Wolves and West Ham are currently circling the drain near the foot of the table and looking to generate some much-needed momentum to avoid getting dragged into a relegation scrap for the second half of the campaign. Their comparable woes amplify the significance of this showdown which, at this stage of the season, is already looking like a proverbial six-pointer.
The hosts sought to arrest their early-season struggles with the sacking of Bruno Lage and subsequent appointment of Julen Lopetegui during the winter pause. Their audacious bid to recruit a high-profile tactician has paid dividends so far, with the club recording two victories in their last three Premier League games, including a win over Everton.
The Hammers meanwhile have decided to show loyalty to a manager who masterminded a Europa League semi-final run last term. That trust was extended to the club coffers as David Moyes was sanctioned a transfer kitty in the region of £200m to bolster his squad. That summer splurge hasn’t quite translated to good form yet, with the club hovering outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
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Wolves vs West Ham match stats
Tomas Soucek appears undroppable in the eyes of Moyes, who has retained faith in the lanky ball destroyer despite a few calls from fans to experiment with Lucas Paqueta in a deeper role with Declan Rice. The reason for this is largely due to Soucek’s defensive capabilities, a facet of his game Moyes feels West Ham cannot afford to lose. In fact, only Joao Palhinha (84), Tyler Adams (60) and Pascal Struijk (52) have registered more tackles than Soucek (51) this season.
As for who might provide the goals for either club. Jarrod Bowen has netted four times in his last five Premier League games against Wolves, scoring more goals against them than he has any other opponent in the competition. For the hosts, Daniel Podence may prove the difference-maker. The diminutive winger has nabbed two goals in his last three Premier League games for Wolves, as many as he had in his 19 appearances prior.
The match also carries a fascinating sub-plot after Moyes revealed in his pre-match press conference on Friday that Wolves had tabled an offer for West Ham centre-back Craig Dawson.
It is believed the defender is seeking a move north of London this month for family reasons, but Moyes confirmed the club have rejected Wolves’ offer.
“We’ve had an offer from Wolves, we’ve not accepted it and that’s as much as I can tell you,” said Moyes.
01 Oct 2022 – West Ham 2-0 Wolves – Premier League
27 Feb 2022 – West Ham 1-0 Wolves – Premier League
20 Nov 2021 – Wolves 1-0 West Ham – Premier League
05 Apr 2021 – Wolves 2-3 West Ham – Premier League
27 Sep 2020 – West Ham 4-0 Wolves – Premier League
West Ham have only won four games this season, and one of those was against Wolves back in October. The Hammers secured a 2-0 victory thanks to Gianluca Scamacca’s first Premier League goal for the club, and another finish from Bowen, his first of the season.
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