Inconsistent Wolves seeking inspiration in tough meeting of Crystal Palace
Wolves to win 1-0
This could be one of the tightest fought encounters of the weekend, as Crystal Palace travel to the West Midlands to face Wolves.
Last season, Wolves would have been the more likely to come out on top of these two – indeed since they re-joined the Premier League in 2018, Wolves have lost only one of four meetings between these two.
However, this season, the term ‘favourites’ cannot be used as confidently as it could in the past, with shock results happening almost every weekend and form completely up and down for most teams.
Wolves are no different, playing well one week and then falling short the next. Palace started the season brilliantly, lost the next two before winning last weekend to go above Wolves on goal difference.
In a game where both teams are fighting for confidence, it’s uncertain for sure which way it’ll go, though both will be eager to gain three points.
Form Guide (all comps): LLWWD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Unbeaten against Palace last season
Raul Jimenez has found form at the right time
Reasons to be fearful:
Struggling to score enough goals to win games
Defence has not been as solid as last season
Wolves are not known for scoring great numbers of goals – last season they managed 47 in 38 goals, the lowest of any side in the top 13 positions.
However, even by their standards, they’ve found it hard going this season. Apart from on the opening day of the season, when they beat Sheffield United 2-0, they haven’t scored more than a single goal in a game since.
Considering they failed to score against West Ham and Leeds, the situation is one they need to address.
They must also consider their defensive form – conceding late on against Newcastle is something that would have irritated their manager and shows a weakness that he will not want to be repeated.
At least Raul Jimenez has started scoring with more regularity – he now has four for the season, the same as Liverpool’s Mane and Southampton’s Ings.
Star Man – Raul Jimenez
Wolves need to score more goals, but at least their star striker is one of the best around
Form Guide (all comps): WLLDW
Reasons to be cheerful
While not consistent, they have picked up points
Win over London rivals Fulham will have given them great confidence
Reasons to be fearful
Keeping clean sheets has been a problem
Over-reliance on Wilf Zaha
Like Wolves, Crystal Palace rely heavily on one man to score or assist most of their goals.
Wilf Zaha has not always been as clinical as he now is in front of goal. He already has more goals this season, after six matches, than he managed in all 39 last season. He is only five more goals away from his best goal scoring season, three years ago.
Crystal Palace have done excellently to keep him, such are the rumours surrounding him every transfer window. They must be careful they do not become too reliant on his goals, however. Zaha has five out of Palace’s eight goals this season.
Nevertheless, manager Roy Hodgson will be pleased with his side’s start to the season. They finished in 12th last year and will be looking to build on that this time around.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
On course for his best-ever goal scoring season if he keeps up this form. Palace rely on his brilliance.
Likely to be a tight game with little to separate the sides
Jimenez and Zaha will fancy their chances of scoring
Either side could move into the top four with victory
With a potential place in the top four on the cards for the winner, that should serve as incentive enough here, as well as the chance to build some momentum going into November.
Wolves, despite having more points that Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, haven’t quite impressed as much as last season and will be wanting to score goals with more regularity.
Crystal Palace, who sit a place higher, will be the happier of the two teams going into this one, though will be fearful of a response from the home side.
Wolves to win 1-0