Wolves entertain Southampton at Molineux on Saturday as they look for three points to continue their highly encouraging return to the Premier League. A mid-table position and only one defeat in the first six games is a position most would have taken before the season started, especially as that included games against the two Manchester teams, against which Wolves came out with great credit on both occasions.
The same starting eleven has played in all six of the league games so far and it would be a surprise if that changed on Saturday unless there are injuries we are not aware of. The bench has also been constant, but that is something that could change this weekend.
In the largely uninspiring Carabao Cup tie against Leicester on Tuesday, we saw most of the fringe players in action as they looked to make an impression for first team consideration. And there were some plusses and minuses in the performances. John Ruddy had a good game in goal and will be ready to step in when needed. The back three consisted of Dendoncker, Coady and Hause. All played solidly defensively and Dendoncker must surely now be pushing for a place on the bench, especially as he can cover in defence and midfield. Hause had a decent game defensively but doesn’t look as comfortable on the ball as the first choice centre-backs.
Castro showed he can play on the right as well as the left and I thought he was Wolves best player on the night. Vinagre played on the left and had some very good moments going forward but doesn’t always impress defensively. In the centre of midfield, Morgan Gibbs White got better as the game went on and had some impressive contributions in the last 20 minutes when Wolves finally looked like they might nick the game, particularly after Jota came off the bench. Saiss though failed to make much impact on the night.
In the attacking third we saw Traore have 90 minutes and there were moments of brilliance and blistering pace, but perhaps some signs why he is still waiting for his first league start as he lost possession and disappeared from the game at times. Bonatini had a largely ineffective game up front. He didn’t have a great supply on the night but rarely troubled the Leicester defence. But Cavaleiro on his return from injury had a really bright game for an hour and will be pushing for a place on the first team bench.
Southampton have not visited Molineux since 2009 when Wolves won 3-0. But they had gone 9 games unbeaten here before that including a game that Wolves fans at the time won’t forget as they won 6-0 in 2007. They lie 4 points behind Wolves in the league this season and have only won one of their opening 6 games, away at Palace. They let a 2 goals lead slip last week at home to Brighton.
On paper, it looks like a chance for Wolves to get another 3 points but we are still at the stage of hoping for three points rather than expecting them, and like many teams that are likely to be competing for a mid-table position, Southampton will be far from easy opponents. Nevertheless, the thought of moving up the table still further will be at the front of Wolves’ fans minds for this one, and the optimism will only increase if they succeed.