Friday, January 24, 2020

Prediction: Pyunik vs Wolves

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 7 Aug 2019

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Verdict: Total goals over 2.5

Best odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: Bet365

Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Armenia to face FC Pyunik on Thursday, in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers, with the two teams striving to secure European football for at least half of the 2019/20 season, and reap all the benefits therein.

The winner of this two-legged contest will go on to play either Torino or Belarus side Shakhtyor Soligorsk in the play-off round.

FC Pyunik

Founded less than three decades ago, the Armenian side haven’t got much history to show behind them, and they aren’t very well known to those keeping their focus on the high-quality leagues of the continent. Nonetheless, in the 27 years of their existence so far, they have won the Armenian Premier League a record 14 times, and they also have eight Armenian Cup trophies on their shelves. Last season, however, they finished second in the league and missed out on a chance to fight for a Champions League spot.

On their way to this round, Pyunik got past Macedonian side Shkupi and Jablonec from the Czech Republic. They have never ever made it into the group stages of any European competition, and though there would still be one step to go, a triumph here would certainly represent a historic success.

Team News

Coach Alexander Tarkhanov usually arranges his team in a 4-3-3 shape, and after the successes of the opening two rounds, he’s unlikely to see a reason for change much. That goes particularly for striker Artur Miranyan, who scored twice in the last game before being withdrawn with 10 minutes to go.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves had a simply fantastic season upon their return to the Premier League, finishing seventh and moving straight into contention for Europe. Manager Nuno Espirito Santo has put together a truly formidable team, successfully holding off the interests of top European clubs in some of his key players.

Having entered the qualifying process in the second round, Wolves comprehensively saw off Northern Irish side Crusaders to book a plane for Armenia. They will fancy their chances here; and aren’t likely to be stopped in the play-off round either.

Team news

Striker Raul Jimenez, who bagged a brace at Seaview last week, limped off with a knock in the second half of the game and isn’t very likely to be risked by Espirito Santo against Pyunik, especially given that the Premier League starts for them on Sunday at Leicester. Morgan Gibbs-White could step in. New signing Patrick Cutrone, who arrived to the Molineux from AC Milan this summer, could also make his debut.

Wide man Matt Doherty is still injured, and the pacey Adama Traore might take his place once more.

Conclusion

With all due respect to the Armenians, Wolves really shouldn’t have too much trouble getting past them over two legs, and they are likely to seek to gain a significant advantage straight away. This should mean an open game, one where the home side’s defence is put under heavy pressure for most of the 90 minutes. Any away goal for the Wolves should put the whole tie beyond Pyunik’s reach.

Verdict: Total goals over 2.5

Best odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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