Verdict: Wolves win
Best Odds: 8/13
Turning their attention to EFL Cup duties in midweek, Wolves will welcome Championship outfit Stoke to Molineux on Thursday night.
Starting with the hosts, marking their Premier League return with a 2-0 win away at last year’s surprise package Sheffield United, many have Wolves tipped as a potential top-four dark horse this time around. Not having to split their attention with Europa League duties this season, Nuno Espírito Santo’s men have certainly enjoyed a well-deserved break this summer. Making a return to Molineux on Thursday night, the Oranges should also be boosted by what is an eye-catching record in the Midlands. Including signing off the extended 2019/2020 campaign with back-to-back 2-0 and 3-0 wins against Crystal Palace and Everton back in July, Wolves also have one leading marksman who has already opened his account at Bramall Lane this week. Scoring a sublime strike in the opening two minutes, MVP Raul Jiminez scored 28 goals in all competitions since the start of last season – among Premier League players in this period, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling have scored more.
Expected to make a string of changes in midweek, Ruben Neves is expected for a recall from the start after settling for a place on the bench at Bramall Lane.
Club record signing Fabio Silva could be in to make a debut and lead the line on Thursday night.
As for the visitors, while Stoke might have turned to Michael O’Neill last year in an attempt to drag them away from a relegation scrap, the Potters have really found their feet under the former Northern Ireland boss. Signing off their pre-season campaign with what was a morale-boosting 1-0 win away at Premier League outfit Newcastle earlier in the month, they also managed to leave play-off hopefuls Millwall with a point intact when making their Championship return. Suddenly with the mood around the Bet365 Stadium at the highest it has been in recent memory, Stoke are unbeaten in their last five second-tier contests continuing on from last season, a run that also saw them end the extended 2019/2020 campaign with a stunning 4-1 romp against Nottingham Forest. If Thursday’s guests are to pull off what would be a real upset at Molineux, then the Potters will have to make some alterations on their travels. O’Neill’s men managed to win just one of their final 10 Championship matchups on the road.
With the chance to take stake their claim on Thursday night, Jack Butland, Harry Souttar, Jordan Thompson, Josh Tymon and Tom Ince will all be hoping for a recall.
Key Factors to Consider
- The last time the two sides met on competitive action back in 2017, Wolves picked up a 2-0 win.
- Raul Jiminez scored 28 goals in all competitions since the start of last season – among Premier League players in this period, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling have scored more.
- Wolves lost just one of their final seven Premier League matchups at Molineux last season.
- Stoke have managed to win just one of their previous 10 Championship matchups on the road.
- However, the Potters are unbeaten in each of their last five trips to Molineux.
While Stoke might have really managed to find their feet since bringing in Michael O’Neill last year, the Championship outfit should be in for a tough step up in class on Thursday night. Opening their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win away at Bramall Lane, Wolves should be confident of making a similar statement as they turn their attention to EFL Cup duties in midweek. Signing off the 2019/2020 campaign with back-to-back home victories against Everton and Crystal Palace, we’re backing a similar outcome for the Premier League outfit this week.
Verdict: Wolves win
Best Odds: 8/13
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!