Talking Points | Wolves vs Crystal Palace

Looking for their first win in three after a pair of games in the capital, Wolves return to Molineux on Saturday afternoon as they face Crystal Palace. Here are some of the talking points and ahead of the 3pm kick-off.

#1 Coming in with differing form

Just 10 days ago, Wolves were in buoyant form having picked up three points at home to Leicester City the last time they stepped out on the Molineux pitch, as part of a run of just one Premier League defeat in their previous eight outings, before falling to successive losses last week. Bruno Lage’s men have struggled against teams from London in recent weeks, with those three defeats coming twice against Arsenal and once versus West Ham.

If that doesn’t give Crystal Palace a spring in their step, then maybe the fact they come into the match off the back of securing their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, thanks to a midweek victory over Stoke City, might just be the tonic they need. That is because Palace have won just one of their past eight Premier League games, but that win came just last week, as Patrick Vieira’s men overcame Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road. However, fortune might be on the side of the hosts, as the Eagles haven’t won consecutive league games on the road since June 2020.

#2 Using Palace as a springboard

Wolves fell to a 2-0 loss against Crystal Palace last time the sides met, with Lage’s men being outnumbered and outplayed that day, but the head coach called for his players to learn from that defeat, and it appeared to be a springboard to put the team where they are currently in the table. Positive performances against West Ham, Liverpool and Man City followed, as well as a run of six wins in eight matches.

That match on 6th November was coincidentally the last time Crystal Palace won a Premier League game against a team above them in the table since, and having not lost more than twice in a row in the top-flight since the opening weeks of the season, it would not come as a surprise if Wolves were to use Palace as a springboard to getting back on track with just a dozen games of the campaign remaining.

#3 Molineux provides home comforts

Despite losing their past two league games against Palace, both of Wolves’ defeats happened to come away from Molineux, and if the Eagles were to taste success again on Saturday, it would be the first time in history that the side from south London have won three in a row against Wolves. However, Wolves’ form against Palace at home has been a positive one, with the visitors losing their last three trips to Molineux and failing to score in those three defeats. With Wolves shipping just twice in the opening 45 minutes in their past 19 league games, it would be unwise to put a bet on a first-half goal on Saturday.

Molineux may also be lifted by the return of several players who are back off the treatment table. Pedro Neto came off the bench with 10 minutes remaining against Leicester last time at home, before a [air of 15-minute cameo appearances at the Emirates and London Stadium, and the forward might be an option from the start for Lage, as is the conundrum of who starts at right wing-back. Ki-Jana Hoever came in for the injured Nelson Semedo last weekend, but with Jonny having got half an hour under his belt at Arsenal, it could be a toss-up between the two for the starting birth.

#4 Aiming to avoid the league double

Another unwanted record Wolves are trying to avoid this weekend is suffering a losing league double against Palace. The visitors are looking to complete a league double over Wolves for just the third time in their history, in what is the 30th different campaign in which the two sides have met. The Eagles have never previously achieved this feat in the top-flight with both doubles having come in the second tier, in 1995/96 and 2012/13.

Although Wolves are likely to be without Semedo, Vieira has a couple of injury worries within his squad, with Joel Ward remaining a doubt for Palace, who are against without Nathan Ferguson. One change that the Palace boss might make from the side which drew 1-1 with Burnley in the top-flight last weekend could be the introduction of midfielder Jairo Riedewald. The Dutchman has only made a combined 117 minutes in the Premier League this season, but he was on the scoresheet on Tuesday night in the FA Cup, notching the winning goal in the 82nd minute as Palace made hard work of the Potters, before eventually booking their place in the last eight.