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Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Nearly a month has passed since Manchester United last played at Old Trafford and supporters will be in much better spirits visiting the Theatre of Dreams this time around.

Man United players last walked off the Old Trafford pitch beaten 3-0 by Tottenham Hotspur, their season seemingly already in crisis after two consecutive defeats.

But away wins over Burnley, Watford and Young Boys on Wednesday, during which United showed character and skill, has significantly altered the mood around the club ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Here are three players who must be given starts against Nunon Espirito Santo’s side.

Luke Shaw

The Englishman came back into the starting XI against Young Boys and picked up exactly from where he left off, storming up and down the left hand side with hunger.

He has utterly transformed the way United’s left hand side looks and feels. Suddenly United’s wide attacks, with Shaw sprinting full belt along the touchline, feel a lot less predictable.

Alexis Sanchez

Many supporters will be pining for Anthony Martial to start once again having demolished Young Boys in the second half on Wednesday. The Frenchman, in 45 minutes, brought more attacking nous than Sanchez has done all season. The way he took on defenders was superb, and unlike anything we’ve really seen this term.

And perhaps because of that Mourinho will call on Sanchez, yet to really get going at Old Trafford, to rise to the challenge laid down by Martial on Wednesday. He will not want to be coming off, 60 minutes in, for Martial having not had an impact against Wolves.

Chris Smalling

It has gone under the radar – mainly because his hair has gripped the attention of social media – but the performances of Chris Smalling in recent weeks have been very accomplished.

The Englishman was a bastion of physicality in away wins over Burnley and Watford, commanding his back line and meeting cross after cross. He may have the odd mistake in him – most centre backs do, after all – but there is an unquestionable sense of seniority about his presence on the pitch which Jose Mourinho admires.

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