Premier League Preview – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bringing an end to the festive period of fixtures for another year and kicking off a brand new year at the top table, the Eagles make the midweek trip to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Nuno Espirito Santos and his side have impressed many on their return to the Premier League, their first since they were relegated in 2011/12. That was a tough time for the club, suffering back to back relegations and finding themselves in League One.
They have played entertaining expansive football which has seen them reach the heady heights of seventh after twenty games. That is the first spot behind the top six clubs in the country and whether they retain that form remains to be seen but you have to say that they are not far off the points tally that is likely to keep them up this season already.
Having taken ten points from their last five games, they do not look like slowing down as the Eagles face a tough challenge to begin the New Year. In contrast, Palace have not been too dissimilar with seven points from five games but Roy Hodgson and the players know that it could have and probably should have been a better return.
Sitting in fourteenth spot and four points off the bottom three, it has not been all doom and gloom that some are led to believe. The problems up front have exasperated things somewhat which while being frustrating, the players have put plenty of good shifts to have something to build on in the New Year.
Rumours are abound that Palace are in for a striker following interviews with Steve Parish and Roy Hodgson before and after the loss to Chelsea. Liverpool and England youngster Dominic Solanke is the favourite to head down to South London with Alexander Sorloth potentially heading out on loan.
Fresh blood, particularly up front, is vital at this stage of the season and any move in the transfer market to free up Wilfried Zaha from the shackles of playing the striker role and return out wide would be very welcome indeed.
TEAM NEWS (courtesy of Physio Room)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Christian Benteke (knee) remains unavailable.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS – Adama Traore (hamstring) and Diogo Jota (hamstring) are both major doubts.
The last time these two sides met was at Selhurst Park in October which was the first fixture between them for almost six years. It was a familiar story for the hosts, plenty of possession and attempts on goal but a second half goal from Matt Doherty was enough for the Premier League new boys to return home with all three points.
Who Scored man of the match – Matt Doherty (8.4)
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 06/10/2018 Crystal Palace 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- 01/01/2013 Crystal Palace 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- 02/10/2012 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Crystal Palace
- 02/02/2010 Crystal Palace 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- 23/01/2010 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Crystal Palace
Last FIVE results for Palace;
- 30/12/2018 Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
- 26/12/2018 Crystal Palace 0-0 Cardiff City
- 22/12/2018 Manchester City 2-3 Crystal Palace
- 15/12/2018 Crystal Palace 1-0 Leicester City
- 08/12/2018 West Ham United 3-2 Crystal Palace
Last FIVE results for Wolves;
- 29/12/2018 Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- 26/12/2018 Fulham 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- 21/12/2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Liverpool
- 15/12/2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Bournemouth
- 09/12/2018 Newcastle United 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
THE RECORD AGAINST WOLVES
- Played 64
- Won 20
- Drawn 18
- Lost 26
FORM PLAYERS (courtesy of Who Scored)
Top two rated players from each team so far this season;
- Matt Doherty 7.35
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7.24
- Willy Boly 7.18
- Luka Milivojevic 7.05
ONE TO WATCH
RAUL ALONSO JIMENEZ RODRIGUEZ
Former clubs – America, Atletico Madrid, Benfica
The Mexican international is current enjoying a season long loan from Portuguese giants Benfica. The 27 year old has scored six goals since joining the side from Molineux in the summer. He began his career in the youth team at Mexican side America in 2008 before making his professional debut with them in 2011. A move to Spain materialised in 2014 with Atletico but a single goal in over twenty appearances saw him move on the following season to Benfica. With seventy international caps to his name to date, Jimenez caught the eye of Wolves at the World Cup in Russia this summer and has so far impressed leading the line for the Premier League new boys this season.
Hard to know what Palace side will turn up for this one but based on the way we have been playing of late, a fixture away from home against a side that like to come out and play football may just suit us. Having said that, the performance must be better than that against Chelsea and need to take the chances that fell our way against Cardiff is imperative. This team cannot continue to dine out on the win at City, they have to emulate that form in games as it proved that they can do it. To start the year with a draw away from home would be a good start and us here at TEB would take that. An entertaining 2-2.
- TEB prediction – draw
- Thomas Baugh’s prediction (see link below) – home win
- Who Scored prediction – home win
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – evens
- Draw – 23/10
- Away – 16/5
- Both teams to score – 21/20