Leander Dendoncker

'Control, Possession & Tempo Key For Wolves'

The Molineux encounter between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City on Friday has all the ingredients to be an entertaining affair, says The Athletic's Tim Spiers.
More on this story...

- Leicester City tackle Wolves at Molineux in the Premier League on Friday
- The Athletic's Tim Spiers, who follows the West Midlanders, has previewed the clash
- Spiers says Wolves will be keen to get wins on the board quickly after a slow start to 2020
- Live coverage of the match is available from 5pm on Friday, for free on LCFC Radio 

City are the visitors in the West Midlands on Friday for an 8pm kick-off which follows a two-week winter break from Premier League action for each side.

Wolves, meanwhile, are currently sat ninth in the top-flight standings, just six points adrift of the top four, although they have enjoyed just one league victory so far in 2020.

Ahead of what promises to be an intriguing clash between two ambitious sides at Molineux, Spiers, who follows Wolves closely, spoke to LCFC.com about the hosts.

"Two of their recent games have been against Liverpool, but they’ve had a little bit of a stumble since that fantastic win against Manchester City on 27 December," he said.

"They came from 2-0 down to win that 3-2, but they haven’t really kicked on since then, which has been a disappointment because it would have been great to have a buffer in the table.

Expand photo
Romain Saïss
Romain Saïss

Wolves played out a 0-0 draw at Manchester United last time out.

"The Europa League starts again next week so the games are going to start coming thick and fast for them, so it was a bit of a missed opportunity over the last few weeks.

"Wolves had a few disappointing results against Watford in particular, Newcastle as well, and then they went to Manchester United and they got a 0-0 draw but it could have been more.

"They’re certainly capable of going on a run. They did it before Christmas with a long unbeaten run, which including their form picking up in Europe as well, so they can do it.

"This winter break will have really benefitted them, perhaps more than other Premier League teams, because they’ve got the smallest squad in the league.

"There was definitely some signs of fatigue in a few of the players. They’ve been to Marbella and have almost got a fully-fit squad now with only one player injured.

Everybody’s really looking forward to it actually. It’s on a Friday night under the lights at a packed house, so it should be a really entertaining game.

Tim Spiers The Athletic

"They’ll be looking at it now as a case of fighting on two fronts between now and the end of the season, the Premier League and the Europa League."

Opening the scoring will be among Wolves' key priorities at Molineux on Friday night, especially considering it is something they have struggle to achieve over previous weeks, says Spiers.

"Wolves have not scored first in a league match since early December, it’s now nine games in a row where they’ve conceded first, so they have given themselves a mini mountain to climb," he added.

"Nuno [Espírito Santo’s] teams very much like playing when they’re in front. That’s an obvious thing to say, but they’re much better when they’re controlling the game from a goal up.

"Nuno talks a lot of about control, possession and tempo. When they’re chasing a game, they’re not as good a team, although they’ve done well reclaiming points from losing positions.

"There’s a quiet confidence within the club they can at least finish seventh like they did last year which will, of course, possibly be enough to qualify for Europe again."

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Wolves fan at Molineux
Wolves fan at Molineux

Leicester will be greeted by a full house at Molineux on Friday.

Over previous campaigns, both Wolves and Leicester have contested several memorable top-flight encounters - matches which are usually typified by their evenly-matched attributes.

In August, the 2019/20 season got underway with a 0-0 draw at King Power Stadium, during which the visitors thought they had sealed all three points - until VAR intervened. 

"Wolves fans still talk about that VAR goal and Willy Boly’s handball, but there’s definitely a respect there from Wolves towards Leicester City," Spiers continued.

"The battles between Conor Coady and Jamie Vardy have been good over the years and they seem well matched, while they were linked with James Maddison in the past too.

"It’ll be an even match up. When you look at the games over previous seasons, there really hasn’t been much between them, it’s been 2-0, 0-0, 4-3, and 0-0 in the last few games.

"Everybody’s really looking forward to it actually. It’s on a Friday night under the lights at a packed house, so it should be a really entertaining game."

All times GMT.

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