Wolves had a toughie on their plate, maybe what supposedly is one of the toughest fixtures on that calendar as they visited the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. While, we saw the best of Burnley after a long-while which was a five-star performance albeit against the fellow promoted opponents in Sheffield United.
Gary O’Neil has done a brilliant job at the Molineux following what was not less than a disastrous summer window, but his philosophies backed by some exemplary individual & joint performances have created a backing atmosphere down at Wolverhampton. You could feel the sense of belief and backing surrounding the club following how they have started the season.
Speaking about Burnley & Vincent Kompany, they find themselves among the bottom of the table despite sky-high expectations after that record-breaking performance in the Championship last season. Although they have failed to live up to those expectations, and most of that was shooting themselves in their own foot, with many of them goals conceded coming from errors – as they say, one pass too many in the premier third. That being said, they will love to build on that five goal performance against Sheffield, and Wolves present an interesting opportunity.
Looking at the odds while penning down this article, Burnley are the favourites to clinch the three points – but alot of that could be down to that Saturday performance. Remember, Burnley have only won 2 games this season in the Premier League, both of them coming against fellow relegation teams in Luton Town & Sheffield.
When & Where?
Date: 6th December, 2023
Time: 13:00 HRS BST
Venue: Molineux Stadium
What starts as a concern in the home camp would be that of Jose Sa, he appeared to be holding his back as he was forced into substitution against Arsenal. Dan Bentley came on for him, and he managed the game really well from the back. Some passes breaking the lines, while he handled the pressure with ball at his feet at times to pick out an aerial pass. Rayan Aït-Nouri and Pedro Neto should continue to serve the sidelines. Joao Gomes & Mario Lemina returns following serving their suspension against Arsenal after accumulating tally of yellow cards.
For the visitors, Jordan Beyer will serve a suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card at the weekend against Sheffield. Manuel Benson had a sprained ankle, but has a chance to return for Burnley although a late fitness test is expected. Foster was rules out with illness, we’d have to wait on the presser to know more about his availability.
Gary O’Neil has been a breath of fresh air, his versatile tactics makes it difficult to play against. They like to win the ball in the middle with that duo of Joao Gomes and Mario Lemina, and like to attack with pace and tenacity. Offensively they are a combination of pace, and fast ball-playing sequences – something that both Arsenal as well as Manchester City found it difficult to live up to in certain combinations. That being said, I am expecting Wolves to let Burnley play their game and keep the ball while maintaining a hybrid of mid/low block and try to catch them off.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are also apt on their presses, given how many problems Burnley have had with their errors. That is where Wolves can try to capitalise as well.
When Pep Guardiola spoke about Hwang Hee-Chan referencing him as the “Korean guy” in the press conference leading to the game between Manchester City and Wolves, all eyes were on him as to whether he would make a statement on the field. In the 66th minute of the game, Hwang rose to the occasion to score what would be the winner to end Man City’s dominant run and keep Wolves secure and far from the relegation places for the foreseeable future.
Hwang’s career journey or his own development as a player wasn’t always linear. Still, his perseverance to prove with Wolves even after the difficulties surrounding the club regularly has meant he’s now the senior most attacking player amongst Wolves rank and by forming a crucial partnership between himself, Matheus Cunha and Pedro Neto, leading the team as their top scorer, Hwang’s finally come to fore in his own way. We look at how his season so far under Gary O’Neil has shaped.
MUST READ: Hwang Hee-Chan’s (황희찬) 2023/24 – How the South Korean player has emerged as an important figure for Wolves
Wolves: Sa, H. Bueno, Dawson, Kilman, Toti; Semedo, Lemina, Gomes, Doyle, Cunha, Hwang
Burnley: Trafford, Vitinho, O’Shea, Ekdal, Taylor, Bruun Larsen, Berge, Brownhill, Koleosho, Amdouni, Rodrigue