We look ahead to Saturday’s early kick-off at Molineux with our Wolves vs Tottenham prediction and preview. How will Spurs react to their first league defeat under Ange Postecoglou?
Wolves vs Tottenham: Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts Tottenham have a 44.2% chance of victory over Wolves (27.4%) as they attempt to bounce back from their first defeat of the Premier League season.
- Ange Postecoglou could lose back-to-back league games for the first time since enduring a run of three straight J1 League defeats with Yokohama F. Marinos between 2020 and 2021.
- Hwang Hee-chan has scored or assisted in his last five Premier League games. Only Henri Camara (seven matches in 2004) has ever enjoyed a longer such run for Wolves.
Ange Postecoglou finally suffered his first Premier League defeat on Monday, as Tottenham were beaten 4-1 by Chelsea in a chaotic game containing two red cards, five disallowed goals and a Nicolas Jackson hat-trick. The effects of that match could be felt further when Spurs open Matchday 12 with Saturday’s trip to Wolves, with suspensions and injuries piling up for the visitors.
It was all going so well for Spurs when Dejan Kulusevski’s deflected strike gave them an early lead over their rivals, before a marginal offside decision against Son Heung-min denied them a second goal. Things started to unravel after Cristian Romero’s first-half red card, with Cole Palmer leveling for Chelsea from the penalty spot before Destiny Udogie received a second booking after the break.
It was just the fourth time Tottenham have received two red cards in the same Premier League match, and though they continued to take the game to Chelsea by playing an ultra-aggressive high line when reduced to nine men, Jackson’s late treble wiped out 2023- 24’s last remaining unbeaten record. Only four players who started for Spurs – Guglielmo Vicario, Pedro Porro, Yves Bissouma and Son – finished the game, the joint-fewest from any starting lineup in Premier League history.
And when it rains, it pours. As well as seeing Romero suspended for three games and Udogie for one, Spurs lost Micky van de Ven to what Postecoglou described as a “significant” hamstring injury, while James Maddison must be assessed after being substituted with a knock to his ankle.
Emerson Royal, Eric Dier and Ben Davies – if he recovers from a knock of his own – could all feature in a makeshift back four on Saturday, but replacing Maddison’s creative output will be a challenge if the England international misses out.
Only Kieran Trippier (32) has created more chances than Maddison (31) in the Premier League this season, while only Trippier (3.77), Bruno Fernandes (3.5) and Bryan Mbeumo (3.22) have amassed more expected assists (xA) than his 3.2.
Postecoglou, then, has plenty to ponder as Tottenham pray to avoid back-to-back defeats. The Spurs boss has not suffered consecutive league losses since he was in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, losing three straight matches in the J1 League between November 2020 and February 2021.
Wolves are also looking to bounce back from a frustrating defeat after losing 2-1 to previously winless Sheffield United last week. Manager Gary O’Neil was left to rue the impact of another contentious decision as Oliver Norwood scored the winner from the penalty spot 10 minutes into stoppage time after Fábio Silva was harshly judged to have fouled George Baldock.
Though O’Neil’s men dominated for long spells, they lacked ruthlessness with Pedro Neto sidelined by a hamstring injury. The winger – who will also miss Saturday’s game – remains the Premier League’s leading assist-maker this season with seven, while only Manchester City’s Jérémy Doku (four) boasts more assists following carries than his three.
Just as Postecoglou may have to replace Maddison, O’Neil must find a way to get Wolves purring without their main creator. Matheus Cunha leads all Premier League players for successful dribbles this season (29) and is sure to provide a threat on the break, while Jean-Ricner Bellegarde could replace Sasa Kalajdzic after scoring his first Premier League goal from the bench at Bramall Lane.
Hwang Hee-chan will also have a key role to play, having already recorded eight Premier League goal involvements this season (six goals, two assists) – his best return in a single campaign. The South Korean teed up Bellegarde’s goal last week, meaning he has either scored or assisted in his last five Premier League matches. Only Henri Camara has ever enjoyed a longer run for Wolves in the competition, contributing to a goal on seven successive outings between March and May 2004.
Besides Neto’s injury, O’Neil has no injury dilemmas about his first-team regulars, with youngsters Joe Hodge and Hugo Bueno the hosts’ only other absentees.
Wolves vs Tottenham Head to Head
This fixture tends to be one for the traveling fans, with half of the 18 all-time Premier League meetings between Wolves and Tottenham being won by the away side (nine).
Of all Premier League matchups to take place as often as this one, only Leicester City versus Manchester City features a higher win rate for the visiting team (54%).
Wolves, though, have two wins in their last three Premier League meetings with Spurs (L1), as many as they managed in their first 11 against them in the competition.
Adama Traoré’s late volley guided Julen Lopetegui’s team to a 1-0 win when the clubs last met at Molineux in March, with Cristian Stellini taking charge of Spurs as Antonio Conte recovered from gall bladder surgery.
However, Wolves have not won back-to-back league games against Tottenham since doing the double over them under Mick McCarthy in the 2009-10 season. At Molineux, Wolves have not registered consecutive victories against Spurs since December 1968.
Though Tottenham suffered their first Premier League defeat under Postecoglou this week, they are unbeaten in seven away games in the competition (W5 D2), a run that dates back to last season.
Having beaten Luton Town and Crystal Palace on their travels since September’s north London derby draw with Arsenal, Spurs could win three in a row on the road for the first time since November 2020, when they posted four successive away league wins.
Wolves, meanwhile, have only won one of their last six home matches in the Premier League (D3 L2), although that victory was a notable one as they inflicted Man City’s first Premier League defeat of 2023-24 in September.
Since that triumph, Wolves have managed creditable draws against European hopefuls Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Molineux.
O’Neil has also succeeded in making Wolves more watchable after they scored a league-low 31 goals last term, with Saturday’s hosts netting on 10 successive Premier League outings since their Matchday 1 defeat to Manchester United.
However, they have only kept one clean sheet in their last 14 league games, in August’s 1-0 win at Everton. Both teams have scored in each of Wolves’ last eight league matches, so Saturday’s contest could be one for the neutrals.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Wolves vs Tottenham Prediction
Despite their long list of absentees, Tottenham are favorites to return to winning ways on Saturday. They won 44.2% of the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 pre-match simulations, and three points would see them return to the top of the Premier League table ahead of Man City’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
Wolves are given a 27.4% chance of causing another Molineux upset, while 28.4% of our simulations finished level.
Tottenham’s first defeat of 2023-24 saw their title hopes drop to 0.6%, according to the supercomputer’s season projections, with City (87.5%) overwhelming favorites ahead of Liverpool (7.9%) and Arsenal (3.4%).
Wolves, meanwhile, are assigned just a 2.5% chance of relegation despite their defeat to Sheffield United, who are one of six teams deemed more likely to suffer the drop.
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