Premier League football returns this weekend after a frantic international break that was actually really entertaining for once. Normally we can think of nothing worse than watching England outside of major tournaments, but our success in the Nation’s League has been nothing short of exhilarating.
Sunday’s trip to Molineux to face Wolves feels somewhat like a comedown after Harry Kane’s late heroics, but hopefully Town can give us something extra to smile about. The game will be live on Sky Sports at 4pm, but don’t let that put you off travelling down to support the lads.
But what can we expect from Sundays game? Will Town’s players be dejected after the frustrating draw against West Ham or will Wolves will be a bag of nerves as they look to arrest a slightly disappointing downturn in form? Read on to find out.
What’s changed at Wolves?
The last time we faced Wolves in a league game Izzy Brown’s long range strike was the difference, securing us a win at Molineux that guaranteed our place in the Championship play-offs.
However plenty has changed since then, Brown has suffered a succession of serious injuries, Paul Lambert is no longer Wolves manager and we now find ourselves below them in the Premier League table.
Since then Nuno Espirito Santo has been appointed manager of the Midlands club and has taken them to the Premier League after a superb title-winning season in the Championship. Wolves’ rise to the top table of English football was largely down to the financial injection of Chinese group Fosun international.
One of their subsidiaries Fosun Pharma have recently been investigated after allegations emerged that they had been supplying ineffective vaccines to children in China. The group have maintained heavy links with football agent Jorge Mendes during their time as owners of Wolves.
Using a football agent as head of recruitment contravenes FA rules and as such Wolves had repeatedly denied that Mendes has any say in the club’s transfer dealings. The influx of Portuguese superstars to Molineux and the appointment of Mendes’ first ever client as head coach are apparently completely unrelated.
Wolves’ rise to the middle of the pack in the Premier League from League One obscurity has been hailed by their fans as the ‘model’ way to run a football club. Wolves’ diehards fully support their ownership structure and are vehemently protective of any comments that question that.
So for the record, we are NOT saying that Wolves are the epitome of everything that’s wrong with modern football. We are NOT saying that they bent the rules to win promotion. We are NOT saying that the 23 clubs they finished above in the Championship believe they were cheated. Remember, we are definitely NOT saying any of that, okay?
Town go into this game with one or two notable absences, firstly Chris Lowe looks doubtful to start the game thanks to a niggling injury. Further to that Zanka will be absent after racking up a suspension so defensively, David Wagner’s side may be a little suspect.
Elsewhere the rest of the squad look fit and healthy, Danny Williams could even return to action in this clash. His full throttle game would be a welcome relief on Sunday when Town will have to contend with the dynamic duo of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho.
Since their 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park, Wolves have struggled in the league collecting 1 point from the last 12 available. However during that run they have played a string of in-form sides including Tottenham, Arsenal and Watford.
They will be looking to bounce back in their next 4 games as they face Town, Cardiff, Newcastle and Chelsea. Most Wolves fans and pundits can’t see past a home win in our fixture on Sunday, however there is hope for travelling Town fans.
The Terriers recent visits to Molineux have borne fruit, who can forget Jermaine Beckford firing us to victory when we were in a similar position in the Championship? Containment will not be the key in this game however, with Wolves’ side containing several savvy technicians who have the ability to pick their way through our defence.
Instead a high paced start with a focus on physicality could be the key to undoing Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. Long throws from our very own alpaca Phil Billing could be our strongest tool in this clash.
With 4 points from our previous 2 games, Town’s players should be bristling with confidence and keen to target 3 points from this game. How will it go? We don’t know, but we’re more hopeful than we would have been even a month ago.