Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Two teams who were able to rest their key players in midweek face each other on Sunday, with Spurs travelling to the Molineux to take on Wolves.
Wolves, already knowing they were safely through to the knockout stages, thrashed Turkish side Besiktas on Thursday in the Europa League, scoring four goals with no return. The confidence they will take from this result could play a huge part on Sunday not least for Diego Jota, who scored a hat-trick within eleven minutes.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s attention now turns towards the Premier League, where his team are currently sitting in sixth place and one point above their opponents Spurs. After a slightly shaky start to the season, Wolves are now demonstrating that they truly have the strength to simultaneously compete in the Europa League whilst pushing for a place in next year’s competition.
The issue that has prevented Wolves from breaking into the top-four this season is their inability to clinch a win at the crucial moments. Nine of the Wanderers’ 24 points have come from draws – many of these to top-six sides that seemed to consistently fall victim to Wolves’ tactics last season. Turn just three of those draws into wins and Wolves would be in the Champions League places. Still, with the halfway stage of the season almost upon us, Wolves have plenty of time to reach for the higher regions of the table.
Likewise, Spurs will also be hoping to break into the top four before the new year, with Chelsea seemingly experiencing a slight dip in form. Spurs have to contend with Wolves for fourth position in the table if Chelsea are to drop out of the top four and a win on Sunday would make the mission much easier.
Mourinho’s men faced Bayern Munich in midweek, safe in the knowledge that they would progress through the group stage by finishing second place. This gave Mourinho the chance to play some of his less experienced players such as Ryan Sessegnon, who smashed in his first goal for Spurs at the Allianz Arena, as Tottenham fell to a 3-1 defeat to the German outfit.
Tottenham bounced back from a disappointing loss to Manchester United by thrashing Burnley 5-0 last Saturday, with Son scoring one of the goals of the season. The clean sheet may well be the most valuable result of that match, especially with Burnley being so free-scoring this season. Mourinho will hope that he has found the solution to his defensive woes and that the problem will not arise again in the near future.
Willy Boly is not available while he continues to recover from a broken ankle. Teenager Morgan Gibbs-White is recovering well from his back problems but is still doubtful to feature on the weekend.
Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele both missed out on last week’s fiesta against Burnley with respective ankle and groin injuries that will likely see them miss out against Wolves.
Ben Davies, Erik Lamela and Hugo Lloris are all continuing rehabilitation from more serious injury issues and will not feature on Sunday.
Predicted Starting XIs
Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Dendoncker; Jonny, Moutinho, Ruben Neves, Doherty; Jota, Jiminez, Traore
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga; Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Aurier; Dier, Sissoko; Son, Alli, Lucas; Kane
Score prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Wolves’ favourite scoreline this year may make another appearance on Sunday, with both teams in good form going into the match.