Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur are separated by just a place and a point in the Premier League table. Wolves do the hosting when they meet at Molineux (2pm Sunday).
Wanderers have the slight edge, sitting sixth to Tottenham’s seventh, and come into the fixture on the back of a 11-match unbeaten run in EPL play. They have picked up a bit of steam after failing to win any of their first six matches of the campaign.
The only slight problem is that six of the matches in Wolverhampton’s unbeaten run and a league-high nine of their 16 matches to date have ended in draws. The latest came away to Brighton on Sunday. A back and forth first half yielded two goals apiece, with Diogo Jota notching both of those belonging to Wolves. A much less eventful second half saw no further goals.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side only drew nine matches over the entirety of last season and the most anyone tied was 12. The record number of draws in a 38-game Premier League season is 17. If Wolves continue at their current rate, they would handily beat that figure.
It is perhaps the one drawback of the relatively cautious style of play that has produced such good results since Wolves’ return to the top flight last season. Otherwise, it is hard to fault an approach that provided a seventh-place finish last time around and again finds them in similar realms. Both this season and last, their underlying numbers have looked very solid indeed.
Wolves have already successfully traversed the Europa League group stage, but it will be interesting to see how their squad holds up in the New Year, when the knockout phase gets underway, and the FA Cup, whose semi-final they reached last season, begins. At a fundamental level, though, they look like genuine top-six challengers.
Tottenham, too, are beginning to look a bit more like the top-six side they have been for the last decade now. A difficult start to the season saw them part ways with long-standing head coach Mauricio Pochettino in mid-November. Three wins in four under his replacement Jose Mourinho have lifted them from 14th up to seventh.
Not only that, but the gap to the top four, where Spurs have finished in each of the last four seasons, has also been reduced pretty significantly. They were 11 points off fourth when Pochettino departed. Now they are just six points off that mark with a match against the current occupants Chelsea to come before Christmas.
Last weekend’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley was also a genuinely impressive performance. Spurs were two goals up inside 10 minutes thanks to Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, added a spectacular third when Heung-Min Son drove forward from inside his own half to finish, and then burnished the scoreline with second-half strikes from Kane and Moussa Sissoko.
It is probably wise to add a note of caution. The three teams Spurs have beaten under Mourinho are all currently in the bottom eight and they really struggled to get anything going in defeat away at Manchester United. There are still a number of weak points and structural issues to be resolved, with the right-back slot a particular area of concern.
There have been enough positive signs, including vastly improved underlying numbers, to suggest that the decision to bring in Mourinho will at least stabilise the campaign and provide performances and results more in line with the talent level within the squad.
Wolves had a very good record against the Premier League’s top six last season, including victory away at Spurs. Tottenham were the winners at Molineux, taking a three-goal lead and hanging on through a tense conclusion after Wolves had got a couple of goals back.
This battle between two Portuguese coaches is likely to be a relatively cautious and tactical affair. Mourinho will know that Wolves have sometimes had problems combating teams who sit deep and allow them to come onto them, as their results against some of the league’s lesser teams last season attest, and he certainly has the necessary attacking talent to cause Wolves problems on the counter. A narrow Spurs win looks a good play.
Our Preview’s Wolves vs Tottenham Hotspur Betting Tips Verdict
- Bet on Tottenham Hotspur to win @ 5/4 with Betfair.
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