Wolves return to Europa League action gunning for a quarter-final spot in the second leg of their last-16 clash against Greek giants Olympiacos.
Wolves play host to Olympiacos at Molineux on Thursday evening, tied 1-1 on aggregate for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie. A clean sheet or victory will see them through to the next round.
Pedro Neto was the hero in Greece during the first leg as his goal not only canceled out Youssef El-Arabi’s opener, but it gave Wolves a valuable away goal advantage for the return fixture.
Whoever comes out on top of this tie will meet either AS Roma or Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Wolves Form & Team news
A disappointing finish to their Premier League campaign has piled the pressure on Wolves. Three defeats, two wins, and a draw in their last six games dropped them down to seventh in the standings. And following Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph, only Europa League glory will keep them in Europe next season.
Although Wolves are normally a solid defensive unit, boasting the Premier League’s fifth-best record this season on 40 goals conceded. They’ve even kept seven clean sheets in their last eight home games.
Plus, Arsenal and Liverpool are the only teams to beat them in their 11 home fixtures this year. So Olympiacos can expect problems as Wolves have also proved their mettle against foes like Braga, Torino, and Besiktas in this season’s Europa League.
Nuno Espirito Santo has a full squad available with Leander Dendoncker and Daniel Podence as potential starters.
Olympiacos Form & Team news
While Wolves have been on a low point lately, Olympiacos are on a roll. The Red-Whites have won nine of their 11 games since returning from lockdown, scoring 23 goals and conceding just six times.
Such is their dominance this season, Olympiacos finished the Greek Super League regular undefeated in all 26 games. Although PAOK ensured they didn’t go the entire campaign unbeaten. However, Pedro Martins’ side still won a 45th league title in the end.
But Olympiacos, who eliminated Arsenal in the Round of 32, have scored four of their six goals before half-time. This may suggest they’re particularly strong early in games, but fade a bit towards the end.
The biggest worry for the newly crowned Greek champions is the availability of first-choice keeper Jose Sa, who is doubtful following an injury in training. Thus, rookie keeper Bobby Allain could take his place.
Former Sporting CP and Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo, meanwhile, is suspended for the clash. Pape Abou Cisse may cover for him in defense.
Prediction & Betting Tip
Wolves have a home and an away goal advantage for the second leg, making them favorites. Mr Green has priced them 1.70 for victory on Thursday. A draw between the two sides is available at 3.7. But if you fancy an Olympiacos win, they’re 5.25 at the time of writing.
Going for under 2.5 goals seems to be another suitable option as the game at Molineux could be a close and cagey affair, with not a lot of goals.
Wolves have finished five of their six Premier League matches with under 2.5 goals scored. And while both their Round of 32 legs featured over 2.5 goals, Thursday should be a different story.
Olympiacos, meanwhile, have averaged over 2.5 goals in their last five matches in Greece. In the Europa League, however, they’ve only finished with over 2.5 goals in one of their three fixtures.
Anytime Goalscorer – Raul Jimenez
The Mexican forward has been brilliant all season for Wolves, with 17 goals in the Premier League.
Raul Jimenez has also scored nine goals in his 10 Europa League outings this term, taking his tally to an impressive 26 goals. He’s also chipped in 10 assists for the West Midlands club.
The 29-year-old could be decisive for Nuno’s side on Thursday as bookmakers such as Betfair, Paddy Power, and Unibet tip him 5/4 on Odds Checker to get on the scoresheet.
* Odds correct at time of writing.