Wolves v Stoke City Carabao Cup Match Preview

Wolves are looking to build on Monday evening’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United as they take on Stoke City in the Carabao Cup Second Round at Molineux. Wolves will have ambitions of winning this competition, which is another viable route into Europe.

Where can I watch Wolves v Stoke City in the Carabao Cup?

The game kicks-off at 7pm and is available to watch on Carabao Cup Live for a £10 fee.

Wolves Form

Wolves recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over The Blades at Bramall Lane at the start of the week, Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss were both on target inside the first six minutes as Wolves made a quick start. 

Wolves started sharply and controlled the game for the first-half but during the second they looked leggy and you could tell they hadn’t had much of a pre-season.

Sheffield United had a brief spell in the second half where John Fleck rattled the post and John Lundstrum couldn’t convert Billy Sharp’s ball across goal but apart from that, Wolves didn’t have to withstand heavy pressure. It was probably a good job Wolves started quickly and created a healthy lead as they could then play the rest of the game at their own pace. 

It was a professional performance from Wolves who will want to build some momentum ahead of a tough fixture against Manchester City next week.

If Wolves start with the same intensity on Thursday as they did against Sheffield United, they will cause Stoke City problems even with a rotated starting X1.  

Stoke City Form

Wolves’ visitors on Thursday night started their Sky Bet Championship season off last weekend with a 0-0 draw away at former manager Gary Rowett’s Milwall. In the First Round of the Carabao Cup, they played a relatively strong team and had to endure penalties to beat Blackpool after the game finished 0-0. They had ended last season impressively, demolishing Nottingham Forest 4-1 at The City Ground to crash Forest’s play-off hopes. 

Stoke have seen a few high earners leave the club over the last few weeks, Peter Etebo, Mame Diouf and Stephen Ward have all departed whilst former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has arrived along with promising winger Jacob Brown from Barnsley. 

Wolves v Stoke City Team News

Understandably in previous years, Nuno has often picked a rotated squad during the Carabao Cup, rightly focusing on other competitions. But this year without any European football, the Carabao Cup represents a really good opportunity for Wolves to challenge for silverware and a place in the newly introduced UEFA Conference League. Nuno could go with:

Ruddy, Sanderson, Coady, Kilman, Burr, Vitinha, Neves, Vinagre, Neto, Silva, Jota. 

In Stoke City’s last game at Milwall, they lined up in a 3-5-2 formation to likely combat Milwall who have been playing 3-4-3. It’ll be interesting to see if they stick with that vs Wolves who are obviously well known for their 3-4-3 formation.

A trio of former Wolves players could feature in Thursday’s game. Former Wolves captain Danny Batth has been playing at the heart of their back three and striking duo Steven Fletcher and Sam Vokes are both former Wolves forwards. Another familiar face in Benik Afobe is due to leave for Turkish club Trabzonspor. 

Wolves v Stoke City Head to Head

In recent years, Wolves haven’t faced Stoke too often. The last time the two sides met was in July 2018, a 0-0 draw in pre-season. Competitively, the two sides last played each other in January 2017, as Paul Lambert led Wolves to a 2-0 win at The bet365 Stadium. Helder Costa put Wolves ahead before Matt Doherty scored a stunning free kick late into the second half. From the Wolves squad that beat Stoke that day, only Conor Coady and Morgan Gibbs-White remain. Overall, Wolves have had the better of Stoke winning 65 games to Stoke’s 50. 

Wolves v Stoke City Prediction

With a good chance at progressing in this competition, Wolves need to pick a relatively strong team and not rotate as much as they have done in the competition previously. There won’t be any complacency from Nuno and his team but even with a few changes, Wolves’ team should be of good enough quality to overcome a Stoke side who may themselves decide to switch things up. Stoke have a pretty big squad for a Championship team with over 30 senior players and Michael O’Neill looks set to give his fringe players some minutes. 

Nuno has said he wants his side to be more dominant in games and control more of the ball. Thursday’s game would be a good game to assert some dominance over a side that had an average of 47% possession during the 2019/20 season.

Wolves have the players to beat Stoke and are favourites to progress through to the third round. No game is ever easy however Stoke could only muster 0.82 xG (expected goals) against Millwall and they struggled in the First Round against Blackpool, winning unconvincingly on penalties. I can’t see Stoke breaking down Wolves too many times and think Wolves will have the quality, even with a youthful-looking team to win the tie and go on to face Gillingham in the third round. 

Taran Dhamrait is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.