Tag Archives: Adama Traore

Wolves vs Bournemouth: Match Preview

Bournemouth travel to Molineux on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, which leaves them marred in the relegation scrap. The home side enjoyed a much more successful return to the campaign, brushing aside West Ham United 2-0 at the London Stadium.

Eddie Howe’s side have been inconsistent this season and have struggled for goals with injuries keeping out key players such as David Brooks, and Callum Wilson and with Ryan Fraser not wanting to play due to contract issues.

Wolves on the other hand have enjoyed another stellar season and are pushing for the Champions League places. Favourable results have put them right into contention and against an underperforming Bournemouth side it would be difficult to see them drop points. Subsequently, both sides are desperate to compete in their own battles, so, this could provide an entertaining contest.

Team News

Wolves come into this game with no injury issues to worry about. Despite having such a small squad they seem to have coped magnificently with the commitments they’ve had this season and the enforced break has given them time to relax and recover. Adama Traore was brought off the bench in the last game to great effect and you wonder whether that strong performance will warrant him a place in the starting 11. Pedro Neto also proved to be a productive substitute with that stunning volley he scored last time out.

Nuno Espirito Santo stated after the West Ham game:

“In the first half, we were organised. We didn’t finish too many actions but we kept West Ham – a good team with good players – away from our goal.

“In the second half, we started and introduced some speed. We were more accurate and were able to create more danger.”

You would expect the back three to remain the same having put in a solid display and depending on whether Nuno goes with the 3-4-3, the midfield could see Leander Dendoncker drop out. Daniel Podence was an unused substitute and so he could get some game time as Wolves look to rotate and utilise their squad in this packed schedule.

Bournemouth are of course without their star winger Fraser after Howe announced last Friday that he wouldn’t take part in any of their remaining games due to his ongoing contract issues. Brooks has of course made a welcome return to the squad after a long time out with an ACL injury and he will be crucial in the Cherries’ survival bid.

However, defensive issues have plagued Bournemouth for some time now, and despite them having key men fit like Nathan Ake and Steve Cook, they still seem to struggle keeping a compact shape.

Howe also seem displeased with his team’s performance last time out as he stated:

“We know now we have one game less to achieve our objective.

“The table is still so tight, the difference is so tight and we could look at back-to-back wins as being the difference for us. We have to believe that is going to happen but we have to play better than we did in the first half an hour in this game.”

You could expect him to make some changes and potentially match Wolves with a back five.  Due to the amount of pace and creative flair Wolves possess, particularly on the counter attack, you would think Bournemouth would need to utilise a lower defensive block. This change could enforce Howe into switching around his defence.

Score Prediction: Wolves 2-0 Bournemouth

The form of both these sides makes it tough to look past Wolves and with their attacking players starting well with the return. I could see them closing out another 2-0 victory.

What have we learnt since the Premier League resumption?

After the return of Premiership football to our screens, have we really learnt much about the League since the resumption?

Well, the wait has certainly been worth it some pundits have said but has it really been worth the build-up of over 100 days?

What we have learned already is that Liverpool are a step closer to their title dream. We are all having to get used to the sight of very few people inside stadiums. VAR certainly won’t go away and even technology has the odd blip, which leads to more controversy up and down the land.

As we are all getting used to viewing football as we have never seen before. One good talking point has been welcomed around the country. The sight of both sets of players, officials and team personal taking the knee in solidarity together. Such a welcome sight and fully applauded. It’s is so good to see the Premier League sending out a message to the rest of the footballing and sporting world that Black Lifes Matter.

Aside from Liverpool edging towards lifting the title, on just the first day back since the resumption, controversy reared its ugly head once again when Sheffield United were denied a certain goal when technology failed. Admittedly it’s the first time this has unfortunately happened for over 9,000 times the system has been in place. What a time for this to happen, as the Premiership was taking centre stage.

One has to feel sorry for Michael Oliver- England’s top referee- as he was trying to explaining to surrounding players that his watch didn’t make a noise to indicate that the ball had crossed the line. Not his fault but wouldn’t it have been more sensible that somebody in the truck watching pictures of the match would have seen that clearly the ball was over the line? That person in the VAR room could then have communicated with Oliver to say to him to check the monitor at the ground and make his own mind up about the decision. If he was allowed to do this, then make no mistakes Sheffield Utd would have been awarded the goal.

We also learnt since the resumption that Arsenal players are certainly struggling with fitness levels, having already seen a handful of players taken off through picking up injuries. Clearly the three-month break has affected them, which is a big concern of their fitness levels. Yes, every team has looked leggy at times which is understandable due to not playing competitive football for over three months but for some sides including Arsenal it begs the question, what instructions were the players given to do for training during lockdown and resuming back into training? Something definitely isn’t right there.

However, nothing has changed with the Gunners defence, which still looks as fragile as before the enforced break. Arsenal need leaders, now they haven’t got any. Oh, for the leadership chiefs such as Tony Adams and Martin Keown- who must be shaking their heads every time they watch Arsenal play- who must begin to wonder will this problem ever be rectified.

We also learn in the past few days how good a player Bruno Fernandes is and the return of a hungry Paul Pogba. I didn’t think I would ever be saying that for a long time.

Despite appearing to not be worrying about a haircut- Yes Roy there are mobile hairdressers around who will be queuing up to cut your hair- Hodgson is building a very dogged and tenacious side in Crystal Palace. Looking a very well-oiled unit, especially at the back, having not conceded a goal in almost six hours of football. Palace could be outsiders to possibly sneak into a Europa League spot come the end of the campaign.

The two W’s after the restart, Wolves and West Ham appear to be going in different directions. The Hammers are in a relegation dogfight, while Wolves are flying thanks to the brilliant duo of Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez – 23 goals this season and counting.

Another interesting point would be that since the resumption the sides struggling at the bottom of the table have really struggled since the restart. A fact that could be put down to playing home games with no crowd behind them to raise morale. However, you would have felt that with eight games to go, crowd or no crowd wouldn’t need to lift players, who know they have a massive battle on their hands to stay up.

To finish, although in most games playing with no fans present it is no material advantage to both sides, over the weekend in both Premiership and Championship games there were only five home wins out of 22 games played. When it comes to a derby match, it clearly will benefit both teams to have fans in the stadium. Take the weekend’s Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool. A game that was played with no passion and at times looked similar to a practice game. A lukewarm encounter which hardly got going. Not much commitment from both sides aside from a couple of late chances. This game desperately needed a full house at Goodison Park, which I’m sure would have given the game more of a feisty contest that normally happens in derby matches.

We must, however, remember that for the foreseeable future this is the way that football will be for a while. We will get used to it, with fan noise or not, carboard cut outs or not and drink breaks, which so far are amounting to a managers team talk on the pitch.

It is either this or nothing. I know what alternative I would rather have. Even if it means watching Mike Dean with that amazing grey beard and listening to Roy Keane bemoaning about Manchester United’s crop of current players. Welcome back Premiership, we really have missed you!