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In Focus: City v Wolves

30 October 2017

Norwich City will be looking to bounce back from a first league defeat in nine games when they welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Carrow Road.

The 2-1 loss to Derby County was City’s first defeat since August, but they have an immediate opportunity to get back to winning ways against high-flying Wolves.

The visitors went down 2-1 to QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday, as they missed the chance to return to the top of the table. They sit in second place on 29 points, seven ahead of the Canaries in eighth.

We take a look at what City can expect from Wolves.

The manager
Wolves kicked the summer off with a new man in the dugout following the departure of former Canaries boss Paul Lambert, with former Porto goalkeeper and boss Nuno Espírito Santo hired.

Nuno, 43, had a modest playing career. He was a bit-part player when Porto won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2004, and he made around 200 appearances for eight clubs in an 18-year career that spanned across Portugal, Spain and Russia.

In 2010 he moved into a coaching role, joining manager Jesualso Ferreira as goalkeeping coach at Malaga before the two of them moved to Panathinaikos. In May 2012 he got his first opportunity to manage a team, joining Portuguese side Rio Ave. He led them to European qualification for the first time in their history, as well as two domestic cup finals and a second-place finish in the league.

Unsurprisingly, that got the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs and he joined Valencia in 2014. In his first season he led them to the Champions League and picked up three manager of the month awards. His second season was less of a success, however, and he resigned.

His next challenge was returning to Porto as manager. He led them to second in the table behind Benfica last season, but despite that he stepped down and shortly afterwards took up the reigns at Wolves.

Summer signings
Nuno was busy in the summer transfer market, as Wolves transformed their squad from last season.

The most eye-catching signing was highly-rated young midfielder Ruben Neves, who joined from Porto – where he had played under Nuno. Neves, 20, was signed for an undisclosed fee, with Wolves saying it was a club record. Neves became the youngest captain in Champions League history when he led Porto against Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015. He has played in every Championship game so far for Wolves, and netted in their 3-2 win over Hull in August.

Also signed was Diogo Jota, on loan from Atletico Madrid. An attacking midfielder, he spent last season on loan at Porto alongside Neves, where he scored eight goals in 27 appearances. He has started the season in terrific form, finding the net seven times in 14 Championship appearances.

Nuno raided another of his former clubs, Rio Ave, to bring in centre-back Roderick Miranda, who came through the Benfica academy. He has helped Wolves keep seven clean sheets this season, and has been playing in front of former Canary John Ruddy, who has also been an ever-present in the league this season.

Ruddy was joined by former City centre-back Ryan Bennett in the summer. Although he has been a bit-part player in the league, he helped Wolves keep a clean sheet at the Etihad last week as the Championship side took Manchester City to penalties.

Form guide
Like Norwich, Wolves have enjoyed impressive away form so far this season. Both teams have collected 13 points on the road, with four wins, one draw and two defeats.

Their two losses on the road have come in their last three away matches, with a 2-1 defeat to QPR and a 2-0 loss at Sheffield United sandwiching a 4-0 win at Burton Albion. Nuno’s men have also enjoyed notable wins at Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Hull City – as well as a 2-0 victory at Southampton in the Carabao Cup.

As well as Jota’s goalscoring form, City will have to contend with striker Léo Bonatini. The Brazilian is on loan from Al-Hilal, and has already scored eight times this season – including five goals in his last four appearances.

In the squad
GOALKEEPERS: Carl Ikeme, John Ruddy, Will Norris,
DEFENDERS: Matt Doherty, Barry Douglas, Ryan Bennett, Danny Bath, Willy Boly, Conor Coady, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh, Roderick Miranda, Ruben Vinarge, Kortney Hause, Sylvain Deslandes,
MIDFIELDERS: Alfred N’Diaye, Ruben Neves, Ben Marshall, Jack Price, Connor Ronan, Romain Saiss,
FORWARDS: Ivan Cavaleiro, Michal Zyro, Helder Costa, Diogo Jota, Bright Enobakhare, Leo Bonatini

Coral are offering odds of 9/5 to win this evening. You can place your bet HERE.

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