Morgan Gibbs-White

Getty Images

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v. Wolves

Leave a comment

Wolverhampton Wanderers look preserve their good form – most recently showcased against Manchester City – when they visit Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday (Watch Live at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Sunday’s bout will see both clubs meet for the first time this season.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

With an instant-classic, 3-2 comeback win against City on Thursday, Wolves sit fifth on the table, while Liverpool – as we all know – are unbeaten and on pace to break the all-time most points record (100) set in 2018.

With four games in two days, are either side set to make drastic changes to their side? With the chance to leapfrog Chelsea with a win, it’s unlikely Wolves will, although it’s likelier Liverpool will elect to make a change or two.


Injuries/suspensions

Liverpool: OUT —  Dejan Lovren (hamstring), Fabinho (hamstring), Joel Matip (knee), Nathaniel Clyne (ACL), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle)

Wolves: OUT — Willy Boly (ankle), Morgan Gibbs-White (back)


Probable lineups

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Wolves: Rui Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Joao Moutinho, Vinagre; Traore, Jimenez, Jota.


What they’re saying 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on how dangerous Wolves will be: “Very – very, unfortunately. I really think the job Nuno is doing there is incredible with all the Europa League stress. I think at the beginning of the season they realized a little bit, ‘Oh, that’s different’. But now they are settled completely there, they are there again, Jimenez and Jota are scoring again. They had to change a little bit the last line to last year; Bennett and Boly are not playing consistently so they had to change that, but they have good options there. Traore finally found his manager, who found a position for him – he started as a wing-back and now he can even play in the front three. An exceptional player, as a kid he was already exceptional when he played for Barca I think, probably the quickest player in the league. So, a lot of really good things there and that makes it really difficult to play against them, of course. But it should be difficult against us as well, that’s the plan.”

Traore on Wolves’ thrilling comeback against Manchester City: “This team is amazing. We fight until the end, whatever the situation. That’s what we did today and I’m so happy for the team. Every one of us has worked so hard, we believed we could get this result.”

“Liverpool are a great team and are many points in front. We will fight to give our best.”


Prediction

13 points clear of Leicester City and with a jam-packed schedule ahead, it’s expected for Klopp and company to go into Sunday’s game with bit of a free-and-easy attitude. That said, an inspired Wolves will still remain outweighed by the Reds’ chemistry and excessive firepower, but the bout should still be an authentic showdown. Liverpool, 2-1.

Premier League Preview: Wolves v. Man City

Leave a comment
  • Man City (38 points) sit 3rd in PL table
  • Wolves (27 points) sit 8th
  • Last meeting: Man City 0-2 Wolves

At this point, there is virtually no race for the Premier League title, as Liverpool should waltz to their first domestic crown since 1990. Pep Guardiola has even said so himself. If the Reds were to slip up, however, the onus would then fall on Manchester City to make things interesting.

While the likelihood of Liverpool falling short seems unlikely given their current record-setting pace, Man City can move back into second place and cut the gap between the two sides to 11 points with a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux Stadium on Friday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

As for Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side can climb as high as fifth with a victory over the two-time defending champions. After starting the season slowly (no wins from their first six game — 0W-4D-2L), last season’s seventh-place finishers are back for another crack at the PL’s top-six. This time — thanks to Arsenal’s horrid struggles, Tottenham Hotspur’s regression and Manchester United’s continued mediocrity — Wolves look the best bet to become the first side to break into the top-six since Leicester City won the title in 2016.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – John Stones (hamstring), David Silva (leg), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee)

Wolves: OUT – Willy Boly (ankle), Morgan Gibbs-White (back)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy — Rodrigo, Gundogan — Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling — Jesus

Wolves: Patricio — Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss — Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny — Traore, Jimenez, Jota


What they’re saying

Guardiola, on Liverpool’s form: “When a team has 16 victories from 17 [games], it’s unrealistic to think we are going to chase them. It’s unrealistic right now. We have to try to win our games, secure Champions League for next season and then you never know, no? ‘If they drop a couple of games, and we win and win, I don’t know. When one team lose one game in the last 53 or 54, I’m not optimistic that they are going to lose four or five in ten or eleven games because they are incredibly strong.”

Nuno, on a packed schedule: “It’s going to be very tough, I think all of the managers are concerned and rightly so. I’m particularly concerned because I’ve been saying this; the schedule doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd. For all the teams. Of course, there are teams that have three days [between matches], but I don’t know the particular reason why it’s us as Wolves who have less hours, but it’s a concern for all the managers and for all the players. We have to survive. We have to survive. Let’s see what happens. We will train tomorrow, then we prepare to play Man City, and we’ll see. Let’s try and survive.”


Prediction

After a brief period of up-and-down results, Man City looked to be back to their best in dismantling Leicester City last weekend. Now, Sergio Aguero is back in action after missing four games due to a thigh injury, which makes Wolves’ task that much taller. However, if there’s a side that’s built to react and counter against 60 percent of possession, as City will have, it might be Wolves. It’ll be a challenge for City, but they’ll come out on top in the end. Wolves 1-2 Man City.

PL Sunday preview: Arsenal’s post-Emery era; Man Utd host Villa

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures features four games, including (but not limited to) the first game of the post-Unai Emery era at Arsenal, Manchester United with a chance to climb into fifth place, and what could be the final game of Marco Silva‘s tenure at Everton.

[ MORE: Mourinho praises “phenomenal” Dele Alli, Spurs supporters ]

Arsenal v. Norwich City — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal on Friday, making way for the Freddie Ljungberg (interim) era to begin on Sunday. With no obvious candidate standing out from all the others, Ljungberg, a long-time favorite as a Gunners player, could be given the chance to impress and have the “interim” tag removed, a la Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a year ago. After taking just three points from their last five PL games, Arsenal have fallen to ninth place, eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea, and could finish the weekend as low as 10th place. On the other hand, a win over 19th-place Norwich would see them climb up to fifth, a point ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Norwich’s Teemu Pukki, who took the PL by storm with five goals in his first three games, hasn’t found the back of the net since Sept. 14, a run of eight straight goal-less games for the Fininish forward.

INJURIES: Arsenal —  OUT: Dani Ceballos (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Hector Bellerin (hamstring), David Luiz (ribs), Shkodran Mustafi (foot) | Norwich  — OUT: Alexander Tettey (personal), Grant Hanley (groin), Timm Klose (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jamal Lewis (knee), Josip Drmic (hamstring)


Wolves v. Sheffield United — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Through 13 games of their debut season in the PL, Sheffield United are threatening to “do a Wolves,” in so much that the newly promoted side currently sits seventh — where Wolves finished last season — following a red-hot start. Following a poor start of their own (zero wins from their first six games), Wolves have rebounded nicely (unbeaten in their last eight, including four wins) and climbed all the way up to sixth (each side sat a place higher coming into the weekend).

INJURIES: Wolves —  OUT: Willy Boly (ankle), Ryan Bennett (groin), Romain Saiss (suspension), Morgan Gibbs-White (back) | Sheffield United  — OUT: None


Man United v. Aston Villa — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Nearly four months into the season, Man United are still without back-to-back PL victories. In fact, they’ve not repeated the same result — win, loss or draw — in consecutive league games all season. The Red Devils ave been, if anything, consistently inconsistent. After drawing Sheffield United 3-3 last time out, the best Solskjaer’s side can do on Sunday is get halfway there ahead of Tottenham’s blockbuster visit, and Jose Mourinho’s return, on Wednesday. United’s injury list remains extensive — and expensive — as Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly remain out, with Nemanja Matic perhaps set to return on Sunday. As for Villa, Dean Smith‘s side snapped a three-game losing skid last time out by thoroughly besting Newcastle United at Villa Park to put four points between themselves and the relegation zone. Following Southampton’s victory on Saturday, that gap is already down to two points.

INJURIES: Man United —  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (groin); QUESTIONABLE: Nemanja Matic (groin), Scott McTominay (ankle) | Aston Villa  — OUT: Jed Steer (calf), Jota (hernia); QUESTIONABLE: Bjorn Engels (hip)


Leicester City v. Everton — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Every defeat in the coming days could prove to be the final day of Silva’s employment as Everton manager, with the Toffees entering Sunday’s trip to the King Power Stadium in 17th place. It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (seven) on the season thus far, but the sides to which they’ve lost (Villa, Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Norwich, to name most of them) that stands out as most embarrassing for a club that thought it would be competing for the top-six this season. Leicester, meanwhile, have happily and swiftly taken their place as the side most likely to break up the monotony of the same clubs finishing atop the table every season. The Foxes entered the weekend in second place (they have since fallen to second), eight points back of Liverpool (now 11), on the back of five straight league victories. Jamie Vardy‘s 12 goals have garnered most of the headlines, but the play-making duo of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have been arguably more enjoyable to watch

INJURIES: Leicester —  OUT: Matty James (achilles) | Everton  — OUT: Andre Gomes (ankle), Theo Walcott (knock), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Morgan Schneiderlin (knock), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Bernard (knee)

Wolves finally win, add to Watford’s woes

Leave a comment

Wolverhampton Wanderers secured their first victory of the Premier League season as they beat Watford 2-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Matt Doherty scored in the first half and his cross was knocked into his own net by Daryl Janmaat in the second half as Watford improved after the break but couldn’t cope with Wolves’ quality in attack.

The win moves Wolves on to seven points for the season, while Watford have just two and sit bottom.


3 things we learned 

1. Wolves back to their fluid best: Their first goal was reminiscent of last season as Wolves were patient and picked their passes and final ball perfectly. Wolves have struggled early in the season but they showed glimpses that their attacking fluidity is finally returning. The Europa League is a distraction, but any relegation fears Wolves fans had for this season will soon evaporate.

2. Defensive woes continue for Watford: The Hornets were their own worst enemies against Wolves as they failed to follow their runners and just couldn’t keep their shape. They are bottom of the table on one two points and have conceded 20 goals in seven games. This is a big, big project for Quique Sanchez Flores.

3. Lift-off for Nuno: He has hit out at his team, especially for their defensive displays, but Nuno Espirito Santo will be happy after this. His team were far from perfect and sat back a lot in the second half, but they got the job done. This feels like Wolves’ new season can finally get going.

Man of the Match: Matt Doherty – A marauding display from right back as he scored one and set up the other. Doherty was back to the form we saw him in last season. A tireless and selfless display.


Wolves were lively early on as Neto broke free and crossed for Jimenez but the Mexican star couldn’t get on the end of the ball.

Neto did provide an assist moments later as his clever run was picked out following a lovely team move, and his ball to the center of the goal was tapped home by Doherty. A wonderful team goal from Wolves.

Watford really struggled to cope with Wolves’ tempo and wide play, as Adama Traore then looked to have his cross blocked by a hand but no penalty kick was given.

After long stoppages as both Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez went down for Wolves, the game lost its way in the first half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Watford improved in the second half and Rui Patricio was forced to save Holebas’ header and then denied Tom Cleverley with the follow up.

Wolves then put the result beyond doubt as another fine move out wide saw Doherty cross and Morgan Gibbs-White flicked the header into Janmatt who directed the ball into his own net.

Danny Welbeck then forced Patricio into a save but the win was fairly routine for Wolves, as they bagged their first victory of the season.

Wolves snatch late point vs. Burnley

Photo by Darren Staples/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]