Wolves look to build on their much-needed win against Arsenal as they face high flying Leicester City at Molineux. Brendan Rodgers’ side are 3rd in the Premier League following Wednesday’s impressive win at Leeds. The game will be behind closed doors and broadcast live on Sky Sports with a 14:00 kick off.
Wolves’ victory over Arsenal was their first in nine Premier League games and was vital in ensuring they are not dragged into the relegation scrap as teams in the bottom half have begun to pick up points. Recent defeats against Everton, West Brom and Crystal Palace had caused huge concern amongst the fanbase and Wolves will need to build on their win against Mikel Arteta’s side if they are to ease the fears of a relegation battle. Wolves continue to suffer a depleting injury crisis but are hopeful of having Jonny, Saiss and Ait-Nouri back in the coming weeks, meaning there is hope for the remainder of the season to provide entertainment for fans watching on from home. Wolves are of course still in the FA Cup following victories against Crystal Palace and Chorley, they will face Southampton on Thursday evening for a place in the Quarter Finals.
Leicester have been in fine form of late and find themselves in the Premier League title race, five points behind leaders Manchester City at the halfway point of the season. They have lost just once since the turn of the year, most recently beating Fulham at Craven Cottage by two goals to nil on Wednesday evening. They, like Wolves, are still in the FA Cup having advanced past Stoke and Brentford in previous rounds.
Nuno surprisingly reverted to a back four for the win against Arsenal, having adopted a back three for the games at Chorley, Chelsea and Crystal Palace. Max Kilman slotted in at left back with Jonny Otto, Marcal and Ryan Ait-Nouri all side-lined through injury. Wolves struggled to contain Arsenal early in the first half and were lucky to have conceded just the single goal as the game approached half time. The sending off did of course help Wolves defensively with Arsenal a man light, however it should also have given them confidence in defending with a back four having looked uncomfortable early on. Midfield pair Neves and Moutinho both played extremely well, the latter scoring a stunner to win the game for Wolves. Moutinho in particular seems to benefit from having an increased amount of attacking players ahead of him, allowing him to play with greater intensity and impose himself in a more attacking sense. Willian Jose has started his Wolves career brightly and is expected to start in the continued absence of Raul Jimenez. Leander Dendoncker’s poor form is likely to see him remain on the substitutes bench for the visit of the Foxes.
Likely Line Up: Patricio, Semedo, Coady, Boly, Kilman, Neves, Moutinho, Traore, Podence, Neto, Jose (Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Richards, Otasowie, Dendoncker, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Corbeanu, Silva)
Leicester have been without key players Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi in recent weeks, but Brendan Rogers has stated that both could return for the game at Molineux and will be assessed prior to the match. Wesley Fofana remains out and he will be the Fox’s only major absentee if the recovering duo are fit to face Nuno’s men. Leicester, like Wolves have switched between a back three and four on numerous occasions this season but are likely to adopt the more familiar back four formation, particularly in Fofana’s absence.
Historically, affairs between the two Midlands neighbours have been evenly matched, playing each other 76 times, Wolves coming out on top on 20 occasions while Leicester have won 26. Last season, both games ended goalless, with VAR benefitting the Foxes on both occasions, ruling goals out from Leander Dendoncker at the King Power Stadium, and Willy Boly at Molineux. On Wolves’ return to the Premier League a similar trend continued with Leicester coming out on top early on in the season and Wolves edging a thriller at Molineux 4-3. Leicester also knocked Wolves out of the Carabao Cup that season, winning on penalties at Molineux.
How you see it
This game certainly goes into the unpredictable category. If both teams turn up at their best, it could be an intriguing encounter and both sides will look at the game believing they can take all three points. Wolves will have taken a massive confidence boost from the victory over Arsenal, regardless of the luck they may have received on the day. They will no doubt be aware of Leicester’s quality in attack and ability to win the ball back high up the pitch. This will certainly cause problems for Wolves, especially when playing with a back four. However, if Wolves’ attacking trio of Neto, Podence and Traore are on form and link with Willian Jose as they did at times against Arsenal, there are certainly goals in this game for Wolves too. The game will almost certainly be won in the final third, whichever defence comes out on top against two promising attacking line ups. I’m expecting a close and entertaining game which may well end all square in what would be an excellent result for Wolves, and a point Leicester would not be disheartened with either.
Prediction: Wolves 2-2 Leicester