Wolves have found their feet on home soil, and Kevin Hatchard believes they'll overcome relegation-zone dwellers Burnley.
"Wolves have won three in a row at home, and Burnley are without key players Ashley Westwood and James Tarkowski."
Wolves rewarded for keeping the faith
Even though Wolves started the Premier League season with three straight defeats under new coach Bruno Lage, without a single goal scored, it was immediately clear what the former Benfica boss was trying to do. He wanted his players to be proactive in attack, without losing structure at the other end. While no-one should ever try to detract from what his predecessor and compatriot Nuno Espirito Santo achieved at Molineux, this was clearly a more exciting style.
Wolves fans were patient, and so were the club, and the West Midlands outfit go into this set of midweek fixtures in the top six, having lost just two of the last ten league games. They have kept four clean sheets in that spell, and they are on a roll at Molineux, having won the last three. Although the weekend's goalless draw at Norwich City was a disappointment (WWFC put up an Expected Goals For figure of just 0.36 according to Infogol), the general direction of travel is positive. With just 12 goals conceded, Wolves have the best defensive record outside the top three after 13 matchdays.
Star striker Raul Jimenez understandably took a while to rediscover his most dangerous goalscoring form, after suffering a such a serious head injury, but the Mexican has scored in Wolves' last two league games at Molineux. Hwang Hee-Chan has surprisingly hit the ground running after an awful COVID-hit spell at RB Leipzig, and is the club's top scorer in the league with four goals from just 10 appearances.
Ruben Neves is suspended after picking up five yellow cards, and he may well be replaced by Leander Dendoncker. Daniel Podence has tested positive for COVID-19, and misses out.
Burnley keen to maintain their improvement
Sean Dyche stood in his crisp white shirt with his arms folded, daring the snow and wind to try to make him put on an extra layer. Although the wintry weather couldn't defeat him at Turf Moor on Sunday, it did prevent Burnley from taking on Tottenham, so the Clarets have had an extended rest ahead of his trip to Wolverhampton.
Burnley are in the Premier League dropzone, with just one win in 12 games so far in the top flight this term. That said, they are currently enjoying a four-match unbeaten run in the league, with three draws and a 3-1 win over Brentford in that sequence. On the road, they have drawn three of the last four, but you have to go back to mid-May for their last top-flight win away from home.
Unusually for Burnley, they have leaked 20 goals already in the league, and their only clean sheet was against rock-bottom Norwich City.
Burnley's cause is hampered by suspensions for regular starters Ashley Westwood and James Tarkowski, and despite Dyche's protestations that his squad can cope, those absences are a blow. Ashley Barnes is still sidelined, so Chris Wood will spearhead the attack.
Wolves win is an attractive option
Wolves are trading a touch shy of evens at 1.9520/21 in the Match Odds market, and I think that's fair enough. They were outstanding in beating a very good West Ham side 1-0 in their last home game, and they have won three on the spin at home. Burnley are missing two very important players, and despite their recent improvement, I think they'll be edged out here.
If you want a bigger price, you could back Wolves to win and Under 3.5 Goals on the Sportsbook at 7/5. Five of Wolves' six PL wins this term have featured fewer than four goals.
Jimenez to enjoy home comforts again?
Jimenez has scored in his last two home games, and is trading at evens on the Sportsbook to score at any time. He is certainly heavily involved in the Wolves attack, having had at least two shots in four of his last five matches.
On the Burnley side of things, it's worth examining Maxwel Cornet in the Shots On Target market. The former Lyon player has averaged 1.61 shots on target per 90 in his short Premier League career, and only Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has a higher figure in the entire league. Cornet is priced at 13/5 to have two shots or more on target, and 10/3 to score at any time.
2021-22 Kevin Hatchard Premier League P/L
Points Staked: 17
Points Returned: 20.03
P/L: +3.03 points
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