Wolves host Crystal Palace at Molineux in the Premier League | James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves welcome Crystal Palace to Molineux on Friday night as both sides look to build on promising starts to the new Premier League campaign.
A late Newcastle free-kick denied Santo’s side three points last time out in a frustrating draw, while Palace secured their third win of the season against basement side Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Goals may not be the order of the day in this one with both managers favouring a more practical and pragmatic approach, but with an abundance of attacking talent on both sides it should still be an intriguing affair.
When Is Kick Off? Friday 30 October
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Molineux
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport Box Office (UK), fuboTV (US)
Referee? Martin Atkinson
Traore was on the bench for the Newcastle clash | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Wing back Jonny is the only confirmed absentee for Wolves as the Spaniard continues his recovery from an ACL injury. Adama Traore and Joao Moutinho have been regular starters in recent seasons for the Midlands side, but the pair were left on the bench against Newcastle and could return from the first whistle for the visit of the Eagles.
Roy Hodgson is having no such luck, however. Palace have a string of first-team players out injured or unavailable, including new signing Jack Butland who received a positive coronavirus test result. The former Stoke shot-stopper joins fellow keeper Wayne Hennessey on the sidelines as well as Gary Cahill, Nathan Ferguson and Conor Wickham.
Republic of Ireland international midfielder James McCarthy is also a doubt, along with James Tompkins and Jairo Riedewald. Michy Batshuayi could start up front again as it’s unknown if Jordan Ayew has recovered from Covid-19 in time to travel with the squad.
Wolves: Patricio; Boly, Coady, Kilman; Marcal, Neves, Moutinho, Semedo; Podence, Jimenez, Traore.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Clyne, Sakho, Dann, Mitchell; Townsend, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Schlupp; Batshuayi, Zaha.
Zaha has already bettered his Premier League goals total for last season | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images
Wolves had a tricky start to the season after following up an opening day victory over Sheffield United with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Manchester City and West Ham. But Santo’s men have turned things around and steadied the ship, picking up seven points in their last three games to sit in ninth position, just three points behind league leaders Everton.
One place above them, courtesy of a slightly better goal difference, are Palace. A convincing win at Old Trafford has been the highlight of their season so far in what’s been a typically robust and efficient start under Hodgson.
The south London side may not be renowned for their goalscoring prowess, but one man who is in scintillating form in front of the posts is Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast international has already bettered his Premier League goals tally for last season with five strikes.
Here’s how the two sides have fared in their last five fixtures.
Wolves 1-1 Newcastle (25/10)
Leeds 0-1 Wolves (19/10)
Wolves 1-0 Fulham (4/10)
West Ham 4-0 Wolves (27/9)
Wolves 1-3 Manchester City (21/9)
Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace (24/10)
Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton (18/10)
Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace (3/10)
Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton (26/9)
Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace (19/9)
Wolves will be hoping to pick up their third win in four games | Stu Forster/Getty Images
Wolves and Palace are the two lowest-scoring teams in the top half of the table, with just 14 goals netted between them. A tight and cagey affair is on the cards, with one goal likely to be the difference between the two sides.
A moment of magic of Raul Jimenez or Zaha could settle this one, but home advantage may just be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Wolves 1-0 Crystal Palace