Wolves have four games remaining in their Premier League campaign, and know that, owing to their current six point cushion, even if Hull City won their game in hand, they would still be three points above the relegation zone. Burnley and Hull would need to gain seven points from their remaining fixtures to overtake Wolves, and that is only if Wolves fail to take another point.
Burnley are still to play Sunderland (a), Liverpool (h), Birmingham (a) and Tottenham Hotspur (h) and so, the Clarets look very much like making an instant return to the Championship next season. Hull on the other hand, have slightly more winnable fixtures. Hull’s remaining five matches are Birmingham (a), Aston Villa (h), Sunderland (h), Wigan (a) and Liverpool (h). Hull are unlikely to get seven points, but Mick McCarthy will know that one more victory would virtually guarantee Premier League football for another season.
Let’s have a look at Wolves’ final four fixtures and predict where the points that would ensure the Wanderers survival will come from…
Indeed they looked like a side who had failed to score in six of their previous seven league matches at Molineux. Burnley have tough away fixtures at Birmingham and Sunderland, whilst at home Spurs and Liverpool.
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Fulham v Wolverhampton, 15:00
This game could represent an opportunity for Wolves. Fulham have a Europa League semi-final five days after this clash, and Hodgson will not want his players getting injured prior to the biggest match in Fulham’s recent history. Further, Wolves tend to play better away from home, as their 4-5-1 formation allows them to soak up the pressure, the impetus on the home side to attack. Jarvis and Doyle could therefore enjoy the space afforded them.
Prediction: Despite a cup semi-final on the Thursday, Fulham are usually solid at home. I predict a draw.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Wolverhampton v Blackburn, 15:00
This is a tough one to call. Against Stoke City on Sunday, Wolves very much looked like a side that had failed to score in five of their previous six league matches at Molineux. The 4-5-1 formation has seen McCarthy’s men become difficult to beat, but unfortunately goals are often difficult to come-by. Blackburn have a shocking away record, but at the end of the season, teams often begin to start bucking the trend, and owing to the fact the Blackburn are safe, there is no pressure on them.
Prediction: I’ve a funny feeling Blackburn will win this one. They can scrap just as well as Wolves, but might offer more going forward.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Portsmouth v Wolverhampton, 15:00
Portsmouth have an FA Cup final to look forward to, and players will be playing for their place. Further, they can again play knowing that they are already relegated, and so there is no pressure. However, Portsmouth have lost more games at home (10) than any other Premier League side, and what’s more, Wolves are decent away from home. With the impetus on Portsmouth to attack as the home side, Wolves could exploit the vulnerable Portsmouth rearguard.
Prediction: Wolves to win. This, I believe, would also seal their survival in the Premier League.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Wolverhampton v Sunderland, 15:00
Wolves, as previously mentioned, have scored just ten goals at home all season, whilst they’ve won just four games, which is a low equalled only by Portsmouth. However, with this being the final game of the season, and with Wolves Premier League survival clinched (or so I believe), Wolves will be able to relax, and might play slightly more expansive football. Sunderland also have an awful away record, winning just once, with Burnley the only team to currently lose more games away from home than the Black Cats.
Prediction: Wolves to sign off in style. Home win.
In essence, Wolves could win any of their remaining four fixtures. They have proven themselves capable of winning games away from home, whilst their two home matches with mid-table clubs Blackburn and Sunderland are hardly nail-biting. However, when Wolves are at home, the problem is that they’re expected to attack teams, and their 4-5-1 formation rarely becomes the 4-3-3 that Arsenal and Manchester United deploy (for obvious reasons) and so goals and wins are hard to come by. However, Mick McCarthy’s men should be good enough to nick a result by the odd goal in at least one of these fixtures. I predict they will finish on 39 points, but in essence, 36 should be more than enough.
Wolves will look to secure their position this coming Saturday, with their game with Fulham at Craven Cottage kicking off at 3pm.
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