Wolverhampton-Watford Preview

National Sports

Watford head coach Xisco Munoz is a fan of Wolves’ style of play and insists his side’s next opponents do not deserve to be in the relegation zone.

Wanderers have lost all three of their Premier League matches so far under Bruno Lage, each by the same 1-0 scoreline, while Watford have won one and drawn two.

Wolves have yet to get off the mark in terms of their first goal, yet their 57 shots so far is the third most of any side in the division after Manchester City (59) and Liverpool (70).

Munoz agrees with the widely held view that Wolves, who head to Vicarage Road on Saturday, are unfortunate to be one of three sides with zero points to their name.

“We have in front of us a very good team,” he said. “It’s true they don’t have any points. But they have very good players, a very good style and a very good manager.

“They have played against very good teams and they don’t take the results, but we know we have in front of us a strong team.

“I don’t want people thinking about how they don’t have points – I’m sure we have in front of us very good players and they’re a good, strong team.”

Lage was brought in to replace Nuno Espirito Santo ahead of the 2021-22 campaign and Wolves chairman Jeff Shi is not concerned about the Portuguese’s early results.

“We’re at the start of a very good cycle,” he said. “The stats are showing we’re on the right path.

“I didn’t imagine things can happen so fast. I’m very happy about Bruno and his staff – they’re working extremely hard, staying until 6pm or until late at night.

“He’s focused on how to win games but also analysis of players and improving them.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Watford – Joshua King

The Hornets have fired back-to-back blanks and will be looking at their strikers – King included – to put an end to that run this weekend.

King is two goals away from joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the only Norwegians to have scored 50 times in the Premier League, but he is without a goal in 13 top-flight outings.

Wolves – Hwang Hee-chan

Lage looks set to be without key man Raul Jimenez due to the fallout surrounding English clubs not releasing players to red-list countries over the international break.

That could pave the way for Hwang to come in for his debut after joining on loan from RB Leipzig. The South Korean can play centrally or out wide and provides a different option in attack.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– This will be the fifth Premier League meeting between Watford and Wolves, with each side winning two apiece so far.

– Wolves have won two of their last three away league games against Watford (L1), as many as they had in their previous 13 visits to Vicarage Road (D4 L7).

– Watford have won each of their last 10 home league games, their longest ever winning run at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have kept eight clean sheets in this run, conceding just three goals.

– Since beating Liverpool 3-0 in February 2020, Watford have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 13 Premier League matches (W3 D1 L9), also failing to score on six occasions in this run.

– Wolves have lost each of their last six Premier League games, losing each of the last four despite having more shots than their opponents each time. Since 2003-04, only West Brom have lost more consecutive Premier League games despite outshooting their opponents each time (five games in 2010-11).

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