Conor Coady

Wolves Europa League
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Captain Coady: Wolves’ Europa League triumph ‘a night we won’t forget’

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Wolves, Europa League quarterfinalists! For the first time in 48 years, Wolverhampton Wanderers are through to the quarterfinals of a major European competition.

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For a club that was competing in the third tier of English soccer just six years ago, it’s quite an incredible accomplishment and one that only serves to highlight the brilliant job that Nuno Espirito Santo has done since taking charge in the summer of 2017.

After the game, Wolves captain Conor Coady explained just how much it means to the club and how desperate he is to keep such a special run going — quotes from the BBC:

“It was really tough. We played against a top class side and we knew how hard it would be after going to Athens. I thought the lads were fantastic and we managed the game very well. It’s an incredible night for this football club and a night we won’t forget.

“It’s amazing and we are here as players to help the club improve. We love playing for the manager and we were able to frustrate them. We scored a great goal in the first half and that gave us the confidence to keep going. It’s a huge game coming against Sevilla next.”

Star center forward Raul Jimenez, who scored the game- and tie-winning goal on Thursday, heaped praise upon Espirito Santo for the belief and confidence he has instilled in the players, which he believes has played a massive part in sending Wolves Europa League quarterfinals-bound.

“He is a very important part of the team. He is a leader and at the end he said congratulations to me. That confidence he and the team gives to me, I try to give it back to them on the pitch.”

Arsenal beats Wolves to strengthen European hopes

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Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette scored as Arsenal closed ground on the top five with a gritty and complete 2-0 win over Wolves at the Molineux on Saturday.

WOLVES – ARSENAL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Mikel Arteta’s project looks to be going well as Arsenal moves seventh with 49 points, three back of Wolves and four clear of rivals Spurs, who have a match-in-hand.

Wolves saw a four-match clean sheet run spoiled by Saka’s first-half goal. The sixth-place Wolves lose ground in the battle for a top four place and now sit two points behind Chelsea, who plays later Saturday. They are three back of Manchester United and six behind Leicester City.


Three things we learned

1. Arsenal begins gauntlet with promise: The Gunners need wins, not draws, if they want to creep up the table and into the European places by season’s end. Saturday was the first of three chances to take three points from a team it’s chasing, with a visit from Leicester City coming Tuesday before July 12’s North London Derby at Spurs. A team they won’t catch, Liverpool, follows so… get those points now and get your form sorted.

2. Saka celebrates new deal in style: Arsenal’s 18-year-old wonder worker on the left side came from the right to score his first Premier League goal. Kieran Tierney’s deflected cross gave Saka a chance to show his technique, and that left-footed side volley oozed the good stuff. Saka now has four goals and 10 assists in all competitions, and does not turn 19 until Sept. 5.

3. Wolves falter: Raul Jimenez was fine, which is substandard from his usual prowess, while Adama Traore didn’t do much after a lively start up top. Injections of Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto yielded little as you’d call this a certified dud. When Conor Coady is getting cooked, you know something’s not right.

Man of the Match

The best player on the pitch for either team might have been Ruben Neves. Wolves’ Portuguese midfielder had a goal-mouth clearance and sprayed long balls around the field as if he was four yards, not 40 away from his target.


Wolves – Arsenal recap

The first half did not live up to the billing of two offense-first teams, although Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah came close after the half-hour mark.

The best chance at the other saw a hesitant Raul Jimenez trouble Wolves’ promising rush into the 18.

Adama Traore drew a dangerous free kick off Sead Kolasinac that led to nothing as the match neared halftime.

It was Saka who stroked Arsenal in front in the 43rd minute, celebrating his new contract with a terrific left-footed side volley after Kieran Tierney’s cross was deflected into his path.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Traore came close for Wolves after the hour mark but Arsenal was staunch in its final third.

Arsenal got its second when Lacazette roasted Conor Coady with a slick first touch of Joe Willock’s pass as the Gunners needed a half-dozen moves to produce a goal from a David Luiz-won header at midfield.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly had Willock on the board with a third Arsenal goal after Lacazette keyed a move in the final third, but Ruben Neves cleared the shot off the line.

Aston Villa – Wolves stream: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

Aston Villa - Wolves preview
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Stream Aston Villa – Wolves: Villa can climb out of the drop zone with a result against steady Wolves at Villa Park (start time is at 7:30am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Villans are in the drop zone as one of three teams on 27 points. Watford is in 16th with 28.

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Wolves, meanwhile, are surging toward a top five spot. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are level on points with Manchester United and five behind fourth-place Chelsea.

STREAM ASTON VILLA – WOLVES LIVE

Click on the link above to strem Aston Villa – Wolves, while below is everything you need to know ahead of the Midlands derby with plenty on the line for both teams.

Team news

Aston Villa make three changes as Marvelous Nakamba, Conor Hourihane and Keinan Davis come in for John McGinn, Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi.

Wolves make one change as Adama Traore is replaced by Leander Dendoncker.

What they’re saying

Conor Coady on Wolves looking to sweep a Midlands derby: “It’s Villa. It’s such a quick turnaround, but it’s something we’ve been used to this season because of the amount of games we’ve had. It’s something that we’re really looking forward to, honestly. I think everybody in our changing room is just happy to have football back.”

Villa boss Dean Smith on facing Wolves: “I’m not a Villa fan. I’m the Villa manager at the moment. I try to lose that tag. I’m now the Villa head coach looking to win games to keep us in the Premier League. I was coming up against Nuno with Brentford in the Championship. Now, seeing what they’re doing in the Premier League is inspiring. They’ve done a fantastic job competing on all fronts, even in Europe this season. They have a realistic aim of being a top-six team now. They’ve done a fantastic job and credit must go to all of them.”

Odds and ends

The hosts are +350 while Wolves are favorites to the tune of -118.

Wolves took a 2-1 win over Villa at the Molineux in November on goals by Ruben Neves and — you guessed it — Raul Jimenez.

Aston Villa – Wolves prediction

Villa is winless in six Premier League matches, picking up just two points. They gave Newcastle plenty of chances in a 1-1 draw at midweek and only scored on a Martin Dubravka error. A draw is possible but Wolves look refreshed and ready. 2-1 Wolves.

Europa League preview: Solskjaer slams turf in Netherlands; Emery seeks win

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Tough road tests await Manchester United and Wolves, while Arsenal stays home for Thursday’s round of Europa League matches.

Having thumped Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany, the Gunners can deliver themselves control of the group by defeating Standard Liege.

[ MORE: Full Europa League schedule ]

That won’t be as easy as it sounds, even at the Emirates Stadium, because Standard enters the match on a five-match unbeaten streak.

Unai Emery just wants a win.

“With a good performance, with good pieces, with also controlling the match and with good positioning on the pitch for good pressing against them,” Emery said. “Tomorrow, we need that. Also, a clean sheet is important. Yes, it’s important. But I think it’s one process, to be strong, to be competitive defensively and offensively. I think we are getting better little by little, but each match is a big challenge for us to show how we are improving as a team. But above all is to win.”

Standard is led by 23-year-old midfielder Samuel Bastien and 21-year-old goalkeeper Arnaud Bodart, the latter of whom has only allowed seven goals in nine appearances this year.

The Gunners drew Manchester United 1-1 on Monday, a result which cast even more doubt on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s ability to generate consistent performances from the Old Trafford set.

The Red Devils face AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, and AZ is young and fierce. Nineteen-year-old defender Owen Wijnald is one of several green players chewing up big minutes for the side.

They could well face an almost as young United on Thursday, with Paul Pogba unable to play with an ankle injury. And Solskjaer said he might’ve not played Pogba if he was healthy due to the state of the pitch at ADO Den Haag, where AZ is playing while its stadium is repaired.

“It’s one of the worst ones I’ve seen for a long while, we’ve all got standards back home in Norway and they are all modern and new but it’s safe, I’m not saying that… it’s just not the newest.”

Watch out for Oussama Idrissi, who has six goals this season, as well as 18-year-old Myron Boadu. The teen has four goals and three assists in 624 Eredivisie minutes.

Wolves have the toughest test of the Premier League sides in the Europa League, and they’ll face Besiktas in Turkey.

Both Wolves and their hosts lost their opening group stage matches, so the stage is set for some drama in Istanbul.

Wolves’ defender Conor Coady said the team will be buoyed by its weekend win over Watford, its first this season in the Premier League.

“Saturday was huge for us,” he said. “Not necessarily the result, but the way we played, we looked a little bit more like ourselves. We haven’t really panicked to much about the start of the season because we know it’s early but it was good, and the clean sheet was massive.”

Wolves and Manchester United play their matches at 12:55 p.m. ET, while Arsenal will kickoff at 3 p.m.