Tottenham Hotspur will look to return to winning ways when they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux on Saturday.
The 2023/24 Premier League season will resume this weekend with Gameweek 12. The latest round of fixtures will get underway in the Black Country, with Wolverhampton Wanderers hosting Tottenham Hotspur at the Molineux on Saturday afternoon.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were in a spot of bother when the season began as Julen Lopetegui departed the same week the campaign started. Gary O’Neil replaced the Spaniard, knowing he was in a difficult situation at the Molineux. So, with the club mired in volatility, O’Neil has done a reasonable job of taking his team to 14th on the table. Meanwhile, the hosts come into the fixture on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United.
On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur would have hoped to return to the top four under Ange Postecoglou. The early signs have been good, with the North London club losing only once in the Premier League this term. That defeat came this week as Chelsea handed them a 4-1 loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Postecoglou’s team going down to nine men and losing two others to injuries.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Wolverhampton Wanderers handing Tottenham a 1-0 defeat, with Adama Traore scoring the game’s only goal. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Focus on Saturday. 👊 pic.twitter.com/M03Wi7S9S6
— Wolves (@Wolves) November 9, 2023
Gary O’Neil does not have any new concerns to deal with ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, the Wolverhampton Wanderers will be bereft of the services of three first-team players.
Pedro Neto is the most notable absentee, with the Portuguese international unavailable for the foreseeable future. Neto accompanies Hugo Bueno and Joe Hodge in the treatment room, with the trio recovering from hamstring injuries.
Jose Sa should take his spot between the sticks, with Wolverhampton Wanderers lining up in a 4-4-1-1 formation in front of him. The twin banks of four will help the home side shut down the threat posed by Tottenham.
The system will morph into a 3-4-1-2, with Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri becoming wing-backs in the offensive phases. Meanwhile, Hwang Hee-chan, who will start on the right-hand side of the midfield unit on paper, will take up central positions to link up with the two strikers.
Semedo will join Craig Dawson, Max Kilman, and Toti Gomes in the defensive unit. Meanwhile, Mario Lemina and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde will pair up in the middle of the park, with the duo keeping things tight in the midfield to protect the backline. Finally, Matheus Cunha and Sasa Kalajdzic will be the two strikers, with the pair likely feeding off scraps on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Sa; Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Toti; Hwang, Lemina, Bellegarde, Ait-Nouri; Cunha; Kalajdzic
Unlike his counterpart in the Wolverhampton Wanderers dugout, Ange Postecoglou has a raft of fitness issues hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to the Molineux. The Tottenham Hotspur manager will be without ten first-team players on Saturday.
James Maddison is the most notable absentee, with the English international picking up an ankle injury against Chelsea. With the former Leicester City playmaker pulling out of the England squad for the international break, he will unlikely take the field against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero are serving their respective suspensions after seeing red against Chelsea. In addition, Richarlison has undergone groin surgery, joining Alfie Whiteman (ankle), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Ben Davies (ankle), Micky van de Ven (thigh), Ivan Perisic (knee), and Manor Solomon (knee) on the sidelines.
We can confirm that James Maddison has been withdrawn from the England squad due to an ankle injury.
The midfielder will not feature in the Three Lions' UEFA EURO 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, and will remain at Hotspur Way for rehabilitation with the Club's… pic.twitter.com/Y4WelJrcbO
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 10, 2023
Maddison’s absence means Postecoglou will likely shuffle his formation at the Molineux this weekend. So, Tottenham should line up in a 4-3-3 formation on Saturday, with Guglielmo Vicario taking his spot between the sticks.
Romero and van de Ven’s absence means Eric Dier and Ashley Phillips are in line for rare starts. The duo will form the central defensive pairing, with Pedro Porro and Emerson Royal being the two full-backs. As for the midfield unit, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg should be the extra body in the middle of the park.
The Danish international, who faces an uncertain future at Tottenham, will join Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma in the centre of the pitch. Finally, Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski, and Brennan Johnson should form the offensive unit.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Vicario; Porro, Dier, Phillips, Royal; Sarr, Bissouma, Hojbjerg; Kulusevski, Son, Johnson
- Half of the 18 Premier League meetings between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham have seen the away side winning. Of all fixtures to have been played as many times, only Leicester City against Manchester City (54%) has been won more often by the away team.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers have scored at least once in their last 10 Premier League games, although they have only kept one clean sheet in their most recent 14.
- Tottenham Hotspur are unbeaten in seven away games in the Premier League (W5 D2), a run that dates back to last season. Wolverhampton Wanderers, meanwhile, have only won one of their last six home matches in the competition (D3 L2), although that victory came against Manchester City.
- Ange Postecoglou suffered his first Premier League defeat on Monday in his 11th game in the competition. Only Maurizio Sarri (12 games) and Frank Clark (11 games) have had longer unbeaten starts.
- Hwang Hee-chan has been involved in eight Premier League goals this season (6 goals, 2 assists), his best return in a single campaign in the competition.
Player to Watch
With James Maddison and Pedro Neto unavailable, Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Tottenham Hotspur will be the battle of the two South Korean talismans. And we have picked Son Heung-min for this section ahead of Saturday’s fixture at the Molineux.
The 31-year-old has been back among the goals this season, finding the back of the net eight times, with only Erling Haaland ahead of him in the Golden Boot race. So, with Son in his element, Ange Postecoglou will hope the Tottenham captain can carry the away side to three points this weekend.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Both teams will take the field without their creative supremos on Saturday. So, a goal-fest should not be on the cards. But the battle of South Koreans should light up the fixture, with Hwang Hee-chan and Son Heung-min continuing their fine runs of form this weekend.
Meanwhile, considering chances will come at a premium, individual quality will determine the final result. That is where Tottenham should trump Gary O’Neil’s men, with Brennan Johnson and Dejan Kulusevski rising to the occasion. So, the away side should clinch another victory in this rivalry, with The Hard Tackle predicting a 2-1 win for Ange Postecoglou and his charges.