Premier League Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers V Leeds United

Friday night football sees Leeds visit Molineux to face Wolves. Last time out Wolves came from a goal behind to beat Southampton 2-1. A Ruben Neves penalty and a Pedro Neto goal giving the visitor’s the win. Leeds last game found themselves three goals down at half time in their last match at Arsenal. They went four behind shortly after half time but did manage to pull two goals back – Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa scoring.

Just two points separate the sides in the table with Leeds in 11th and Wolves in 12th. Leeds do have a game in hand and could be five points clear of their opponents with a win.

Recent Meetings

Leeds have the edge on overall meetings with 42 wins to Wolves 34. Recent fixtures between the side however have gone with Wolves. Wolves have won the last four games. Leeds last victory against Wolves came in a Championship game in 2016, Kermar Roofe getting the only goal.

Team News

For Wolves Will Boly and Daniel Podence will both miss out. They have both started some rehabilitation training. Raul Jimenez has also begun training however mostly individual sessions.

Leeds have serval players out for this game, Ian Poveda, Adam Forshaw, Robin Koch and Gaetano Berardi are all out. Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa has also ruled out Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo. However there is good news for Leeds fans as Mateusz Klich and Diego Llorente will be available.

Managers Thoughts

Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo spoke about the need to improve and the unique style of Leeds:

“We are always trying to improve, trying to reach our best performances by playing good and being consistent, and working hard to achieve that. We are lacking a lot of things that we are trying to search for in games.

“We’ve been able to improve some aspects of our defensive organisation, but not yet the full perfection. There’s still a lot of mistakes that we make in games that we want to try to avoid.

“We cannot say when we’re going to reach our best because there’s never that best, always new things, things to improve, things that went bad and not so good, so our approach basically is improving match after match. That way will lead us to the higher standards we want to achieve.

“In the game at Southampton all the team, if you regard the work the boys did, was fantastic. It’s very difficult to play against Southampton, always very tight games, and the boys gave a good answer, especially in the second-half.

“The way all the team engaged in the pressing and recovery of the ball was very good, so I was pleased with the full attitude of the team.

“Special and unique the way they approach the game. We’ve been able to see they have a fantastic squad and a special manager, Marcelo Bielsa is undoubtedly one of the greatest managers, and what we realise is they are very competitive – it will require the best of us.

“The tactical approach they have, man to man all over the pitch, it’s unique in the Premier League. It’s very difficult for all the opponents because, apart from what they do that is unique, they have talent and fitness. Besides that, a very talented squad.”

Leeds Head coach Marcelo Bielsa understands that his side are in for tough game on Friday:

“They’re a team who can play in different tactical schemes,

“When they need to make changes they can bring on a substitute which doesn’t alter the quality of the team. 

“They have wingers who are very good and it’s not easy to find good wingers in football at the moment.  

“They defend well without this preventing them from attacking and when they attack they are always cautious of what they leave behind. 

“Very few times have I seen them completely dominated.”

Key Players

For Wolves Pedro Neto with five goals and four assists is Wolves highest rated player according to whoscored.com. Nuno Espirito Santo praised the commitment and effort of the 20 year old:

“I’m very pleased [with Neto] because he’s always committed to the training sessions, committed to the games, committed to the process of learning and improving. His dedication makes me very pleased.”

For Leeds Patrick Bamford’s form has been a key to their good position since gaining promotion last season. Bamford has 12 goals so far and more often than not when he scores Leeds win. He has also got five assists and has a whoscored.com rating of 7.15.

Prediction: Wolves 1 – 2 Leeds

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