On Saturday evening, Wolverhampton Wanderers will visit Southampton while still looking for their maiden Premier League win of the campaign. The Saints are currently in mid-table after recent victories over Leicester City and Chelsea, while the host team is currently in the bottom three.
Wolves faithful would have been doubtful about their club scoring on the South coast even if Bournemouth had given up nine goals to Liverpool and without permanent management. They were finally proven correct when a scoreless draw among two out-of-form teams resulted from a combination of numerous squandered opportunities and an inability to turn dominance into a victory.
With the draw, Bournemouth may have been thrilled, but Wolves would have seen it as a loss of two points since they haven’t won in five Premier League games this year.
Bruno Lage may not receive the patience he has asked for Wolves to progress in the final third as only two goals have been struck, one of them coming within the initial six minutes of the new season.
Wolves have now lost their previous 12 games in the Premier League, and their encounter against the Saints comes before a doubleheader involving Liverpool and Manchester City.
Southampton fans have been genuinely delighted by the improvement in their club’s affairs in recent months, in stark contradiction to the unfavourable atmosphere at Molineux.
Although Southampton’s talents have flourished in the first few weeks to assist the club reach seven points out of a possible 15, Ralph Hasenhuttl has chosen youth over experience in the transfer window. The Saints have defeated Leicester and Chelsea, both from losing situations, either side of a valiant loss at home to Manchester United.
Hasenhuttl will accept that the groundwork has been set for a season away from the relegation zone, but the Austrian will not get overly optimistic. He will also believe that Southampton enters this match at the ideal time to make up for dropping both of their matches to Wolves in 2021–22.
When & Where?
Venue: The Molineux.
Date: Saturday, 3rd September 2022.
Time: 15:00 BST.
Referee: John Brooks.
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry, Matthew Wilkes.
Fourth Official: Steve Martin.
VAR Official: Tony Harrington.
Sasa Kalajdzic is anticipated to play for the Wolves, perhaps as a substitution, if he is granted a work permit and visa.
Although Rayan Ait-Nouri and Daniel Podence are vying for a spot in the starting lineup after Lage named two consecutively unaltered starting lineups, he may decide to shake things up.
While Jonny and Pedro Neto will also be taken into account, Nelson Semedo and Goncalo Guedes could be the individuals that are removed from the roster.
For the visitors, Romeo Lavia, who suffered an injury against Chelsea, will miss several weeks of action and will necessitate at least one change for Southampton.
The rest of the lineup should remain the same, with Ibrahima Diallo moving into a more holding midfield position and Joe Aribo being called up in his position.
It should be a good tactical battle between these two teams Lage’s resilient defence will take on Hasenhuttl’s potent offence. Wolves will set up in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 setup with Lage yet to find a starting XI which strikes a balance between attack and defence. They are still dealing with the same problems from last season, though. Even though their defence is among the most dependable in Europe, they have scoring troubles.
Ralph Hasenhuttl on the hand, has switched to a hybrid 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 system this season instead of the 4-2-2-2/3-5-2 that he used to deploy in his earlier seasons. In place of short-pass buildup, his squad has actively started counter-pressing and relies on long, high-quality passes. Their full-backs push up high in an effort to gain an offensive numerical advantage.
As a result, significant spaces may be left on the counter, which Wolves may use to their advantage. Hasenhuttl and his men are taking a big risk with such a high line, and Wolves can reap the benefits of the holes left behind.
Wolves: Ruben Neves
Neves is arguably the most essential player for Wolves. The best qualities of Ruben Neves, including long shots, rotating the play, and marking, will be crucial if the Wolves are to win this game. Neves will have to be at the best of his abilities to stop the ball from getting to the Saints’ frontline in the offensive midfield zones and contain them before they make a piercing pass. This game clearly feels like one to be won in the midfield.
His long-shot ability could come in handy as the Saints keeper, Gavin Bazunu likes to come off his line a lot and could be caught off guard with one of Neves’ trademark shots.
Additionally, he will need to team up with Pedro Neto and Goncalo Guedes and pass long balls to them as the Portuguese players will try to close the gap between them and the wingbacks. As soon as Neves regains possession for his team, he frequently plays this ball in an effort to start a Wolves counterattack.
Southampton: James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse, the captain of Saints, has improved significantly under manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, taking on a new role that perfectly encapsulates the Austrian’s fast-paced brand of football. He has developed his defensive acumen to the point where he can play in central midfield as one of a two-man hold. With his ability to attack, defend, and create, he is an improved all-around midfielder.
When he has the ball, Ward-Prowse is most comfortable searching deep for it and is nimble with his passes. He typically looks for a quick, simple pass forward to players in behind or finds an attacking midfielder to play to between the lines.
Wolves (4-3-3): Sa; Jonny; Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri; Nunes, Neves, Moutinho; Podence, Jimenez, Neto.
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Salisu, Perraud; Ward-Prowse, Diallo; Elyounoussi, Aribo, Armstrong; Adams.