With just three points separating Wolves and Crystal Palace in the bottom half of the Premier League (PL) standings going into this match, both teams have little more on the line than securing a spot in the league for the following season. Nevertheless, that is cause for celebration in both camps considering how deeply involved each team was in the recent relegation dogfight. With only six rounds left, Wolves’ home form, which has seen them win three of their previous four games at Molineux (L1), has allowed them to build a six-point lead over the bottom three.
The manager Julen Lopetegui, though, saw Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City as a chance to refocus, declaring post game the most dangerous thought for his team is thinking that survival is already certain. Even while earning three more points would theoretically guarantee their participation in the Premier League for another season, doing so right away isn’t guaranteed when taking into account their recent H2H record, in which Palace have won the last four games.
That coincidence makes Palace’s winning streak against Wolves their longest ever. Their recent form should give them the confidence to continue winning, particularly after being forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against a strong Everton team at home on Saturday. Their longest unbeaten streak of this league season, which now stands at four games (W3, D1) under Roy Hodgson, was continued by that outcome.
While Hodgson’s return to coaching was marked by flowing attacking displays in the first few games, Palace’s latest two clean sheets show that he has also instilled defensive toughness in the squad. In addition to giving the Eagles their third consecutive league victory this season, a shutout here would give them a fourth victory against the Wolves in their previous five competitive meetings.
Rben Neves of Wolves served a two-match suspension before facing Leicester City after receiving ten yellow cards; prior to this round, only two players in the Premier League had gotten more. He would be prudent to exercise caution near Jordan Ayew of Palace, who has already racked up 69 fouls this year. Only Wilfried Zaha from the same side had accrued more penalties.
Mario Lemina was taken out at halftime on Saturday after inadvertently assisting Cunha’s opening goal. However, the Gabon international appeared to allay any concerns when he was spotted walking normally after the game.
Lemina will need to be carefully evaluated over the course of the next 48 hours, and Lopetegui is still working without Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho (both knee), while Boubacar Traore is still not match-ready and may at most make the bench.
Ruben Neves should return to the fold in the middle of the park right away if Lemina is not risked from the start, while Diego Costa and Pablo Sarabia may find their positions threatened by Daniel Podence and Adama Traore because they didn’t have much of an impact at the King Power.
With regard to Crystal Palace, Hodgson is optimistic that Zaha (groin) and Nathaniel Clyne (knee) will return to the practice fields at some point this week, although it is anticipated that both players won’t be ready for the match on Tuesday.
The unfortunate Nathan Ferguson has since developed a new muscular injury, a significant one at that, and will be out for some time, but Hodgson does not have any new concerns to take into account as a result of the draw with Everton.
Vicente Guaita was back on the bench over the weekend, but Johnstone may have done enough to keep the gloves on Tuesday. Mateta and Will Hughes are options to change up the starting lineup if the game goes long and the players get tired.
Possible starting lineup for Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Dawson, Bueno, Traore, Gomes, Neves, Nunes, Cunha and Podence.
Possible starting lineup for Crystal Palace
Johnstone, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze, Olise, Mateta and Ayew.
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace draw 1-1
The last time these two sides shook hands in a draw was over four years ago, but as the table indicates, there is hardly anything separating them. Therefore, we are unable to predict a clear victor in this match.
Lopetegui’s team has recently upped the ante in front of their own supporters, but it was clear that their performance at Leicester suffered when Lemina was substituted, and any uncertainty regarding his fitness will be exploited by a Palace team that still displayed plenty of attacking intent in their draw with Everton.