Wolverhampton Wanderers return to Premier League motion away at fellow strugglers West Ham United on Saturday night, with Bruno Lage’s facet at present simply two factors forward of the 18th-placed Hammers.
It has confirmed a tough begin to the brand new season for the Midlands facet with only a solitary victory from their opening seven video games, having most just lately suffered defeat by the hands of Manchester Metropolis previous to the worldwide break.
The Previous Gold have seemingly not been helped, nonetheless, by a variety of damage considerations, with summer season signing Sasa Kalajdzic notably struggling a merciless ACL blow on debut following his £15.5m arrival from Stuttgart final month.
With the 6 foot 7 menace out of motion, the Molineux outfit have additionally been hampered additional by the continued damage woes of one-time talisman Raul Jimenez, with the Mexican having been pressured to miss the loss to Pep Guardiola’s facet final day out.
The 31-year-old – who scored 30 Premier League objectives throughout his first two seasons in England after becoming a member of in 2018 – has maybe unsurprisingly struggled for kind since his return from a life-threatening head damage final yr, having scored simply six top-flight objectives in the course of the 2021/22 marketing campaign.
That somewhat meagre tally had nonetheless made the previous Benfica man his facet’s prime scorer final time period – alongside Daniel Podence – proving that the membership are nonetheless far too closely reliant on him to ship the products.
As such, it is going to be a notable blow that the £13.5m-rated man may very well be absent for a short while longer but, along with his nationwide group coach Gerardo Martino suggesting in current days that his “damage is worrying”, with the participant prone to be dealing with a race towards time to be match for the upcoming World Cup.
Amid that concern, Lage should merely now flip to current addition Diego Costa, no matter his match health, to steer the road towards David Moyes’ males this weekend, with Wolves in want of an actual focus in assault having been significantly purpose shy of late.
This season has seen them rating simply three instances in seven league video games to date, having additionally solely netted at a fee of a purpose a recreation within the top-flight final season, with solely the three relegated sides scoring fewer objectives throughout the division.
Ought to Costa begin vs West Ham?
Whereas not at his peak, the 33-year-old Costa is undoubtedly an actual handful to cope with for any defence, having notably been lauded by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as an “animal” for his aggressive and no-holds-barred method.
Not simply one thing of a warrior, the two-time Premier League winner – who was signed on a free switch earlier this month following Kalajdzic’s damage – additionally extra importantly is aware of the place the purpose is, having scored 52 objectives in simply 89 league video games throughout his time at Stamford Bridge.
A participant with 187 membership profession objectives to his identify, the £50k-per-week brute most just lately scored 5 objectives in simply 19 video games at former membership Atletico Mineiro final yr, serving to the Brazilian outfit to a league title triumph within the course of.
The ageing gem had missed the conflict with Metropolis attributable to a scarcity of match health having been a free agent since January, though is now again in full coaching and certain raring to go to make his Wolves debut, with Lage merely having no actual choice however to throw the mercurial expertise into the fray.
If the Spain worldwide’s earlier document towards West Ham is something to go by – with three objectives and an help in simply six conferences – then he may nicely show to be the distinction maker.