Tottenham will be looking to make it three matches unbeaten to start the season as they welcome Wolves to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Antonio Conte will be determined to challenge at the top of the table, even if he will concede he doesn’t have the quality that Liverpool and Manchester City have. That said, he does have a much stronger pool of players after a summer of recruitment and he will want to push them to their limit. For Wolves, a season of progression under Bruno Lage is expected. They had a positive first year, but there were concerns about the style of football. With the summer signings they have made, a more progressive style will be expected.
Last season was a successful outcome for Tottenham. They managed to return to the Champions League, beating their local rivals Arsenal to the top four. Conte took over during the campaign and after some initial struggles, he transformed the team into a more consistent outfit. The expectation would be that they will only get better over the next 12 months. If they can avoid injuries, a title challenge isn’t out of the question. However, that won’t be the expectation. Further progression and a comfortable top four finish would represent a successful season.
It has been an exciting couple of weeks for Wolves, as the club have become a lot more active in the transfer market. There was a concern that the club were stagnating under the Fosun ownership group, but the arrivals of Goncalo Guedes and Matheus Nunes will invigorate the fan base. Both have excellent reputations, with the latter being spoken about as one of the best talents in Europe. Morgan Gibbs-White is closing in on a move to Nottingham Forest, but that won’t be seen as the same blow it would have been a couple of weeks ago. The first two performances from Wolves have been okay, but they will know they have more gears to move through. This weekend will be a good test of where they are as a team under Lage.
If Tottenham concede first on Saturday, it will be the first time they have conceded the first goal in three successive league matches since 2010.
Wolves have won four of their last seven away league matches against Tottenham.
It is difficult for an attacker to stand out in a team with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, but that is exactly what Dejan Kulusevski has done at times. The Swedish international is an excellent player and one that completes Spurs’ attack. It is surprising that he didn’t manage to stand out at Juventus, but it has certainly been Tottenham’s gain. The forward reads the game excellently and makes up for his lack of pace with his intelligence in the final third. Since arriving in England, he has been one of the best and most consistent performers in the Premier League. The 22-year-old has six goals and nine assists since his January move. During the opening weekend, it was he that stood out during Tottenham’s win over Southampton. He managed a goal and an assist, while Son and Kane registered a single assist between them. Wolves are a difficult team to break down, with an impressive defensive record under Bruno Lage. Kulusevski has the work rate and attacking ingenuity to have a big impact this weekend.
There was an emotional ending of the season for Ruben Neves, as he looked to be saying his goodbyes to the Wolves fans. It was expected to be his final season in the Midlands, as he has ambitions to play in the Champions League. Many will be surprised that a top six club hasn’t tried to make a move for him, as he certainly has the quality to play for one of them. Manchester United and Arsenal are two clubs that need midfield reinforcements. Their loss is Wolves’ gain, with Lage looking to have one of the best midfields in the league following the arrival of Nunes. The pair will complement each other well and it could be a relationship that translates to the international stage ahead of the World Cup. With a move away looking unlikely, there will be a desire to prove himself yet again and we could see an even better Ruben Neves. During the first two matches, he has made eight tackles, showing his ball-winning abilities. He will have a big part to play this weekend.
Cristian Romero will be missing with an injury, which means Davinson Sanchez could come into the team. Oliver Skipp could be back soon, but this weekend will come too soon. Ivan Perisic is pushing for a start after an impressive cameo last weekend.
Joao Moutinho is a doubt this weekend, while Raul Jimenez will be missing for the rest of the month. Nunes is in line for his debut, while Guedes could be pushing for his first start.
This should be a straightforward home win for Tottenham. Despite Wolves’ success in this fixture in recent seasons, the home side have more quality and they have a manager that can get the best from them on a more consistent basis. They won’t drop many points at home this season. A couple of goals will give them a comfortable victory.
Tottenham 2-0 Wolves