Wolves return to Premier League action after a 15-day break as they face Leeds United at Elland Road with Wolves looking to build on the 1-0 win over Fulham prior to the International break. Leeds will be a very different test to Fulham and Wolves will need to up their game to face the Premier League newcomers. The game kicks-off at 8 pm and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Wolves entered the International break with an unspectacular 1-0 win over Fulham at Molineux with Pedro Neto netting his first goal of the season. Wolves were marginally the better side but only had the one goal to show for it against the league’s rock bottom team. Fulham did also look dangerous when tricky winger Ademola Lookman was introduced and Aboubakar Kamara should have equalised when shooting straight at Rui Patricio from yards out.
Wolves will need to be on it at the back but also look to rediscover some attacking impetus if they are to trouble Leeds, we may see Wolves revert to a more counter-attacking style, looking to hurt Leeds on the break.
Wolves do have one other win to their name this season with their opening matchday win over Sheffield United. Wolves currently sit 13th in the league table on six points, five places and one point behind Monday’s opponents.
Leeds have taken to life back in the Premier League pretty well. They opened their campaign with an entertaining 4-3 defeat at Anfield before back to back wins over Fulham and Sheffield United. A superb 1-1 draw vs Manchester City before the break means Leeds head into this game full of confidence. They have scored 10 goals this season already and their fast-paced style of play has caught the eye.
Leeds have been active in the transfer market this summer and have spent nearly £100m on some very astute additions. Forward Rodrigo joined from Valencia whilst winger Raphinha was a late acquisition from Rennes. Former Wolves favourite Helder Costa will be on course for his first game vs Wolves since leaving permanently earlier this year. Fellow Wolves favourite Barry Douglas, however, has slipped down the pecking order at Elland Road and has subsequently left to join Blackburn on loan.
Wolves v Leeds Team News
Wolves face an anxious wait regarding the availability of their Portuguese senior stars as Rui Patricio, Nelson Semedo, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Daniel Podence who were on national team duty with Cristiano Ronaldo who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. All five Wolves players have been tested on their return to Compton by Wolves medical team on Thursday and were cleared to train however Nuno will potentially need to wait until Sunday for results from Friday’s Premier League tests to get the all-clear.
In better news, Fernando Marcal is set to return after his calf injury that he sustained in September.
With the all-clear from Friday’s tests, Nuno could go with:
Patricio, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Dendocker, Neves, Marcal, Neto, Podence, Jimenez.
Leeds will be without new signing Diego Llorente whilst captain Liam Cooper is a doubt for the game. New signing Raphinha looks set to make his first involvement for Leeds whilst Pablo Hernandez is fit again.
Wolves v Leeds Head to head
Wolves last faced Leeds in March 2018 as Wolves cruised to a 3-0 victory at Elland Road on their way to the Championship title. Goals from, Romain Saiss, Willy Boly and a first goal on his return to Wolves for Benik Afobe ensured Wolves were six points clear at the top of the Championship.
The game prompted a series of tweets from current Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani who claimed Wolves relationship with Jorge Mendes was unfair and the league was not equal, this prompted Leeds to write letters to the FA, EFL and Premier League over Wolves’ links with Mendes.
Overall, Leeds have had the better of Wolves winning 42 games to Wolves’ 32. However, Wolves are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Leeds, scoring eight goals in the process.
Wolves v Leeds Prediction
Nuno is aware that Leeds pose an unusual and challenging threat, speaking on Friday he told the media: “Leeds has a special approach on the game. I like it, but my focus is on how can I adapt and take advantage of it. I expect a very tough challenge.”
Marcelo Bielsa will also be aware of Wolves’ threats from the likes of Neto, Podence, Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore who will need to really click with each other if Wolves want to start scoring goals again. Leeds are not just a counter-attacking side, they are able to dominate games and like to get players into the box to attack in numbers. However, this could work to Wolves’ advantage who we know can counter attack with menace, but with Nuno wanting to step away from playing solely on the break, will he try and match Leeds for possession? This is one of the games where Wolves should be playing on the counter-attack.
With the inexperienced Pascal Struijk potentially stepping in for Liam Cooper, Wolves should be looking to attack a defence that could be exposed with Leeds desire to attack.
Bielsa is not silly though and he will know what Wolves can do to teams on their day. The problem is that Wolves haven’t really been on their day since Project Restart and that needs to change quickly.
I really don’t know what to expect on Monday night, I think it could go either way, to be honest. I’m hopeful Wolves can match Leeds’ energy and put in a solid performance. I think I’ll go with an entertaining 2-2 draw with the recent surge in goals from this year’s Premier League to continue.