20 min: Costa tries to play Jota in with a one-touch pass but overcooks it a little and Jota, second-favourite now against Bardsley, has to foul him. For all Wolves’ superiority they’re yet to create a clear chance. Barnes blasts well off target from an improbable position at the other end.
18 min: Burnley don’t look very good on the ball at all, thus far. But they’re not being given much time on it. Looking like a tough afternoon on early evidence.
17 min: Barnes, who hasn’t scored in eight games, gets a quarter of a sniff – if that – on the left side of the box and rushes a harmless shot into the arms of Patricio.
14 min: Another Wolves corner, won a little fortunately from Tarkowski after Jonny played Jota into an area where not much was on. This time it’s passed out to Costa beyond the edge of the box, but his rather tentative shot is blocked before it can get anywhere near goal.
12 min: Not sure we’re in for many goals today but Wolves look very assertive when they step the pressure up. They’ve asked the questions so far.
10 min: Doherty, heavily involved down that right flank, earns another corner. The cavalry come up. It’s played short to Costa, who whips in a superb left-footed ball – and Hart has to dive in very bravely to parry the ball away with Boly lurking in a crowded box.
9 min: Plenty of Wolves possession here. They do like that diagonal crossfield ball from Coady, their spare centre-back, out to the wing-backs. He tries one for Doherty, who heads into the area, but Gudmundsson covers astutely and draws a foul.
6 min: They do make some ground. Gudmundsson is tackled superbly on the edge of the area by Bennett as he looks to shoot and, shortly afterwards, does get a crack at goal in but slices very well wide.
4 min: And now Hart has to get down a smother a low Jota shot, although the forward didn’t really get a good purchase on it. Burnley not exactly under relentless pressure but need to get an early foot on the ball.
3 min: Now Hart has to leave his area to boot away a long pass towards Jimenez. Strong start here by the home side.
2 min: Doherty gets forward well to win an early corner for Wolves. Who said he can’t drive towards the line? Neves aims it towards Boly at the near post but Burnley smuggle it away.
The teams are striding out. There are fireworks. “Out there boys, out there, come on!” yells a Burnley voice in the tunnel. It’s almost time …
Happiness in Wolverhampton.
Burnley actually have FIVE senior goalkeepers, don’t they – even if Nick Pope is injured. Anders Lindegaard and Adam Legzdins are also there. Most fans would presumably trade one of them for, say, a top-class forward.
Joe Hart is having a Frank Conversation in a dark room with Sky. He’d love to play for England again. “I was absolutely gutted and … other words … that I wasn’t in the World Cup squad,” he says. Now he’s centre stage in Burnley’s rather, errr, well-stocked group of England goalkeepers.
For your reading pleasure, a fine interview by the also very fine Stuart James with the equally fine Matt Doherty, of Wolves:
Told you it was old-school. Proper football clubs, places and venues both.
Any Burnley supporters in the hoooouuuuuuse? Tell me – are you worried? Is it too early to be worried? Do you think there’s only so far things can be taken in their current form? Should we all just chill out?
And Wolves fans – are you loving this? Unfettered riches, global names, nice football. I very much enjoyed the atmosphere at Molineux when I covered the Everton game on the opening day. Or does it feel a bit artificial, all this? Are you conflicted? I don’t know – I’m genuinely asking.
The takeaway from that team news? Wolves select the same XI for the fifth game running. It means no starting place yet for Adama Traore, scorer of that late winner against West Ham.
Burnley make three changes from the home defeat to Manchester United. Vokes, Barnes and Gudmundsson replace Wood, Westwood and McNeil.
Wolves: Rui Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Neves, Joao Moutinho, Jonny, Helder Costa, Jimenez, Jota. Subs: Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Saiss, Vinagre, Hause, Bonatini, Traore.
Burnley: Hart, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Lennon, Hendrick, Cork, Gudmundsson, Barnes, Vokes. Subs: Heaton, Lowton, Wood, Westwood, Ward, Vydra, Long.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Quite an old-world feeling about this fixture, isn’t there? Except today it’s cut-and-thrust, cutting-edge, decidedly serious Premier League action – and there’s plenty of “narrative” to get our teeth into.
Wolves go into this one feeling pretty darn happy after getting one over West Ham – the continuation of whose death march you can follow later on – and have made a very solid start to life in the top flight. They’ll be absolutely fine this season; the real question, I think, is whether they have the ingenuity and firepower to string a number of wins together and make a play for the top half. It’s not beyond them. That Moutinho-Neves axis will be formidable when it gets going and the system looks very well-drilled. Just need to make sure they can score enough, I think.
Burnley’s problems are a little bigger. It’s probably a relief that a squad this stretched has gone out of Europe but that doesn’t automatically bring Premier League results. Is this the season Dycheball falls short? I have a feeling it might be, you know. When Burnley are 10% short of their gut-busting maximum I think they’re in real trouble, and that’s been the case too often so far this season. They need a win, sharpish, and silencing Molineux would be a good way to get their season going.
All this talk and conjecture will, as ever, be rendered null and void when the action starts. And it does soon, at 1.30pm UK time. Stay close, and get your emails and tweets in. Enjoy!