Back-to-back Premier League victories have left spirits high in the Wolves camp as we head into Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth. Here’s five things to look out for at Molineux.
1. HISTORY MAKERS
Supporters could witness a Wolves first on Saturday afternoon as we welcome Bournemouth to the Black Country. With the two previous wins – the come-from-behind victory over Chelsea and the last-minute success at St James’ Park last Sunday – under their belt, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men could become the first ever Wolves side to win three consecutive Premier League matches. Three points against Bournemouth would also be the first time the club has claimed three top flight wins in a row since March 1980, when John Barnwell’s Wanderers took down Aston Villa (3-1 away), Stoke City (3-0 home) and Coventry City (3-1 away).
2. IT’S BEEN A WHILE
There is however one inaugural moment that Saturday’s clash will definitely mark, as the match is the first time Wolves and Bournemouth have ever played each other in the top flight of English football. The clubs have only ever met in the league six times previously – and 11 times overall – with Wolves’ one win from those encounters coming in a 3-1 home victory in the second tier on 30th December 1989. This match is also the club’s most recent competitive triumph versus the Cherries, so will this record give the current Wolves side extra incentive to make further history?
3. JOTA’S STOCK ON THE RISE
Two goals in his previous two games in gold and black has seen Diogo Jota return to the kind of form which the Portuguese under-21 international demonstrated throughout the Championship-winning campaign, helping him to become Wolves’ top scorer last season. A tireless 88-minute stint against Chelsea was followed up by a dynamic performance at Newcastle, where, as well as scoring the opening goal, the forward was instrumental in creating Matt Doherty’s winning finish. If Jota keeps up his goal scoring prowess on Saturday, he could become only the fourth Wolves player to score in at least three consecutive Premier League matches, after Henri Camara, Carl Cort and Steven Fletcher. The 22-year-old is also the kind of player Fantasy Premier League participants might want to pick up after Jota combined for 19 points during matchdays 15 and 16.
4. WILL NUNO CONTINUE TO ROTATE?
Wolves' head coach has many options up his sleeve after he rotated his team against both Chelsea and Newcastle, with many of his Wolf Pack impressing with their performances. Nuno didn’t stick to the old adage of ‘you never change a winning team’ last Sunday, so Saturday’s starting line-up could be another one which is hard to predict for Wolves fans. Romain Saiss has impressed in the midfield, but with the Moroccan, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho all battling for two spots, one of the trio could miss out. Wolves have no new suspension or injury worries heading in to Saturday.
As for the Cherries, they expect to have top scorer Callum Wilson back in contention after the England striker missed their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend due to a hamstring injury. Three players who will be missing for Bournemouth following knee injuries include Dan Gosling, who has had an operation, Adam Smith, who continues his rehabilitation, and Lewis Cook, who is expected to be out for the rest of the season.
5. BOURNEMOUTH’S DIP
Despite just one win in their previous six Premier League outings – although they have played four of the ‘top six’ teams in that time – Bournemouth are still sitting in an impressive eighth place in the table heading into tomorrow afternoon’s clash at Molineux. Their current standing is all due to a terrific opening to the season, which saw Eddie Howe’s side pick up 20 points from their opening 10 league fixtures, and dominant wins, including a 4-0 victory away at Watford and a 3-0 result at Craven Cottage against Fulham, demonstrates their attacking danger. Before the match Ruben Neves spoke about the threat posed by the Cherries.