It’s matchday 37 in the Premier League which will see the 20 teams play their penultimate fixtures with only 2 more weeks left before the season comes to a close. Wolves host Norwich City at the Molineux with both the teams having sealed their fate already for next season. The Canaries will be going down to the Championship next season while Wolverhampton Wanderers will play in Europe if they win their remaining two fixtures.
It has been a turbulent year at Carrow Road with Dean Smith being appointed as the manager in November after Daniel Farke was shown the door by the club hierarchy due to a string of losses. Wolves meanwhile have had a decent season with the club on the verge of playing Conference League or the Europa League (if West Ham loses the remaining games and Wolves win their 2 games).
Let’s take a look at how both the teams will fare for the game at Molineux.
When and Where?
Date: 15th May, Sunday.
Venue: Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton.
Referee: Tony Harrington.
Assistants: Marc Perry, Derek Eaton.
Fourth official: Jonathan Moss.
VAR: Lee Mason.
Assistant VAR: Wade Smith.
Wolves will be without 2 players for the clash against Norwich with Max Kilman and Nelson Semedo out injured. Daniel Podence is a doubt for the game after the winger is recovering from the toe injury he picked up in the first week of April. The Portugese is back in training but still has some “restrictions” which has prevented the player from being back into the first team. Romain Saiss picked up a knock in his side’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea and remains a doubt for Bruno Lage.
Norwich City missed 6 first team players in the trip to Leicester last time out with Christoph Zimmermann, Adam Idah, Andrew Omobamidele, Kenny McLean, Josh Sargent and Ozan Kabak injured. There seems to be no news of any injury return which means Dean Smith will be without the same group of players for the game against Wolves.
Wolves will have to go all out on Sunday afternoon to secure their European spot for next season while the Canaries will be playing for pride. Bruno Lage suffered a 5-1 drubbing last time out to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City which saw Kevin De Bruyne score a quadruple of goals. Wolves have been solid defensively this season with only 39 goals conceded but their attack has looked toothless this season. The injury return of Raul Jimenez after the Mexican’s horrific head injury against Arsenal last season hasn’t been very impressive with the Mexican having 6 goals and 3 assists so far. The Wolves attack will face the worst defensive side in the league with the Canaries conceding 78 goals in their 36 games. This will certainly be a positive for Bruno Lage’s men who can improve their record in front of the goal on Sunday.
Dean Smith’s appointment after the sacking of Daniel Farke at Carrow Road hasn’t gone as planned with no improvement in their results on the pitch. The match at Molineux will mean nothing for the Canaries irrespective of the result they manage to get but winning would certainly be something the Norwich faithful will be hoping for, since their team hasn’t won a game for a month with their last win coming at home to Burnley on 10th April. With their fate in the championship sealed, Smith could try out the academy youngsters to give them their chance in the Premier League with 6 key players missing the game.
The Finnish striker has been a one-man army for Norwich this season with the only player to contribute to 10+ goals in the Premier League. The 32-year-old has been very impressive so far and will look to add to his goal tally against a Wolves defence who conceded 5 goals last time out.
The Portugese goalkeeper has been a revelation to his side with 11 clean sheets in the Premier League in his debut season. Conceding 39 goals in 36 games is quite an achievement and Sa has played a pivotal role in this remarkable feat with the 29-year-old averaging +0.27 PSxG-GA in all competitions. This stat determines the ability of a goalkeeper based on how likely he is to save a shot. The Portugese has a 99 percentile in this department of goalkeeping when compared to all the keepers in the top 5 European leagues making him the best shot stopper in Europe this season. The 8 million euro transfer fee paid by Wolves to bring the goalie from Porto has proved to be one of the best transfer deals this season.
Wolves(3-5-2): Sa, Castro, Coady, Boly, Marcal, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri, Jimenez, Trincao.
Norwich(4-1-4-1): Gunn, Aarons, Byram, Hanley, Williams, Lees-Melou, Rashica, Gilmour, Rupp, Springett, Pukki.