It might be Valentine’s Day but tonight’s encounter between Wolves and Leicester will be a fearsome one and the visitors could leave the Molineux heartbroken.
This is a huge fixture for both the hosts and the visitors, both of whom still have big aims during this season. Leicester will be disappointed not to have made the EFL Cup final but they are in the FA Cup and, perhaps more importantly, are on course for a Champions League spot – they sit ten points clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United, who have played one game more.
Wolves are at a crossroads. They are currently favourites to win their Europa League tie with Espanyol and are as short as 14/1 to win the competition with Star Sports. They are also one of a clutch of teams that still has a very realistic shot – on paper – of making it into fourth (and the Champions League), given that they are just six points behind Chelsea at the time of writing.
Neither side has been in red hot form of late. Since their 3-2 win over Manchester City, Wolves have won just one game, but there are mitigating circumstances for that. In that eight game run they have faced Liverpool at Anfield and Molineux (and they were unlucky not to get more from their game at Anfield), they had an FA Cup replay against Manchester United along with one Premier League game against United too.
It’s been a brutal run of fixtures and they’ve arguably played better during that period than Leicester, who have lost a lot of momentum after the new year. They were extremely lacklustre in back to back defeats against Burnley and Southampton and whilst they were unlucky in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Aston Villa, the number of chances missed will worry Brendan Rogers.
Wolves v Leicester City
20:00 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Ultimate HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
AUG 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 0-0 Wolves
JAN 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Wolves 4-3 Leicester
SEP 2018 EFL CUP Wolves 0-0 Leicester
AUG 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 2-0 Wolves
JAN 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP Leicester 2-1 Wolves
SEP 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP Wolves 2-1 Leicester
Leicester’s downturn in form has coincided with a slump in the performances of Jamie Vardy, who’s now gone five games without a goal. James Maddison has also been a bit quieter of late and the difference in attacking output has been very notable, whilst the absence of Wilfred Ndidi (who might return tonight) has been perhaps even more noticeable.
It shouldn’t be all gloomy news for Rogers and his men – Kelechi Iheanacho has led the line well in the cups, whilst Harvey Banes and Ben Chilwell have become a focal point in recent games – but they could struggle like other high flying teams have when coming to Molineux. Since winning promotion, Wolves have recorded wins against City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United in the league, whilst also knocking Liverpool and Manchester United out of the FA Cup, albeit last season. Only City and Liverpool have registered more Premier League points against the established top six than Wolves (20) since August 2018 and this season they’ve taken six points from Manchester City too.
The return of Willy Boly to the defence after a three month lay-off could give Nuno a huge boost and the obvious quality he has in the rest of the side in the shape of Matt Doherty, Reuben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Jonny, Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota gives him a punchers’ chance of beating a Leicester side that looks there for the taking.
It’s interesting to note that they’ve Wolves have scored in every Premier League home game and kept just two clean sheets, and both teams have scored in 19 of their Premier League games. The 17/2 on a 2-1 win for the hosts could be big value.
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