Wolves travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United on Sunday evening. The Hammers are yet to pick up a point this season and Wolves will look to add to their woes following the defeat at home to Manchester City on Monday night. The game is broadcast live on BT Sport with kick-off at 7 PM.
It is been an indifferent start to the season for Wolves who will certainly want to kick on with a victory on Sunday evening. Wolves were impressive in their opening day win against Sheffield United, making a lightning-quick start gaining a two-goal advantage in the first six minutes before seeing out a relatively comfortable win. Following this, a strong Wolves side boasting a debut for record signing Fabio Silva lost out to Championship side in the second round of the Carabao Cup. It was a lacklustre performance in what was Wolves’ first home game of the season as the Championship side deservingly progressed.
The poor performances from the cup exit continued into the first half of the game against Manchester City on Monday evening with the visitor 2-0 up at the break. However, there were plenty of positive signs in the second half as Wolves created many chances and were unlucky not to gain a point. Wolves will certainly need to improve defensively heading into the game against West Ham and what is, following Sunday’s game, a promising run of fixtures. Wolves have also been uncharacteristically poor in possession in all three games this season as they look to evolve as a squad and integrate the new signings. This again is something they must improve on if they are to put together a run of results.
West Ham form
It has been a difficult start to the season for West Ham who are without a point so far following defeats to Newcastle and Arsenal however they have managed big victories against Charlton Athletic and Hull City in the Carabao Cup. The club’s supporters remain in serious unrest, with their anger directed to the owners of the club who they believe are not investing to the levels required to stay in the Premier League. In truth, the Hammers were woeful in the defeat to Newcastle on the opening day and it is clear why the fans are so unhappy with the lack of transfer business and overall poor running of the club.
However, they will take heart from an impressive performance against Arsenal on Saturday evening despite the defeat. The away side equalised just before half time and created chances in the second half which could have seen them take the lead only for Eddie Nketiah to win it for Arsenal five minutes from time. Michail Antonio was the goalscorer and obvious danger man for West Ham in that game and Wolves must nullify his threat if they are to leave the London Stadium with three points.
West Ham v Wolves Team News
Wolves will be looking to integrate new signing Nelson Semedo into the starting XI following a difficult time at right wing-back for Adama Traore. Fellow new boy Marcal was substituted after just seven minutes in the defeat against Manchester City and it is unlikely that he will feature at the London stadium.
Likely Line Up: Patricio, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Vinagre, Neto, Podence, Jimenez (Subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Hoever, Dendoncker, Vitinha, Traore, Silva)
West Ham became the first Premier League club to lose their manager on the touchline due to COVID-19 this week as David Moyes, along with players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen all tested positive for the virus prior to the Hammers Carabao Cup game with Hull City. David Moyes will be in contact with Assistant Manager Alan Irvine throughout the game, but there is no doubt this will have disrupted the home sides preparations for the game. Both Diop and Cullen are also set to miss the game as they continue their period of isolation, thankfully the trio are said to be asymptomatic.
West Ham opted to go with a 5 at the back formation against Arsenal and this proved somewhat successful. It is more than possible that David Moyes will continue with this formation which included both Cresswell and Masuaku on the left-hand side of their defence, something which could combat the threat Wolves pose down the right-hand side from Daniel Podence and/or Adama Traore.
West Ham v Wolves Head to head
The sides have faced each other in competitive fixtures 65 times, with Wolves victorious on 22 occasions with West Ham coming out on top 29 times. Since Wolves’ return to the Premier League in 2018, Wolves have a 100% record against the London side, winning all four fixtures in the previous two seasons including Wolves’ first victory back in the topflight, a 1-0 win at the London Stadium.
Not only have Wolves won all four games against West Ham in the previous two seasons, but they have also done so without conceding a single goal. The most recent encounter also came at the London Stadium where Wolves won 2-0 in what was both clubs first game following the Coronavirus lockdown in the UK. Raul Jimenez gave Wolves the lead mid-way through the second half before a superb volley from Pedro Neto made sure Wolves got off to a flying re-start back in June.
West Ham v Wolves Prediction
The game will certainly depend upon which Wolves turn up, while West Ham will certainly miss the presence of their manager on matchday. But will we see the Wolves that flew out of the blocks at Bramall Lane or the Wolves that produced a lacklustre performance in the Stoke and the first half of the Manchester City games?
Should Wolves take an early lead at the London Stadium, you would certainly back them to push on and take all three points. Despite this, the longer the game goes on, the more confident West Ham will become of taking three points. Whether or not Adama Traore keeps his place in the side remains to be seen, with Nelson Semedo likely to come in at right wing-back. However, in the game, last season Wolves won this fixture down the right-wing, predominantly through Traore’s beating of Aaron Cresswell. Whether it be Daniel Podence or Adama Traore, Wolves’ right-hand side will be crucial in deciding the outcome in this game.
Wolves created many chances in the second half against Manchester City, all of which came down the right and the added expertise of Nelson Semedo will only benefit that. West Ham are likely to combat this threat by opting with a five at the back which could in include both Cresswell and Masuaku on the left side of their defence as they opted to do at Arsenal. Despite this, Wolves will feel they have the quality to overcome their opponents and create chances to win the game. The midfield battle will also prove interesting, with Neves and Moutinho struggling to gain a foothold of the game against Man City leading to a poor first half. They are likely to battle with Rice and Soucek in the middle of the park on Sunday and this will be a key battle in deciding the outcome of the game. If the Portuguese duo dominate as we know they can, Wolves will find themselves in control of the game and therefore allow the creativity to flourish going forward.
Prediction: West Ham 1-3 Wolves