Wolverhampton Wanderers host Manchester United on the back of an away defeat to Bolton on Tuesday when a disastrous Ronald Zubar back pass allowed Daniel Sturridge to steal a 93rd minute winner at the Reebok Stadium. That result left Mick McCarthy’s men three points adrift at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, in the starkest contrast to United who are now five points clear at the right end of the table. Sir Alex Ferguson’s current side have matched the 1999 Treble winners’ run of 29 league games without defeat and will fancy making it 30 having won all six clashes with Wolves since losing 1-0 at Molineux in 2004. Both clubs were then in the same positions they are now – top and bottom.
So all of a sudden the task facing Manchester United in the group stages of the Champions League is not as straight forward as it looked a month ago is it? A first up scoreless draw with Glasgow Rangers at Old Trafford was taken with a slight shrug of the shoulders as merely a blip, and it could still be. But unless United can at least avoid defeat at Valencia on Wednesday, the unthinkable may not prove to be so far fetched.
While Manchester United can rightly feel that points were frittered away in earlier visits to Goodison Park and Craven Cottage, the one picked up from Michael Owen’s equalizer within a minute of coming off the bench at the Reebok Stadium was undoubtedly a point salvaged. To claim otherwise would only be an insult to a resilient Bolton Wanderers side who must have thought that a famous victory was within its grasp. Despite enjoying a 66% share of possession, United were unable to create anything resembling clear cut opportunities as Bolton closed down and unsettled their opponents for the whole ninety minutes leaving the likes of Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov totally frustrated.