It is a welcome break from league duty as the third round of teh FA Cup see the Eagles travel to take on Wolves, so TEB had a chat with the guys at WOLVES FANCAST to get their views on the season so far, thoughts on the cup tie and much more.
How has the season gone for you so far?
At the time of writing, like most Premier League teams, the best word to sum up our season so far is inconsistent – winning six, drawing three and losing seven. Beating the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal but losing to Burnley and West Ham pretty much sums us up! Formation changes from five to four at the back along with a new more attacking style of play are key reasons for this. It is definitely a transitional period for us as we bed our new youngsters into the squad.
What was the fan expectation ahead of the new campaign?
As always with Wolves fans, overly ambitious. Before the campaign started, some would say we should be aiming for the Champions League places. Realistically, a good season would be a top half finish, a great season would be Europa League qualification and above.
It was a peculiar summer transfer window for everyone, but how active were Wolves and are there any areas that will need attention in January?
Considering the circumstance and the shorter transfer window Wolves were active in terms of both outgoings and incomings. Selling Matt Doherty to Tottenham and Diogo Jota attracted the most attention in the football world. 25% of our goals last season came from them, a big hole to fill for both the existing players and new signings.
Wolves signings underpinned our recruitment strategy of snapping up talented young players, who will be worth more in the future than what we purchased them for. Fabio Silva was the signing that created the most attention – £35 million for an 18 year old is a huge fee, but he is already showing promising signs that he will be a brilliant player in the future.
In addition to Fabio, Wolves signed four new full backs to replace Matt Doherty and the long- term injury of Jonny Castro Otto. Rayan Ait Nouri was bought in from Angers, despite reported interest from PSG, Liverpool youngster Ki – Jana Hoever was snapped up and Nelson Semedo was signed from Barcelona for around “28 million, as a direct replacement for Matt Doherty. Marçal was also bought in from Lyon, adding much needed experience and versatility to the team. Portuguese U21 international Vitinha was added to the squad on-loan from Porto to add some much-needed creativity, although we haven’t seen a lot of him yet.
I think it’s pretty obvious for all to see that Wolves need a replacement striker in January due to the unfortunate injury to Raul Jimenez. Whilst Fabio Silva’s performances have been promising, at times you can see a lack of experience in terms of the positions he takes up. Podence, Neto and Traore will flourish if we get an experienced striker in to get in on the end of the chances created.
We are keen to see young players coming through the ranks here at TEB so is there anyone we should keep an eye on who could make the break through into the first eleven?
Owen Otasowie is a 19-year-old American who has recently been given his chance by Nuno due to the injury of Leander Dendonker. His versatility of being able to slot in both defence and midfield could mean he will get a fair amount of game time this season. He made his premier league debut against Chelsea and did not look out of place.
The premier league has looked pretty open so far this season, do you see that continuing into being the most open title race for years?
Liverpool are still by far the best and most consistent team in the league with Manchester City not to far behind. As for the rest, it’s fair to say the rest of the positions are up for grabs with Villa, Southampton, Leicester and hopefully Wolves challenging the conventional ‘top 6’.
The use of VAR continues to frustrate everyone, so where do you sit with the ongoing debate?
VAR is continually the centre piece of most games within the Premier League for the wrong reasons, making football less enjoyable. Pinpointing the marginal offside calls and the ridiculous handball decisions is killing the game for football fans of all Premier League clubs. The quicker this is rectified, the better.
The last time the two sides were drawn together in the FA Cup was in the fourth round back in 2010 which palace ended up winning in a replay at Selhurst – what are you expecting from this tie?
The famous Danny Butterfield six-minute hattrick – not a memorable one for us!
A hard question to answer, as I think both teams could potentially rotate their first eleven. With Wolves having home advantage and tending to usually play a strong team in the FA Cup, I would expect us to just edge past Palace on the day.
What do you make of Palace this season?
As like most teams this season, quite inconsistent and going through a bad run of form currently. The 5-1 hammering of West Brom stood out for a few of reasons! In Roy Hodgson, Palace have an experienced manager who knows how to set his team up to keep them out of trouble, and with the brilliance of Zaha, talent of Eze and solid defence generally they should finish comfortably in mid-table.
Name one player from each team that you believe will be a threat to the opposition in this match?
Wilfried Zaha will be a big threat to Wolves. Semedo has shown defensive vulnerability this season so far for us, often getting caught out positionally so will need to be on his game to stop Zaha getting any joy down the wing.
Palace should watch out for Podence and Neto as their flair, pace and creativity has troubled virtually every team we have come up against this season.
And finally. your all-important predication?
Got to be positive and slightly biased so let’s go 2-1 Wolves.