Wolves face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League at The Hawthorns off the back of a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Burnley. Wolves were shambolic last time out and face an Albion side clinging on to a small glimmer of hope of retaining their Premier League status. The Black Country derby takes place on bank holiday Monday, May 3 and kicks-off at 6pm live on Sky Sports.
Wolves ended a two-game winning run with last Sunday’s collapse against Burnley at Molineux. The 1-0 wins over Fulham and Sheffield United were not exactly convincing either and up against a team who Wolves rarely play well against, they were exposed defensively and made to look rather silly against Chris Wood and co.
There wasn’t really any positives from that game other than we are one step closer to this horrible season ending.
They usually say that form goes out of the window or a derby fixture but with Wolves’ tepid performances for the best part of 12 months, I’m pretty sure even without the Burnley result, Wolves would not be looking forward to this game.
Having said that, Wolves sit 12th in the league table and barring a huge goal difference swing, they can’t actually lose a position. Although Palace in 13th do have a game in hand.
West Brom form
West Brom look all but set to join Sheffield United in the Championship next season however they are still not down and out just yet. Two recent impressive wins included a 3-0 win over Southampton and a 5-2 away win at Stamford Bridge when Thiago Silva was sent off inside 30 minutes. They followed this up with a 3-0 defeat to Leicester before conceding a 92nd minute Keinan Davis equaliser vs Aston Villa last weekend.
They have still only won five games this season, one of those coming in their 3-2 win at Molineux, which I’ll sadly recap shortly.
Matheus Pereira has been their dangerman this season whilst recent addition Mbaye Diagne has scored a couple of goals however time is running out for the home side. Nevertheless, a win over a tame Wolves outfit would keep them in the league for a little bit longer.
West Brom vs Wolves Team News
From what we know, Wolves are likely to be without long-term absentees Raul Jimenez, Pedro Neto, Jonny Castro Otto and Marcal. Joao Moutinho missed the Burnley mess with an injury picked up in training.
Nuno has been reluctant to change things even with safety all but secure and after every heavy defeat this season, he has placed an even bigger emphasis on defending and protecting a clean sheet. Wolves can’t defend in a four or five, so if he wants to play with a four going forward, he needs to play it and stick with it.
Potential side: Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Podence, Vitinha, Traore, Silva.
Robert Snodgrass looks like he could return for Albion with Branislav Ivanovic the only other injury doubt for Sam Allardyce.
West Brom vs Wolves Head-to-Head
Wolves suffered an embarrassing 3-2 defeat at Molineux back in January in the reverse fixture.
Pereira scored twice either side of a Semi Ajayi strike as goals from Fabio Silva and Willy Boly wasn’t enough for Wolves to gain anything from the game.
Referee Michael Oliver had a poor game gifting West Brom a penalty for a foul that was outside of the box and he then failed to award Wolves a penalty when Kieran Gibbs quite obviously caught the ball in the penalty area. Oliver also gave West Brom another penalty for a very soft foul but away from that, Albion were fired up and wanted the victory more than Wolves. You’d expect the same on Monday.
Albion have won the last three games between the teams and have the better overall record, winning 65 games compared to Wolves’ 53.
Nuno has relayed his messages about competing in games and trying to cut out mistakes. On Friday, he told the media that this week (in training) had been good and that this game “means a lot to us and the fans. We are going compete. We have to compete.”
Wolves have to show some desire and fight on Monday. They had none of it against Burnley and looked like they didn’t care.
This is probably not the ideal game to bounce back from a thrashing but if the players can’t get up for a local derby, then there is something wrong.
We’ve seen Wolves struggle defensively this season and that isn’t going to change overnight but Wolves are a better team than West Brom and if they can avoid making silly mistakes that lead directly to goals, they may be able to take something from this game. For that, they need to attack a defence that has conceded 64 goals this season, but Wolves aren’t exactly a free-scoring team.
I expect Nuno to play it cautiously and try and grind out a 1-0 win. Wolves seem more bothered about not losing than trying to win, but when you struggle to defend, there’s no point in playing for a draw.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Wolves.