Undefeated Wolves welcome bottom placed Spurs to Molineux this weekend. Wolves’ excellent start is similar to last season when they were undefeated after three matches however, it didn’t last and they went on to gain only one point in their following six games. Spurs will be desperate to get their season going after consecutive heavy defeats against both City and United. It remains to be seen whether those results indicate more about Spurs or the Manchester clubs.
In the same fixture last season, six goals were shared in a thrilling match underscored by the tribute to fallen son Dean Richards before kick-off. Spurs twice took the lead but couldn’t prevent a strong finishing Wolves side from claiming a point late in the match. This continued season long trends for both clubs. Wolves had a fantastic record against top 6 clubs and Spurs were dreadful against those battling relegation.
If Spurs are to pick up their first points of the season, they’ll have to break several unfortunate records. They haven’t won away in September in the Premier League since 2001 and won just three of their past 14 matches in the division.
Spurs will likely give debuts to summer signings Adebayor and Parker. Each signing is aimed at solving specific problems made clear so far this season. Last season, Spurs created more chances than anyone but Chelsea. The weakness was converting those chances.
Adebayor scored with more than half of his shots on target in the last two seasons (15 from 24). Spurs major problem in attack has been the conversion of chances. Peter Crouch’s miss against City made this problem manifest. Excellent passing in the build-up and an exquisite cross from Bale found Crouch who duly put the golden chance wide. At 1-0 down, that error proved hugely costly when City immediately proceeded to score a knock out second goal.
If Adebayor can prove capable of scoring when given such chances, Tottenham’s abysmal start to the season may soon be forgotten. Parker too, reinforces Spurs in several vital areas. Against City, Spurs were beaten in midfield, the mobility and interplay of the fleet-footed and creative trio of Silva, Nasri and Aguero met little resistance in the form of the Croatian pair that opposed them in midfield. Their movement pulled Tottenham apart and the arrival of Parker should help to prevent similar exposure at Molineux. Parker also provides that ineffable quality of leadership. His West Ham teammates spoke often about his attitude and professionalism. Despite his relegation last season, Parker is a winner and Spurs will be hoping that attitude rubs off on his new team.
Summer signing Roger Johnson has made a strong start to his Wolves career and helped to strengthen what was a leaky defence last season. 66 goals conceded last season marked Wolves out as particularly susceptible in defence. So far this term Wolves have only conceded once. Fellow new signing O’Hara will be hoping to make a big impact against his former club after also making a solid start.
Spurs can expect to have chances on Saturday. Despite their strong defensive performances, Wolves have lost possession on 44 occasions so far this season and conceded 47 chances in their opening matches. They are clearly susceptible. Spurs have also created more chances (31) in their two matches than Wolves (29) in three.
It is interesting to note that Wayne Hennessy has played every minute in 2011-12 and been forced to make only one save. Despite the fact that his back four have given the ball away often and in dangerous areas, they have had very few dangerous shots to deal with. Spurs will be hoping to test out the Welshman a little more rigorously.
These two sides contested the 1921 FA Cup final and the 1972 UEFA Cup final, both won by Spurs. This match doesn’t hold the same significance as those storied occasions, but may yet be an important factor in determining how both sides fare this season. If Spurs can get back on track with a solid performance, optimism will return at the Lane. If Wolves can continue their stellar start with a win over their more fancied rivals, it may help to solidify their position; well away from the relegation scrap.