal in a 1-0 league victory in January 2004. The Theatre of Dreams has been even less charitable, with no win recorded in nearly 30 years.

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Players to watch

G. Obertan

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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After he initially appeared to be a player of great promise, a decline in form and fitness in the second half of last season saw Gabriel Obertan drop out the first team picture. With United down to the bare bones out wide, an excellent display on Tuesday night could see the Frenchman thrust back into his manager's thoughts.

W. Hennessey

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

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Wayne Hennessey has been consigned to the sidelines since he flapped his way through the early months of his Premier League career. With the ageing Hahnemann sure to be rested, the Wales international should get a rare opportunity between the sticks to stake his case to McCarthy.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester United

Wolverhampton Wanderers


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
Manchester United FC Manchester United
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC WOL
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Top 3 Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
3 - 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC WOL
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Wolverhampton Wanderers FC WOL