Wolves v Crystal Palace: Low-scoring clash likely at Molineux

Wolves host Crystal Palace in the first match of this weekend's Premier League games and Simon Mail thinks the game at Molineux could be a slow burner...

Wolves v Crystal Palace
Friday, 20:00
Live on BT Sport Box Office

Wolves finding goals hard to come by

Wolves have finished seventh in the Premier League for the last two seasons and Nuno Espirito Santo will be targeting another strong performance during this campaign. With no Europa League to distract them, Wolves can focus their efforts on the league and another top ten finish looks likely this season.

Three wins from their opening six games has been a solid start but Wolves' lack of goals has been noticeable. Six goals in as many games is a meagre return and there is again an over reliance on Raul Jimenez, especially after the departure of Diogo Jota to Liverpool. The Mexican striker has netted four times in the league this season and been their only scorer in the last two games. Jimenez's pure strike on Sunday was cancelled out by a late Jacob Murphy goal as Wolves were frustrated in a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United.

Zaha leads promising start for Palace

Crystal Palace are level on points in the table with Wolves after an encouraging start to the campaign. Roy Hodgson's side ended last season terribly but have quickly put this behind them with a promising set of results. The undoubted highlight was their 3-1 win at Manchester United last month with their swift counter-attacks punishing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's defence.

Palace won 2-1 at Fulham last weekend and once again Wilfried Zaha was the difference. Zaha has started this season superbly with the attacker scoring five goals already - one more than he managed in the whole of the last campaign. The Eagles are heavily dependent on Zaha and his pace on the break is bound to be a big threat to Wolves.

Wolves can be swerved as favourites

Wolves are 2.02 favourites but the hosts failed to justify their odds-on status against Newcastle last week. With three defeats in their last six meetings against Crystal Palace, Wolves certainly cannot be deemed bankers for this match. Their lack of potency this season also suggests Wanderers can be left alone in this market.

Crystal Palace are 4.7 outsiders and this cannot be dismissed considering their recent form. The Eagles have won two of their last three away league games and their record at Molineux is also encouraging. Palace have won three of their last five matches at Wolves and have to be worthy of consideration at the odds.

The draw is trading at 3.35 and it would not be a surprise if the teams cancelled each other out. Both sides have been far from prolific in attack but have also been solid defensively. That said, only one of the last seven clashes between Wolves and Crystal Palace have been a draw. This looks a trappy fixture with all three outcomes looking realistic prospects, suggesting it is worth looking at other markets for a bet.

Slow start likely in tight contest

In recent games, Wolves have made slow starts and it looks worth backing another uneventful first half at Molineux. Wolves' last three matches have all been goalless at half-time and the team have also failed to score in the first half of their last five league games. This could be another slow burner with both Wolves and Palace among the more solid defensive units in the league and under one first-half goal appeals at 31/20.

The last four clashes between Wolves and Palace have all seen under 2.5 goals scored and their latest encounter could easily follow the same path. With Wolves' lack of early goals, it could be worth combining under 2.5 goals with the hosts failing to score in the opening 45 minutes which inflates the odds to 2.14 via the Same Game Multi option.

Opta Stat

Since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, Wolves striker Jimenez (45 per cent) has been directly involved in a higher share of his team's goals than any other player to appear in all three campaigns in this period (47 of 104). Jimenez is 11/10 to score against Crystal Palace.

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