Tottenham v Wolves: Son can shine in thrilling game

The market expects a game devoid of goalmouth action when Wolves visit Tottenham on Sunday, but Kevin Hatchard isn't so sure...

Conte knows it's a long road ahead

From the moment he arrived in north London, Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has made it clear that he faces a massive task to revitalise a club that has huge ambitions and incredible facilities, but that has also made consistent mistakes when it comes to the recruitment of players and managers.

The hubris and intransigence of chairman Daniel Levy has often masked the good work he has done for the club, and fans remain sceptical about his willingness to loosen the purse strings for Conte's revolution.

The scale of the job was underlined by the chaotic and fragile display against Southampton. Tottenham led 1-0 and 2-1 in a game they eventually lost 3-2, and they made basic defensive errors throughout.

Wing-back Emerson Royal has a torrid evening against Saints, and he wasn't the only one. There were at least some positives - Heung-Min Son scored and looked lively after his recent return from injury, and Rodrigo Bentancur's cameo in midfield has excited fans about the prospect of a central midfielder that can pass with penetration.

Conte has often been mischaracterised as a defensive coach, and that certainly wasn't the case with Inter last season, as the Nerazzurri dazzled their way to the Scudetto. Spurs have been pretty lively since he took charge too - 10 of his 19 games in charge have seen both teams find the net, and Spurs have only managed five clean sheets in that time. Indeed, they haven't recorded a shut-out since the 1-0 win at Watford on New Year's Day.

Bentancur could make his full debut, while fellow new signing Dejan Kulusevski is pushing for a place in the front three, with Lucas Moura the only player he is likely to challenge. Eric Dier remains injured, so Cristian Romero is likely to be flanked by Ben Davies and Davinson Sanchez once again in the back three.

Wolves face another test of their credentials

Bruno Lage and Wolverhampton Wanderers suffered a hammer blow on Thursday as they were edged out 1-0 at home by Arsenal. The hosts fell behind to a scrappy Gabriel goal, and then couldn't force home a leveller, despite the sending-off of Gunners forward Gabriel Martinelli in the second half.

A win would have moved Wolves to within three points of the top four, with two games in hand compared to fourth-placed West Ham. A defeat in north London on Sunday would further dent any hopes of pushing for a surprise Champions League qualification.

That said, it's been a fine season under Lage, who won the Portuguese title with Benfica in fine style, having previously developed an excellent reputation as a youth coach. He has tried to be more progressive than his predecessor and compatriot Nuno, but his side has curiously averaged fewer than a goal a game, scoring just 19 times in 22 league outings. At the other end, they have leaked just 17 goals, and only the champions and league leaders Manchester City have a better record.

The Infogol Expected Goals figures tell an interesting story. The defence has wildly overperformed, conceding 13 goals fewer than the Expected Goals Against figure of 30. The Expected Goals For figure of 26.6 shows that Lage's men simply haven't been clinical enough in front of goal. However, given that the club has significantly curbed its net spend in the last couple of seasons, it's fair to say Lage has been a success so far.

Hwang-Hee Chan and Jonny are pushing for starts after returning from injury, but Joao Moutinho remains a serious doubt.

Spurs a touch too short

Although Conte has clearly made a significant impact at Tottenham in just a few months, they are far from the finished article, and Wednesday's defensive debacle against Southampton was a cause for concern. Wolves are a tough nut to crack, having lost just three of their last 11 games, and they have only lost two of their last ten away from home in the PL.

You could back Wolves +0.5 & +1.0 at 2.04 on the Asian Handicap. If the game is drawn or Wolves win, you get an odds-against winner, but if Wolves lose by a single goal, you still get half of your money back.

Wolves have only lost by multiple goals twice in the league this season. Wolves only lost 1-0 at Manchester City, won 1-0 at Manchester United and they have won six of their last ten on the road in the top flight.

Go against the grain and back goals

I like the look of backing BTTS at 2.18 here. If you look at the table, you can see why people don't expect goals in Wolves games, but the Expected Goals figures tell us that broadly we could have expected a total of 56 goals in their PL games this term, not the 36 we actually have had.

If we look at Tottenham's games, they are wilder than Conte would like at present. The 3-2 win at Leicester and the 3-2 defeat to Southampton immediately spring to mind, and both teams have scored in five of Spurs' last 10 league games.

Son worth a shot at odds-against

Because the market doesn't expect many goals, there is a natural inflation in the prices when you look at the To Score market. Harry Kane is priced at 1.97 on the Exchange, with Heung-Min Son a chunky 2.6. If you look at the South Korean's home games under Conte in the Premier League, he has scored in all five.

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