Three questions for Manchester United ahead of Wolves clash

Manchester United face Wolves tonight in search of a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

If United do get through, they will not know the identity of their fourth round opponents until just days before the game takes place.

That’s because the replay between Tranmere and Watford was called off last night and rearranged for Thursday 23 January.

To even get to that stage, United have some questions to answer and we’ve picked out three.

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How strong does Solskjaer go?

Solskjaer made changes for the initial tie, which came after a busy festive period, and saw his side put in a disjointed, scrappy performance.

The FA Cup arguably represents United’s best chance of a trophy this season but Solskjaer must balance that fact against protecting a thin squad which has been hit by injuries.

Solskjaer also needs to try and build momentum from the weekend win over Norwich, ahead of Sunday afternoon’s trip to Anfield.

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Does Solskjaer risk Maguire?

It was during the initial tie that Harry Maguire picked up the injury which it was feared would keep him out for an extended period.

He played against Norwich on Saturday but Maguire is likely playing through pain.

By rushing him back, Solskjaer has made it imperative that Maguire is managed carefully so as not to risk aggravating the injury.

But United were shambolic defensively in Maguire’s absence against Manchester City, and have kept clean sheets in three of the last four games he has played alongside Victor Lindelof.

It’s a big call for Solskjaer, especially with Raul Jimenez to deal with.

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Can Solskjaer outwit Santo?

Solskjaer has faced Nuno Espirito Santo four times in just over a year in charge and is yet to win once.

Santo’s three-man defensive structure has proved capable of overwhelming Solskjaer’s United in the second halves of their meetings.

The United boss may hope tonight’s clash is different because it’s the first between the pair at Old Trafford.

But the Norwegian must find a way around Wolves’ deep block as well as a formula for keeping in front; the Old Gold have come from behind to get a draw or a win twice against Solskjaer’s United already.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.