Opposing Lopetegui bounce
Wolverhampton Wanderers picked up a hugely important 2-1 win at Everton on Boxing Day, taking all three points in their first Premier League encounter under Julen Lopetegui.
Manchester United will be enjoying resuming league action with less attention on, now free agent, Cristiano Ronaldo and their 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest would have increased belief that they can climb into the top four sooner rather than later.
I am not reading too much into the victory at Everton, with the Toffees having the better of the game, and the Red Devils, though they have been inconsistent in recent seasons, are still producing a much higher base performance level than Wolves.
Wolves have unsustainably underperformed in front of goal so far this season, scoring just ten times in 16 outings, from chances equating to 17.9 expected goals (xG) for, something that will likely need to change for the better if they are to comfortable pull away from the relegation battle before we reach the business end of the season.
Wolves relied on an enormous defensive overperformance last season, and, with that in mind, it is no surprise to see a regression in their rearguard this term, with Jose Sa unable to replicate that unsustainable trend.
United are gradually improving and settling into Erik ten Hag’s system and beliefs, and on the whole look much stronger than the side that struggled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, with Marcus Rashford’s resurgence a huge factor in that.
With a clean sheet under their belts to get the season started again, I am enticed by the Red Devils at a fairly large odds on price at Molineux.
I do not expect Wolves to get relegated or to run it close this season with the appointment of Lopetegui, but the overall performance at Goodison Park did not suggest that loads the former Real Madrid boss has been able to produce a stark upturn in performance levels yet.
Unders could be angle, but with a limited sample size to analyse following the break, an outright angle feels like a smarter bet.
Wolves have scored in seven of ten.
Wolves have conceded in seven of ten.
Wolves have seen both teams score in four of ten.
Wolves have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
Man U have scored in all of their last ten.
Man U have conceded in four of ten.
Man U have seen both teams score in four of ten.
Man U have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.