When Wolverhampton Wanderers host Leicester City at Molineux on Sunday evening, they will be hoping to maintain their campaign for a place in the Premier League’s top four.
The hosts are, presently seventh in the table, six points below fourth-placed Manchester United with two games remaining, while Leicester are 11th in the rankings, ten points behind their hosts in this match.
Wolves aren’t being cited much as a top-four contender, with Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham United, and Tottenham Hotspur all vying for a Champions League spot.
Bruno Lage’s side, on the other hand, are in a solid position in the table, sitting seventh with 37 points, just six points behind fourth-placed Manchester United with two games remaining, and they seem to be rediscovering their best form at a key point in the season.
Wolves were defeated by Arsenal at home on February 10, although that was their only setback in the Premier League since December 11, when they won five of their last seven games, including four of their last five, defeating Manchester United, Southampton, Brentford, and Tottenham.
Lage’s team dominated Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, winning 2-0 in North London thanks to goals from Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker, and they will now be looking for their 12th win of the 2021-22 Premier League season.
Wolves, on the other hand, have been far better on the road this season, with only the 15th-best home record in the Premier League and only eight league goals at Molineux this season.
Leicester were anticipated to compete for a top-four spot this season, but that has not been the case, with the Foxes suffering for steadiness for much of the season, and they are presently in 11th place.
The Foxes have won seven, drawn six, and lost nine of their 22 league games for a total of 27 points, putting them 16 points outside of the top four and 10 points below their opponents in this match.
Brendan Rodgers’ side came agonizingly close to bringing up a morale-boosting three points against West Ham at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, but Craig Dawson squared the scores in the last minute, and the points were split in a 2-2 draw.
Leicester haven’t won in the league since beating Liverpool on December 28, taking up just two points from their last four games against Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool, and West Ham United.
The Foxes, on the other hand, will come into this match on the back of a win, having defeated Randers 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa Conference League knockout round playoff match on Thursday.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: The Molineux.
Date: Sunday, 20th of February 2022.
Time: Kick-off at 16:30 BST.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett, Ian Hussin.
Video Assistant Referee: Stuart Attwell.
Fourth Official: Andy Madley.
During his pre-match media briefing, Wolves boss Lage stated that his squad is totally fit, with long-term absentee Pedro Neto in line to feature, as well as Joao Moutinho, who has returned from injury.
Moutinho is anticipated to return to central midfield with Ruben Neves and Dendoncker, while Jimenez might be accompanied at centre-forward by Daniel Podence, though Hwang Hee-chan is also competing for a starting spot.
With Trincao and Fabio Silva also available, head coach Lage has ample of alternatives in the final third, but there aren’t going to be any shocks at the back, with the outstanding Max Kilman lining up with Conor Coady and Romain Saiss in a back three.
Leicester’s James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu were both forced to make way during Thursday’s European match, and they are unlikely to be fit for this match.
As a consequence, Jannik Vestergaard could play in the centre of the defence beside Daniel Amartey, with Ricardo Pereira and Luke Thomas returning to the full-back positions.
Timothy Castagne, Wesley Fofana, James Justin, Ryan Bertrand, Jamie Vardy, and Jonny Evans are all on the injured list for the Foxes.
A major win for the Foxes or another simple three points for Wolves?
The Foxes have endured several injury problems since the tough Christmas schedule, and this has directly affected their performances in the league. Their recent run of form has been four winless games with their last win coming on the 29th of December against Liverpool. They can fancy a well-fought win due to Wolves’ inconsistent home form, however, it does seem difficult.
Wolves are on a more than decent run of form in the league and can still be considered major contenders for the top four at the moment. Bruno Lage has brought with him a kind of stability that has never been seen before at least at the Molineux. Wolves, at the moment, have adequate numbers upfront but excellent numbers at the back. They have conceded the joint-least goals in the league (17) alongside champions Manchester City. This game seems like another win for Lage’s side even though if we consider their unpredictable home form and this weakened Foxes side seems no match for the Wolverhampton outfit.
WOLVES – MAX KILMAN:
The 24-year-old is credited with playing a key role in Wolverhampton’s defensive grit and tightness this season. Kilman has excelled in his role as a wide centre-back for Wolves this season, assisting in the team’s defensive record of just 17 goals conceded in the league.
Kilman will play an important role in this fixture as he will be asked to keep an in-form Patson Daka silent considering the Zambian’s pace and clinicality. He has gradually become a mainstay in this Wolves defence and definitely seems like a player who could make a major move to a traditional ‘big six’ club in the future if he continues to perform this well.
LEICESTER CITY – PATSON DAKA:
Leicester City have suffered majorly due to the injury of many of their first-team players, also including their star man, Jamie Vardy. While the striker’s unavailability was a big setback, many, including Brendan Rodgers, hoped that the players would rise to the occasion and prove themselves. However, it has been the polar opposite. They haven’t looked like a real hazard going forward since Vardy’s injury.
Patson Daka, however, has been somewhat of a different case. The Zambian has scored two goals in four Premier League games since the veteran striker’s injury. His pace and run-ins behind defenders have been a constant threat, and it could prove to be Wolves’ downfall this weekend.
Wolves (3-4-3): Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Ait-Nouri; Jimenez, Podence.
Leicester City (4-2-3-1):Schmeichel; Pereira, Amartey, Vestergaard, Thomas; Tielemans, Ndidi; Lookman, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Daka.