Two teams just outside the Premier League top 10 meet when Wolverhampton Wanderers host Leeds United at Molineux on Friday (8pm; TV: Live on BT Sport). Seemingly fairly evenly matched, how will it play out? Read on for our WWFC vs LUFC preview and betting tips with match winner odds comparison.
Wolves have finished seventh in each of the two seasons since returning to the top flight in 2018, but they are highly unlikely to replicate that placing this time around. They are 12th, seven points off seventh having played two more games than the current occupants Everton.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have struggled for consistency and on current pace are on course to finish with 10 or so less points than they did last season. They have both scored less and conceded more per match than in either of the last two seasons, while their underlying numbers have also been worse.
Wolves have, at least, been able to string together two wins and a draw in their last three Premier League fixtures after going eight matches without victory through the latter part of December to the end of January. A win over Arsenal and a draw with high-flying Leicester, both at Molineux, were followed by a 2-1 win away to Southampton on Sunday.
They went in behind at the break but found a way back into the match when they were awarded a penalty for a handball early into the second half, duly converted by Ruben Neves. In a match of relatively few shots (17 in total), chances were evenly distributed thereafter. It was Wolves who came away with all three points thanks to Pedro Neto’s neat turn and finish from a tight angle inside the area.
Things are looking a little brighter than they did for Espirito Santo and his side just a couple of weeks ago. With all of their cup runs over and the European places now likely too far away from them, they don’t have a great deal other than pride and prize money to play for during what remains of the campaign.
That is a position that Friday’s opponents Leeds will be relatively happy to occupy in their first top-flight campaign since the 2003-04 season. They came up from the Championship as champions and have been by far the most impressive of the promoted sides. While Fulham and West Bromwich Albion languish in the bottom three, they are on the cusp of the top half.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are a place and two points ahead of their hosts and also have a game in hand on them. They have had some ups and downs over the course of the campaign to date and have been on the end of a few thrashings. Their energetic, attacking approach has both made them one of the most entertaining teams in the EPL and provided the necessary results to alleviate any concerns of a direct return to the second tier.
Matches involving Leeds have featured more goals on average (3.57) than those of any other side. They have the league’s fifth-best scoring record (1.74 goals per match), with 12-goal Patrick Bamford the most obvious beneficiary of the chances they create, and its second-worst defensive record (1.83 goals conceded per match). Their consistent problems keeping central defenders fit may certainly have played a part in that.
Sunday’s 2-4 defeat away to Arsenal was one of those occasions when Leeds were unable to stifle their opponents sufficiently with their intense press. Arsenal were three goals up, one of them a penalty, at the interval. They added a fourth early in the second half and although Leeds did get two back through Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa, a comeback never really looked on.
How will they fare against less expansive opponents? Wolves were 1-0 winners when the sides met at Elland Road back in October, with the now-injured Raul Jimenez scoring the only goal of the match. Leeds created enough to have reasonably taken a point from that fixture and the two sides are likely to be similarly well-matched on Friday.
The first match went Wolves’ way when it could easily have gone in favour of Leeds. There is a solid chance the return fixture will produce a victory for Bielsa and his team. So this is our Wolves vs Leeds betting tip for this preview:
- Back Leeds to win @ best odds 19/10 with the appropriate bookie in the odds able below.
Compare WWFC vs LUFC Betting Odds from Top Bookies