Tottenham v Wolves: Spurs can be opposed against Old Gold
Toiling Tottenham take on top-four challengers Wolves at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday and Mark O'Haire is happy to oppose the hosts.
Tottenham v Wolves Sunday March 1, 14:00
Tottenham sink to back-to-back defeats
Spirits were soaring at Spurs after Son Heung-min's last-minute winner gave Tottenham a 3-2 triumph at Aston Villa a fortnight ago, a victory that moved Jose Mourinho's men to within one point of the Premier League's top-four positions. However, a damaging injury to Son, plus savage back-to-back defeats to RB Leipzig and Chelsea have drained morale.
Tottenham, for the most part, were flat, uninspiring and insipid in last weekend's London derby at Stamford Bridge. Spurs still look like a team struggling to come to terms with Son's absence having already lost captain Harry Kane with a long-term hamstring injury. It was a joyless, lifeless display that saw Mourinho's troops out-shot 17-5 and convincingly beaten.
Mourinho must somehow galvanise a group that's feeling a bit sorry for itself. A defeatist attitude and body language from the man in charge is far from ideal and the Portuguese supremo is already wishing the season away. But with five extra days to prepare than his opponents for a home game, it's time for Spurs to improvise, adapt and overcome.
Wolves remarkable European run
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said his side's qualification for the Europa League last 16 is a "massive achievement" after the Old Gold completed a 6-3 aggregate victory against Espanyol on Thursday. The Premier League side travelled to Barcelona in full control of the tie after their emphatic 4-0 win at Molineux in the first leg but were beaten 3-2 on the night.
Nevertheless, Nuno insisted he was "proud" of his players, whom are enjoying the club's best run in continental competition for 48 years. Adama Traore's away goal effectively killed the tie and Wolves were able to rest and rotate their squad with five changes, including starts for youngsters Max Kilman, Morgan Gibbs-White and full debutant Daniel Podence.
Not since 1972 - when Wolves were losing UEFA Cup finalists - have the Black Country club enjoyed such success in Europe and Nuno will hope his small squad can refocus mind ahead of Sunday's trip to Tottenham. Raul Jimenez, Ruben Neves, Romain Saiss and Diogo Jota are expected to be recalled to the starting line-up with Jonny Castro Otto the only injury doubt.
Spurs unfancied favourites
Tottenham have lost just once in their last seven Premier League meetings with Wolves (W4-D2-L1). Even so, that defeat came in last season's match-up at Wembley with the Old Gold running out 3-1 victors in the capital. The visitors are chasing history here having never previously registered back-to-back away wins against Spurs.
Tottenham2.56 are looking to secure three consecutive league wins at their new stadium for the first time since their first three such games at the ground in April 2019. Surprisingly, only Liverpool and Manchester City have won more Premier League points than Spurs since Jose Mourinho took charge but performances and process remain deeply unconvincing.
Wolves3.15 sit a solitary point behind their hosts and have again excelled against the league's elite. Nuno's side have lost just four of 13 fixtures against top-half rivals (W2-D7-L4), turning over Man City twice and giving Liverpool two almighty tests. The visitors arrive on the back of three successive league clean sheets that coincide with Willy Boly's return.
Old Gold can make their mark in the capital
Tottenham have won the Expected Goals (xG) battle in only three of their last 11 fixtures - against Norwich (x2) and Aston Villa - with Spurs' attacking invention, inspiration and efficiency called into question, particularly following injuries to Son Heung-min and Harry Kane. However, the hosts have also been falling short in defensive areas this term.
Jose Mourinho's men have silenced only three opponents since his arrival in North London and that should encourage a Wolves team that's fired only four Premier League blanks in 2019/20. The visitors have delivered Both Teams To Score profit in 19/27 (70%) of the contests and quotes of 1.94 on a repeat shouldn't be sniffed at.
However, I'm happier taking the 1.90 available on Wolves Double Chance and Wolves to score Over 0.5 Goals considering the current state in both camps. Here, we're effectively backing the Old Gold to score and avoid defeat with correct scores such as 1-1, 2-2, 0-1, 0-2, and 1-2 all onside on Sunday.