Two founding members of the Football League face each other on Wednesday night, as Wolves host Burnley in the Premier League.
Bruno Lage has gone somewhat under the radar since arriving at Molineux this summer. Following a rough start to his tenure, the Portuguese has quietly lifted his side up the table with six wins and two draws in their previous ten Premier League outings. Wolves are enduring a slight bumpy patch, having lost to Crystal Palace, beaten West Ham and most recently drawn with Norwich in their last three fixtures, although still occupy sixth place.
Burnley still languish in the relegation zone, although have experienced an upturn in form since starting the campaign in woeful fashion. Before seeing their last fixture against Tottenham postponed due to snow, the Clarets had only been beaten by Manchester City in seven league games – although had drawn five of the other six. Sean Dyche’s men sit 18th, three points adrift of safety with a game in hand.
Here’s 90min’s preview of this clash.
When is kick off? Wednesday 1 December, 19:30 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
What TV channel is it on? Amazon Prime Video (UK), fuboTV (US)
Highlights? Sky Sports Football YouTube channel
Who’s the referee? John Brooks
Who’s the VAR? Stuart Attwell
Lage faces a couple of headaches regarding team selection for this one. Ruben Neves will be forced to miss out due to a one-match suspension, while Daniel Podence will also be out of contention due to Covid.
Dyche also has a couple of suspended players to make do without. James Tarkowski will miss out, meaning a likely start for Nathan Collins at the heart of defence.
Meanwhile, Ashley Westwood also faces a one-match ban, most probably opening the door to Jack Cork in the Clarets’ midfield.
Wolves: Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri; Trincao, Jimenez, Hwang.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Collins, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Brownhill, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Cornet.
For two such historically significant football clubs, they’ve spent long periods without meeting each other since the Football League’s formation in 1888. In 135 encounters, Wolves have had more joy with 60 victories while Burnley have won just 40 (29 draws).
The Midlands outfit experienced a huge period of domination in the fixture from 1970 until 2002, winning 21 and losing just two of the two club’s 27 meetings throughout that time.
Recent years, however, have favoured Burnley. Since 2012 there have been ten meetings between the sides, of which the Clarets have been triumphant in five while losing just once. Dyche’s men are currently on a two-match winning run against Wolves, most recently thrashing them 4-0 at Molineux with the help of a Chris Wood hat-trick back in April – as seen above.
Burnley may have the more readable record in the fixture heading into Wednesday’s clash, but Wolves have certainly been the stronger side throughout the 2021/22 campaign so far.
Lage’s Wolves seem to have finally settled and are earning the results that their performances have warranted since the new boss took over. Quality has quietly shone through and, having discovered a more clinical edge to obtain said results, the club is in a very encouraging situation approaching the halfway point in the season.
Burnley, on the other hand, haven’t shone – the large majority of this campaign’s early stages have been dull, to say the least. Finally starting to show their trademark solidity and having picked up some form, however, it looks as though the Clarets will have enough in the tank to retain Premier League status for yet another season come May.
This Wednesday, however, it’s likely that Wolves will just have too much for them.
Prediction Wolves 1-0 Burnley