Two Premier League sides meet in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend, as Wolves welcome Crystal Palace to Molineux on Friday night. Wolverhampton have recorded a couple of relatively comfortable victories over the Eagles since football restarted in front of empty stadiums, with the absent Wanderers fans hoping for more of the same here.
Where and when: Molineux Stadium – 8 January, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Wolves vs. Crystal Palace: BT Sport
Last time: Rayan Ait-Nouri and Daniel Podence were on target as Wolves beat Palace 2-0 at Molineux towards the end of October.
Wolves v Crystal Palace Predictions and Preview
Since Wolverhampton Wanderers returned to the top flight in 2018, they have won three of their five matches against Crystal Palace. The Eagles have only won once, although that was a 2-0 success at Molineux in January 2019.
A repeat of that result here looks unlikely, with Palace not in the best form over the festive period. Roy Hodgson’s side did however end their five-match winless run last time out, beating Premier League basement boys Sheffield United 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Not long after that game, Wolverhampton threw away a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with a struggling Brighton side. Those results mean Wolves and Palace start this game 13th and 14th in the Premier League table, locked on 22 points after each playing 17 times.
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Wolves to win and BTTS
Wolves to win 2-1
Wolves to win by one goal
However, despite their lowly positions, the two clubs are only four points off the European places. Building some momentum in the cup could prove transformative for either team’s fortunes, as they bid to climb the congested standings as we head towards the second half of the campaign.
Both clubs exited the FA Cup in the third round last season, although Wolves had a much tougher fixture. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side went down 1-0 away to Manchester United, while Palace lost by the same scoreline at home to Championship outfit Derby County.
Luka Milivojevic saw red in that game, and the Palace captain has been in the news for the wrong reasons once again this week due to his New Year’s Eve Covid-19 indiscretions. Hodgson is unlikely to punish his skipper with an exile this weekend though, especially given his lengthy injury list.
Jeffrey Schlupp, Gary Cahill, Connor Wickham, Martin Kelly and Nathan Ferguson are all among the absentees for Palace. Wolves, meanwhile, could have Willy Boly back for this game, but Raul Jimenez remains sidelined following his sickening clash of heads. Jonny Castro and Leander Dendoncker are also out.
Despite missing their main man up top Jimenez, Wolves have the greater quality throughout their team. They are the 21/20 favourites for the win, while you can back the away team at 3/1 in this Wolves v Crystal Palace preview. With no replays this season due to the impact of coronavirus, a draw after 90 minutes is priced at 12/5, with Wolves 1/2 to qualify and Palace 6/4.
One to watch for Wolves: Daniel Podence has scored two goals in two appearances against Palace, with one of those the opener in last season’s Premier League meeting between the clubs at Molineux.
One to watch for Crystal Palace: Eberechi Eze scored a sublime individual effort against Sheffield United last weekend, with Palace fans hoping the exciting youngster showcases his close control and silky touch once again here.
Long shot: These teams needed a replay the last time they met in the FA Cup, following a 2-2 draw at Molineux in the first game back in January 2010. The same score after normal time here is priced at 17/1. Palace won the replay at Selhurst Park 3-1, with that result available at 45/1.