Wolves welcome Slovakian outfit Slovan Bratislava to Molineux on Thursday night, aiming to edge closer to a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Since losing at home to Braga in the Group K opener, Wolves haven’t put a foot wrong in the competition, securing back to back wins on the road in Istanbul and Bratislava. That’s pushed them into second place in the group and just one point behind leaders Braga with three group games remaining.
The Wanderers have also been strong domestically, having lost just once in their last 10 matches (W5, D4, L1). They do still remain in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but it’s evident that they’re improving game by game and are starting to find the balance with European football.
Slovan are also in great form themselves. They to have only lost once in their last 10 games, a run of form which has seen them claim seven wins. While they still will be hugely disappointed to let a half-time lead slip against Wolves last month, manager Jan Kozak will still be satisfied with where his team find themselves at the midway point of the group. With a home game with leaders Braga still to come, Kozak will know that a positive result this week could make all the difference heading into the final two games.
A win for Wolves would move them five points clear of Slovan, with just two games to play, whilst a win for Slovan would push them above Wolves and into second place by a point. It really is a crucial game for both sides with the fate of the Europa League knock outs hanging in the balance.
Nuno Espírito Santo has fielded strong sides in the Europa League so far and is expected to do so again here. They will however be without winger Diogo Jota who is suspended after picking up a red card in Bratislava, as well as defenders Ryan Bennett and Wilfred Boly who are both injured.
Slovan are likely to recall forward Andraz Sporar to their starting 11. The 25-year-old scored his side’s goal when Wolves visited Slovakia and was left on the bench for the 2-0 win over Senica at the weekend, presumably to keep him fresh for this game.
Wolves are heavy favourites to take all three points at Molineux. Nuno’s side did extremely well to beat the Slovan 2-1 in Bratislava, and it is no wonder why they are seen as hot favourites to win. The Wanderers are also a real force to be reckoned with at home, having only lost two of their last 21 games at Molineux in all competitions, winning 13 of those inside 90 minutes. Wolves are best priced 1.4 with Coral and Slovan as big as 11.0 with Betfair.
Whilst I doubt Jan Kozak’s men will head home with any points, I do fancy them to score at Molineux. Solvan have netted at least once in all 25 of their games this season and come up against a Wolves defence that has conceded at least once in their last five matches. Both teams to scored is priced at 2.2 with Paddy Power and I think this is excellent value.
Wolves will look to Mexican striker Raul Jimenez for fire power. The 28 year-old has scored three times in his last four games and priced at 2.2 to score anytime with Bet Victor looks good value.