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Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Braga

Wolverhampton Wanderers head into the Europa League group stages having failed to win any of their opening five Premier League games of the season.

Braga have endured a similar struggle with just one win from the same amount of fixtures leaving them in 16th position in Portugal’s top flight.

Match preview

Nuno Espirito Santo and his players continue to insist that their Europa League exploits during August have not hindered their domestic efforts, and there is some justification to their comments with several individual mistakes having undermined the team’s efforts in recent games.

However, it is difficult to overlook the mental and physical energy taken up in overcoming Torino in the final qualifying round of this competition, given the importance of taking advantage of last season’s seventh-placed finish in the Premier League.

The club’s owners will no doubt want Nuno to place high priority on going as far as possible in Europe as they look to build their fanbase around the world, although the head coach will already have one eye on important top-flight games against Crystal Palace and Watford.

Whether it is in league or continental action, though, a solution needs to be found after shipping eight goals against Everton and Chelsea respectively, with Wolves at risk of losing the aura which has served them so well over the past two years.

While the squad will be grateful for their first match being at Molineux, they would have hoped for easier opponents than a Braga outfit who also have the potential to go deep into the tournament.

Like their hosts on Thursday, their league form has left a lot to be desired, especially in the aftermath of getting the better of Spartak Moscow at the end of August.

The fact that each of these two clubs have under-performed having come through the same schedule is probably no coincidence, and it is now up to Nuno and Ricardo Sa Pinto to find a solution going forward.

Such has been their respective form that both bosses will likely be content with a point apiece from the showdown in the West Midlands, although victory may prove to be the difference between qualification and elimination by the middle of December.

Wolverhampton Wanderers form: DWDWLL

Braga form: LWDWLL

Schedule

September 22, 2019
Crystal Palace 1:00 PM Wolverhampton Wanderers
September 28, 2019
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2:00 PM Watford

 

Results

September 14, 2019
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 5 Chelsea
September 1, 2019
Everton 3 - 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers