Wolves v West Brom | Saturday 16th January 2021, 12:30 | BT Sport
The opening fixture of the Premier League weekend sees a Black Country derby as Wolves face West Brom at Molineux.
The appointment of Sam Allardyce with the Baggies was supposed to quickly see an up-turn in both results and performance. It has done neither. Since he took charge of his first match on Matchday 14, no side has worse form with Albion picking up just one point in this time.
WBA take on a Wolves team also bereft of any form and consistency as they have three defeats in their last five. It’s hardly a surprise their goals and points have dried up, after the injury to star-man Raul Jimenez, picking up just one win. They have conceded first in every game since his absence which is mightily worrying.
I can’t imagine this will be a thriller with goals flowing, so I’ll take an angle that isn’t usually shared in the 0-0 Half Time result at 13/8 across the majority of bookmakers, I’m taking it at Bet365 (also the same price at SkyBet, Betfair and BetVictor to name a few).
I do fancy Wolves to be the most likely winners but given their poor first half record, I’ll take this market instead of the Draw/Wolves in the Half-Time/Full-time market at 16/5. Both sides sit in the bottom half for first half results, with Wolves conceding and scoring 10.
The home side here have only been winning at half-time in 4/18, that’s just 22%. I don’t expect West Brom to open up until late which could see this bet land. West Brom have conceded 22 goals in the second half of matches but only 14 in the first half.
Considering Wolves have conceded the first goal in every game since Jimenez’s injury in late November, I can’t foresee them scoring early. Allardyce will set up his team to frustrate the Old Gold and take the chances when they come their way.
Wolves are without Daniel Podence and Willy Boly for this game, with Adama Traore also suffering from a hamstring strain. But one man’s return from injury could see a return to winning ways for Wolves.
Leander Dendoncker missed four games over the Christmas period with an injury and it’s no surprise they failed to win any. He returned to action on Tuesday night against Everton and Nuno has admitted that he is delighted to have the big Belgian back. He adds balance to the midfield, fills the spaces in transition but has a serious attacking and aerial threat.
He loves getting shots off when given the chance and is targeted from set pieces to use that height and aggression in the air. He is 11/10 for just 2 shots and 10/3 for 3 or more at Sky Bet.
These look like big prices considering he has mustered 2+ in the last four games he’s played 80 minutes or more. He has hit 2+ in 6/12 starts but the games he didn’t hit the mark were when there wasn’t three in midfield with either Ruben Neves or Joao Moutinho missing.
All three central midfielders are likely to feature in a 4-3-3 system on Saturday and that allows Dendoncker have the chance to roam forward whilst the Portuguese duo sit deep. He has also hit 4+ shots in his last two games he’s played the full 90 minutes, which is 8/1.
Considering Sky Bet have set their line at 17 shots for Wolves, there’s a great chance of Dendoncker taking aim at least twice if he starts. West Brom have faced 19, 17, 14 and 21 shots in Allardyce’s reign so far and 16.2 across the season, so Wolves shots will likely occur, especially if the game state is as expected, with West Brom soaking up The Wanderers’ pressure.