Wolves vs Tottenham| Sunday 27th December 2020, 19:15 | Sky Sports
The fourth and final course of a Sunday Christmas feast serves up Spurs’ trip to Wolves.
José Mourinho’s men came through a potential banana skin in the League Cup, beating Stoke 3-1, booking their place in the semi-final. However, there has been a recent dip of form in the league with just one win in five and, more recently, consecutive defeats.
Things have been tough for Old Gold as well since the injury to star striker Raúl Jiménez – it’s just one win in four since the Mexican was carried off against Arsenal. Nuno Espírito Santo did a rather impressive job of covering over the defeat at Burnley with his rant about referee Lee Mason, despite acknowledging the official get none of the key decisions wrong.
Wolves struggle without Jiménez, when he’s in the side they average 1.3 goals per game, but that drops to 0.7 without him. And in recent games, their Expected Goals (xG) has taken a hit with figures of 0.48xG, 1.48xG, 0.63xG and 0.45xG. The fact the game they won v Chelsea with 0.63xG was down to the brilliance of Pedro Neto’s late winner.
This one could be a back and forth midfield battle, which could be lit up by one moment of magic, so I’ve swerved the outright markets here.
The betting angles
I’m taking a player props market for the first bet, which looks good on all the data. The bet is Nélson Semedo 45+ passes at 23/20 with Pokerstars – it’s evens with Ladbrokes as well.
That line looks rather generous for the Wolves right-back with how deep Spurs play and their lack of attacking third presses, meaning Old Gold defenders should see plenty of the ball to hit their passing lines.
In 12 starts the former Barcelona defender has hit this line 10 times. It’s 676 attempted passes in total, the second-most for Wolves, with 539 completed, also the second-most. That’s nearly an 80% completion rate, which is solid.
When you look at his numbers then you’ll see the two games the bet didn’t land were at Arsenal (43 passes) and Leeds (36 passes), so the one at The Emirates went very close, while in the latter, Wolves only had 34% possession at Elland Road.
Six games at Molineux where Semedo has started have seen him hit this line every time – 48, 53, 54, 61, 65 and 77 – so the 50+ at 19/10 with Ladbrokes looks a likely runner as well.
Seeing Paul Tierney appointed to this one also made me do some digging through the cards markets. Both Teams Over 1 Card in a Bet365 Bet Builder at 7/4 I didn’t mind.
Only Stuart Attwell (5.00) is averaging more cards per game than Tierney (4.00). And he’s also shown three reds in eight games – only Graham Scott has dismissed more players.
This will be Tierney’s third outing with Spurs this season. The previous two have seen 11 cards (all yellow), with nine of those going to the opposing side, and that’s something to consider here, as teams playing Spurs have picked up 30 yellows – only teams facing Arsenal have picked up more (31).
Team news could dictate the player cards but those in the middle of the park are likely to be busy. And one thing I did notice was central midfielders have picked up plenty of cards v Spurs already.
Oriol Romeu, Jonjo Shelvey, Thomas Soucek, Josh Brownhill, Granit Xhaka, Luka Milivojević and Wilfrid Ndidi are all on that list. So, this Wolves midfield could add to that.
João Moutinho has picked up four yellows already this term and has been dismissed. He was probably lucky to escape further sanction on Monday for what looked like a stamp late on in the game, but the VAR adjudged it to be fine.
The Portuguese midfielder can be spiky. He’s committed 16 fouls and they’re usually the cynical type, so the 11/2 for a card could appeal with a referee that shows no messing when it comes to cautioning players.
Another thing I did notice was a lot of strikers get booked against Spurs. Che Adams, Joelinton, Anthony Martial (sent-off), Michail Antonio and Alexandre Lacazette have all seen cards against the Lilywhites.
With that, I’d wait to see who Nuno starts up front and act on it. Pedro Neto has committed 11 fouls so far and he started alongside Daniel Podence in a front two.
I did note that Adama Traoré played 30 minutes at Turf Moor on Monday, so could well start here. He’s committed 17 fouls, the third-most of any Wolves player, and has been cautioned three times. At 10/1 on Bet365, he could be worth a poke given his physicality.
Fatigue could play a part with Spurs’ quick turnaround in fixtures, so late goals could be an angle. Of the 14 league goals they’ve conceded, seven (50%) have been from the 81st minute until full-time, while five of Wolves’ 14 goals scored coming after the 71st minute.
I’m not usually one for head-to-head data, but 17 goals scored in their last four clashes, including plenty of late drama. That was the case last season when Jan Vertonghen netted a 90th-minute winner.
That’s an angle to consider in-play depending on how the game is shaping up late on. But, for me, these two angles look like the sensible ways in.
Wolves vs Tottenham – Nelson Semedo 45+ passes (23/20 Pokerstars)
Wolves vs Tottenham – Joao Moutinho to be carded (11/2 Bet365)