Wolves will look to pick up their second successive win when they face bottom club Sheffield United at Molineux on Saturday.
Adama Traore’s stoppage time winner halted Wolves’ six game winless run against Fulham last Friday night as Nuno’s side effectively ensured their Premier League survival with a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Sheffield United, however, will be relegated if they fail to match Newcastle’s result at home to West Ham earlier on Saturday, which would finally put the Blades out of their misery following one of the Premier League’s worst ever campaigns.
Kick off at Molineux is at 8.15pm and the game will be broadcast on Sky Sports.
Going into Friday’s game at Fulham, the most important thing for Wolves was to avoid defeat, which would have left Nuno’s side just six points clear of the relegation zone.
It wasn’t easy on the eye, it was safety-first and it cost them one of their best players until October at the earliest, but Wolves got the job done. Perhaps inspired by the injustice felt after Willian Jose’s VAR-disallowed goal in first half added time, Adama Traore blasted the ball past Alphonse Areola in the 92nd minute to earn Wolves’ first away win in nearly two months.
With Wanderers sitting pretty (ish) in 12th place, 12 points above Fulham with Scott Parker’s side having only 18 points left to play for, their Premier League place finally looks set in stone for a fourth straight year, their longest spell in the competition.
Having suffered so many injuries that have severely impacted a small squad, Nuno will probably consider now to be the time to judge his loanees, youngsters and players playing for places in 2021/22.
Sheffield United form
In short, Wolves couldn’t really have an easier game this weekend, as they could impose one of the Premier League’s earliest ever relegations on the Blades.
Failure to match Newcastle’s result against West Ham at 12.30 on Saturday will confirm Sheffield United’s return to the second tier, although a win or draw will only stave off the inevitable for Paul Heckingbottom’s side.
Should the Blades’ relegation be confirmed on Saturday night, they will join Ipswich in 1994-95, Derby in 2007-08 and Huddersfield in 2018-19 as the only teams to have relegation confirmed while having six games still to play, which just about sums up how bad this season has been for Sheffield United. Having lost 25 of their 31 league games this campaign and scored just 17 goals in the process, the season’s end on May 23rd can’t come soon enough for anyone connected with the club.
It’s no easy task picking out a danger man for one of the worst teams in Premier League history, but David McGoldrick has been Sheffield United’s obvious standout player. The 33-year-old has tripled his league tally from last campaign with his six goals in 2020/21 and has netted 35% of the Blades’ goals.
Wolves v Sheffield United team news
Just as Wolves’ injury woes seemed to be easing in early March, the start of April has seen Wolves lose four first-team players to long-term injury or illness.
Pedro Neto’s knee injury suffered at Craven Cottage will rule him out for the rest of the campaign, giving a sorry end to a fine individual season that will almost certainly see the 21-year-old voted Wolves’ player of the year.
While Willy Boly has recovered from COVID and will be involved, Ruben Neves has contracted the virus which has ruled him out of the visit of the Blades. Jonny, Raul Jimenez and Marcal remain the long-term absentees.
Sheffield United will be without Oli McBurnie for the rest of the campaign after he suffered a foot fracture in last weekend’s defeat to Arsenal, with the Scottish international joining Sander Berge, Jack O’Connell, Billy Sharp and former Wolves loanee Jack Robinson on the Bramall Lane treatment table.
Wolves line up prediction: Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Boly, Ait-Nouri; Dendoncker, Moutinho; Traore, Vitinha, Podence; Silva.
Wolves v Sheffield United head to head
The sides last met at Molineux in December 2019 and played out a 1-1 draw, as Lys Mousset’s early opener was cancelled out by a second half Matt Doherty header.
Sheffield United head to Molineux looking for their first win in Wolverhampton in 19 years, when a brace from Michael Tonge helped the Blades win 3-1 in October 2002. At the end of that campaign, Wolves would beat Neil Warnock’s side 3-0 in the play-off final in Cardiff.
Wolves have a good record against the Sheffield United in recent years, winning five of the last 10 meetings, with the Yorkshire side victorious in just two.
Wolves v Sheffield United prediction
There’s only one way this can go, surely?
It must be remembered that one of Wolves’ finest performances of the season came on the opening day against the Blades in September. With a near fully-fit squad to choose from, goals from Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss earned Wolves a comfortable three points and the best possible start to the new campaign.
Those days seem to be in the distant past now, but Wolves are facing one of the worst teams in Premier League history. Sheffield United can’t score, can’t defend, don’t have a manager and are seemingly begging to be put out of their misery.
While the Premier League’s last truly awful team, Huddersfield Town in 2018/19, picked up two of their three wins against Nuno’s Wolves, it’s worth noting that they had something to play for when they picked up those two victories in November and February. Sheffield United don’t.
A comfortable win should be the minimum expectation for Wanderers.
Prediction: Wolves 2-0 Sheffield United