Wolves v West Brom Match Preview

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Wolves will look to end a poor run of form as they host West Brom in the first Black Country derby in almost nine years on Saturday. 

Nuno’s side extended their winless league run to five games as Michael Keane’s header condemned them to a 2-1 loss to Everton on Tuesday. 

Albion didn’t play in midweek but were the victim of an FA Cup upset last time out as they lost on penalties to League One Blackpool.

Kick off at Molineux is at 12.30pm on Saturday and the game will be broadcast on BT Sport. 

 

Wolves form

Having picked up just two wins in 11 league games since beating Crystal Palace in October, Wolves are, simply put, in their worst run of form in Nuno’s tenure. 

While Wanderers are just five points worse off than they were at the corresponding stage of last season, they have lost five more games, and have suffered just one fewer defeat than they did in the entirety of last campaign. 

Their eighth defeat of the season came on Tuesday night against Everton, just six months after the Toffees had been comprehensively swept aside at Molineux last season. 

Alex Iwobi gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side the lead after just six minutes, before Ruben Neves drew Wolves level from inside the area.

The sides weren’t separated until deep into the second half when Michael Keane’s 77th-minute header from Andre Gomes’ superb cross sealed Everton’s first win at Molineux since 2011. 

While every other side in the Premier League would love a home game against West Brom to end a winless run, Wolves fans would beg to differ. Anything but a win against their arch-rivals would be unthinkable, and with tough games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester, Southampton and Leeds coming up, could see Wolves dragged even further down the table. 

If Nuno’s side are to ‘enjoy’ a stress-free mid-table campaign, beating West Brom is a must. 

 

West Brom form

Things aren’t going to plan for West Brom in their Premier League return. The Baggies have won just one Premier League game, against Sheffield United at the end of November, and have picked up just eight points from 17 games so far this term. 

Slaven Bilic was sacked after a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium in December, paving the way for Sam Allardyce to start his latest survival mission, but that hasn’t gone to plan either. Albion have picked up just one point from four Premier League games since his arrival, scoring once and conceding a huge 13 goals, including nine without reply in their most recent defeats to Leeds and Arsenal. 

However, their biggest humiliation came last week as they were dumped out of the FA Cup on penalties by League One Blackpool, who took the lead twice in normal time. 

Usual key man Conor Gallagher is suspended for the game, so Wolves will have to keep an eye on centre-back Semi Ajayi, who will probably provide Albion’s biggest goal threat. The former Rotherham centre-back is West Brom’s joint second-top goal scorer with two, and scored the Baggies’ last league goal against Liverpool in December. 

 

Wolves v West Brom team news

Wolves’ injury problems are beginning to ease. Adama Traore should return having not been risked for Tuesday’s defeat, while Pedro Neto’s knock suffered against Everton is not believed to be serious. 

Willy Boly looks set to start the game but Marcal and Daniel Podence will miss the game. 

Conor Gallagher’s five yellow cards means he is suspended for the Baggies, who will also be without Conor Townsend (knee), Karlan Grant (foot) and Hal Robson-Kanu (wrist). 

Despite a strong side starting in the defeat to Blackpool, Albion picked up no fresh injury problems at Bloomfield Road. 

 

Wolves line up prediction: Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Boly, Saiss, Ait-Nouri; Dendoncker, Neves; Traore, Neto, Cutrone. 

 

Wolves v West Brom head to head

It’s been almost nine years since the Black Country derby was last contested, with a game that still makes Wolves fans shudder to this day. 

Goals from Jonas Olsson, Keith Andrews and a Peter Odemwingie hat-trick gave Albion a 5-1 win at Molineux, which saw Mick McCarthy’s six-and-a-half-year stay at Wolves come to an end the day after. 

In recent times, Albion have regularly had the better of their bitter rivals. Wolves have won just three of the 15 21st century derbies, with the Baggies winning nine. 

 

Wolves v West Brom prediction

For the first time in decades, Wolves are overwhelming favourites to beat their nearest and dearest. 

Despite Wanderers being on their poorest run for almost four years, Albion have managed to be much worse, and are seemingly cut adrift and heading straight back to the second tier. 

The Baggies are missing their most creative midfielder and their two biggest goal-threats upfront, and have all the hallmarks of a side completely devoid of confidence. 

Of course, anything can happen in derbies – but it’s hard to see any way the home side don’t come out on top here. For May 2007, February 2012 and all the other derby heartaches, Wolves win. 

 

Prediction: Wolves 1-0 West Brom

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