Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Crusaders

, KO: 19:45 Jul 25, 2019, Molineux
Crusaders

MEMORIES will come flooding back for fans of a certain vintage when Wolverhampton Wanderers make their long-awaited return to the European arena.

Wolves were one of the early English pioneers in European competition, facing the likes of Barcelona, Red Star Belgrade, Schalke and Rangers in the late 50s and early 60s.

And in 1972 they went all the way to the UEFA Cup Final, seeing off Juventus before being pipped at the post by Spurs in the showpiece.

But it's almost 40 years since they last graced the European arena, bowing out of the 1980-81 UEFA Cup in the first round to Dutch masters PSV Eindhoven.

Having welcomed some of the biggest names in football to Molineux during those glory days, older fans might see it as a bit of a comedown to host tiny Crusaders in their first game back.

But most of the supporters who will pack the stadium to the rafters will have no memory of those previous adventures and will relish being part of a European campaign.

Plenty of English teams have viewed the Europa League as an unwelcome distraction in recent seasons but I can't see that happening to Wolves.

Like Burnley last season, they will see Europe as something to be savoured rather than endured, even though many blamed the Clarets' poor start to last season on the demands of fighting on two fronts.

I never subscribed to that theory anyway, given Burnley played just three ties – against Aberdeen, Basaksehir and Olympiakos – before bowing out.

Wolves look better equipped for a longer Euro return and I would be surprised if they failed to make the group stage, even though a tricky tie with Jablonec potentially awaits if they see off Crusaders.

It has been a quiet summer so far in the transfer market for Nuno Espirito Santo, only turning the loan signings of Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker into permanent deals.

The Wolves boss wants more new faces as he builds a squad to fight on two fronts but last season's team should have more than enough quality to take care of Crusaders.

The Northern Irish side won both legs against Torshavn in the last round for a 5-2 aggregate victory but this is a huge step up in class and they are as big as 100/1 with some firms for a Molineux win.

Wolves are 1/50 with most bookies and even a home win with a clean sheet is a best 2/7 with Boylesports. To get any value you need to be a bit creative but even Wolves scoring over 3.5 goals is short at 1/2 with Bet365.

Despite having a hugely impressive campaign last season, Wanderers rarely dished out a hiding, even against lower-league opposition in the cup.

They won by more than a two-goal margin just once, a 3-0 victory over West Ham, so I would be wary of backing them to rack up a cricket score here. For that reason, I fancy Wolves to score under 4.5 goals, which is 7/10 at Coral. If you're looking for a correct score then try 3-0 for Santo's side, which is 27/4 with Sportingbet.

Wolves have been pretty impressive in pre-season, beating Newcastle 4-0 in China before defeating Manchester City on penalties to lift the Premier League Asia Trophy.

That has boosted confidence in the ranks and the feelgood factor should continue with a comfortable win against the Northern Irish minnows.

I was hugely impressed by Diogo Jota last term and the forward should get off the mark against limited opposition. The bookies have still to price up the anytime scorer market but Jota is 5/2 with William Hill to score in both halves and that looks a decent option.

You can also get a bit of value by betting on when the first goal will be scored. William Hill offer 13/10 on it coming in the first 15 minutes and that looks a bit overpriced.

This match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crusaders will be played on Jul 25, 2019 and kick off at 19:45

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Crusaders Betting Tips & Predictions
Wolves to score under 4.5 goals
7/10
Coral
First goal to come in first 15 minutes
13/10
William Hill
Diogo Jota to score in both halves
5/2
William Hill

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14 Comments
  1. overtwo 4 weeks ago

    I think this post is way off. I’m sorry but wolves will put the crues to the sword. I’d be very shocked if they don’t score 5 or more. A team of that quality against an part amatuer team is bound to tell. The only concern I would have is if wolves play their 2nds.
    Only my opinion being from NI and following irish league.

    • Mr Fixit 4 weeks ago

      Wolves should win comfortably but remember what’s happened with English teans at this stage in the past.
      It’s their first competitive game and pretty early in their preparations.
      Burnley for example needed extra time to beat Aberdeen last season.

    • maccathered 4 weeks ago

      Under 4.5 goals is a ridiculous bet and even more ridiculous tipping under 4.5 as we all know their should be 6 or 7.

    • maccathered 4 weeks ago

      That comment may sound a bit harsh,i mean Barmy to tip under 4.5 goals in a kind way,not only will Wolves use this as their pre season they can’t rotate players,so they will see where they are at,i see 6 or 7 goals without reply.

  2. overtwo 4 weeks ago

    Mr f I know you’re from Scotland and are well versed on the spl and leagues below but I would never compare the spl to the Irish league. Yes theres the odd good player in the IL but it’s alot lower standard. I’d fully expect wolves to kill the game off in the first leg and the more senior players won’t travel over to play on the 3g pitch the crues play on.

    • Mr Fixit 4 weeks ago

      You could easily compare the two these days.
      Wolves won’t be at full strength tonight never mind next week.
      Probably play in 2nd gear and win 3-0 or 4-0.

  3. cairnzy1878 4 weeks ago

    I’m from Northern Ireland myself MR F, crusaders ground (seaview) is about a 15min drive from myself. Wolves should win this 4 or 5 tonight. I would of liked to see the first leg being over in Northern Ireland as we are a bit on the mad side over here lol fans could of made a bit of a hostile atmosphere and when that happens anything can happen. The 3G style pitch can be a nightmare as well. With the 1st leg being at wolves its definitely dead and buried before the whistles even blew.

    • Mr Fixit 4 weeks ago

      Yeah can’t argue with that but I don’t think Wolves will go full pelt. I’d be surprised if it was six or seven.

    • maccathered 4 weeks ago

      These are Premier League mr f,the gulf is astronomical,they will ant the job doing at home as the premier league starts soon,(thank god).

  4. KevinMac 4 weeks ago

    Wow, seem to have sparked a bit of a backlash here. Let’s see how it pans out. My only defence is that if under 4.5 goals is such a ridiculous bet, why are the bookies pricing it odds-on?

    • Mr Fixit 4 weeks ago

      No bet that wins is a ridiculous bet. Scott had Red Star to win and under 4.5 goals last night on his winning double.

  5. craigyboy 4 weeks ago

    Very dangerous backing under in any game.
    Talk of Wolves playing a weakened team is way off the mark in my opinion. I fully expect Nuno to go with the side that won the Asian Cup last week. We are using these games as pre-season friendly alternatives.
    This will be the team I reckon: Patricio, Traore, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Moutinho, Neves, Dendoncker, Gibbs-White, Jota
    I reckon there will be a couple of younger players in Sanderson and Taylor on the bench. Doherty is out with an injury and can’t see Raul Jimenez or Saiss featuring as only just returned from their international sides although both may be on the bench.
    I’m sure Nuno will be keen to get the job done so he can mix it up next week in the 2nd leg. Interestingly Wolves highest win in a European competition is 5-0 and I’m sure Nuno will be keen to better than this in front of a full house at Molineux.
    Personally I think it could be a long night for the Northern Irish visitors and reckon we’ll be looking at notching 6 or 7.
    I reckon the 1st half handicap of -2 at odds of around 2/1 is where the value is. Wolves will want the job done in the first 45-60mins and may ease off in the second half slightly but this will be tougher on the visitors.
    Wolves 6-0 Crusaders

  6. bobreaksbookies 4 weeks ago

    Well played… a cracking pick and must have felt even sweeter with the know-it-all’s rubbishing it before-hand.

    • KevinMac 3 weeks ago

      Thanks Bob, I’ll keep a diplomatic silence.

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