Wolves have started the season with three wins, one draw and two defeats and their total of 10 points from six matches represents their best start to a top-flight season since 1979. Despite some negativity surrounding their recent performances on the pitch they have actually started the season pretty well.
Their last game in the Premier League was against Newcastle United at home on Sunday afternoon. The result was a 1-1 draw with goals coming from Raul Jimenez and Jacob Murphy. Wolves had a number of chances throughout the game but were unable to put many on target. They managed to find the opener through a great volley from Jimenez in the 80th minute. Poor defending of a late free kick, however, saw Newcastle draw level and steal a point.
A couple of areas that looked shaky in the last game were the defending of set-pieces and being clinical when attacking. The wall was set up poorly for Newcastle’s free kick, enabling Murphy to curl his effort around the wall and past Rui Patricio. As for being clinical, Wolves had 16 shots over the course of the 90 minutes with only three of those being on target and one ending up in the net. When creating that many chances you simply need to be more clinical. Hopefully, we’ll see improvements on Friday after a good few days in training. When asked where goals will come from, as reported by the Express and Star, Nuno said:
“I hope they come from all of the players.
“But we have to improve on our offensive set-pieces – we are not doing enough or harming enough.
“I think we have height and big guys so the deliveries have to improve, so it can happen there of course..”
Crystal Palace Form
Palace have started the season in a similar fashion to Wolves, winning three, drawing one and losing two, and sit above Wolves in the table on goal difference.
Their last outing was a 2-1 win over a struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Both of their goals came on the counterattack and they found themselves without the ball for the majority of the match with Fulham holding 64% of the possession. Luckily for Palace, Fulham did little with their possession and didn’t manage to find the net until the 95th minute.
For me the one to look out for on Friday is forward Wilfried Zaha. He has looked very impressive since the start of the season scoring five goals in six games and providing one assist. Against Fulham he was often too much for fullback Ola Aina and showcased a lot of tricks and skills. Wolves’ defence will need to be tight and organised so as to not get caught out by him.
Wolves v Crystal Palace Team News
With Jonny the only real absentee for Wolves, Nuno has a lot of options. I think we could see Marcal return to the line up for this game and Saiss replaced by Kilman given how well he has slotted in over the past couple of games. So I’d like to see a line up of:
Patricio, Boly, Coady, Kilman, Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, Marcal, Neto, Jimenez, Podence.
According to BBC Sport Crystal Palace full-backs Tyrick Mitchell and Joel Ward are both doubts due to minor problems. In more positive news, Jordan Ayew and Jack Butland should be available after recovering from coronavirus and James McCarthy, Gary Cahill and James Tomkins are back in training.
Wolves v Crystal Palace Head to Head
Wolves and Palace have faced each other a total of 67 times with Wolves winning 27, Palace winning 21 and 19 ending in draws.
The last time the two sides met was at Molineux in July after the Premier League restart. Wolves ran out 2-0 winners on the day with goals coming from Podence and Jonny. After a first half with few clear cut chances, a beautiful pass from Moutinho allowed Doherty to set up Podence who scored his first goal in old gold. The second goal came in the second half when Raul laid off the ball for Jonny to spin and finish.
Wolves v Crystal Palace Prediction
I feel that Wolves could still look a little unsure in this encounter as they try to adapt to Nuno’s plans for a more possession based style of play. In the last game they managed to succeed in keeping more of the possession but failed to look too threatening in front of goal. Hopefully, as the weeks go on and the team become more comfortable with the new style we will see more threat and more goals.
Looking through the head to head stats reveals that neither team has scored more than two goals in any of the 16 top-flight meetings between the two sides. This points towards another game potentially lacking in the goal department. Palace have scored eight so far and conceded nine, and Wolves have scored six and conceded eight so both are pretty evenly matched. I feel like this one will end in a draw with both teams on similar form at the moment.