While three defeats from four might suggest some early struggles for Wolverhampton Wanderers under new boss Bruno Lage that, in reality, couldn't be further from the truth.
The Black Country outift had the better of all three of their opening defeats, which came at the hands of Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United, before finally getting up and running with a dominant win at Watford last time out.
Wolves have registered the third most shots per game so far this campaign (17.8), behind only Liverpool and Manchester City, and conceded the second fewest (8.3) behind Manchester City.
In the Carabao Cup they put four past Nottingham Forest to set up a home tie against former boss Nuno and Tottenham next Wednesday.
Lage's first summer at Molineux saw Wolves add Trincao (Barcelona) and Hwang Hee-Chang (RB Leipzig) on loan as well as Rayan Ait Nouri (Angers), Jose Sa (Olympiakos), and Bendeguz Bolla (MOL Vidi) on a permanent basis. They've also welcomed back star striker Raul Jimenez (above) after nearly a year out with a head injury.
Writing for Hot Off The Press The Athletic's Tim Spiers, warns: "You can’t fail to keep an eye on Traore (above). The things he has being doing already this season are actually ridiculous. He is bang in form - and the cynics would suggest that was because Spurs were lurking during the transfer window – and has been phenomenal. He has got a slightly new role in that he is on the left and cutting inside as Bruno plays with inverted wingers, although he can switch, but he has already torn a few full-backs and defensive midfielders to shreds.
They have stuck with Nuno’s tried and trusted 3-4-3 for now, with Conor Coady still at the heart of defence. They have had the same team for a couple of games now, so I would anticipate something like this: Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Trincao, Jimenez, Traore.
Mads Bech (knee) and Josh Dasilva (hip) are out but otherwise it's as you were from last week with everyone else fit and available.
Hwang Hee-chan is pushing to start following a debut goal off the bench in last week's 2-0 win at Watford. Jonny and Pedro Neto (both knee) remain long-term absentees for Wolves with Neto not expected back until early next year.
Bruno Lage is the new man in the hotseat at Molineux, replacing countryman Nuno Espirito Santo in June.
The 45-year-old had a short-lived playing career in his native Portugal before going into youth coaching with his hometown club Vitória de Setúbal in 1997. Between 2004 and 2012 he coached every level of Youth Team at Benfica before joining Carlos Carvalhal at Sheffield Wednesday and then Swansea City as Assistant Manager. Lage returned to Benfica as manager of their reserve team in July 2018, taking over the main job the following January. During his short tenure as coach, he won the 2018/19 league title and the 2019 Super Cup, picking up the Primeira Liga and Portuguese FA Coach of the Year prizes at the end of that campaign. After a strong start to 2019/20, which included 16 straight league wins between September and January, a run of just two wins in 13 saw Lage resign in June 2020 as Benfica failed to retain their league title.
THE OPPOSITION VIEW
Bruno Lage told wolves.co.uk: "What I can see from them is that they have the work with a good base.
“They’ve had two or three years in the good work and we can see they dominate a lot of things, they know how to start from the back, they know how to link the games, how to find the space between the lines, how to create problems to the other team, and when they lose the ball they are very strong and compact and they like to press. But that’s the way they play all the games and that’s the way we’re preparing all week, creating the scenario of the week to be ready for that.
“Getting promoted to the Premier League was not a surprise, and we know we need to be at our best tomorrow, because they are a strong, competitive team and they have shown that with what they did before in the Championship and how they have started the competition"
Referee: Darren England
Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard and Peter Kirkup
Fourth Official: David Coote
Video Assistant Referee: Stuart Attwell
Additional Video Assistant Referee: Stuart Burt
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2021/22
39 fouls - 9th in Premier League
9 yellow card - 3rd most in Premier League
0 red cards - Joint-Fewest in Premier League
Car parking for tomorrow's game can be booked online for just £8.
Coaches for tomorrow's game will depart from the Ealing Road at 7.30am.
Important Covid-19 suppporter information for those heading to Molineux can be found here.
HOW TO FOLLOW
If you haven't got a ticket to join us at Molineux, you can still buy a BT Sport Monthly pass to watch all tomorrow's action live, kick-off 12.30pm.
Get your pass online
iFollow match passes are also available as Ben Burgess joins Mark Burridge for live commentary from the Black Country.