Might be a little early to declare something the Match of the Season, but the Battle of the Bridge Part Two had just about everything last week. Tottenham Hotspur was mostly outplayed, but will happily take a draw at Stamford Bridge every time, even if it does mean (potentially) losing Antonio Conte temporarily.
The season continues on with or without him as Tottenham returns home to host Wolverhampton Wanderers, again in the first few weeks of the season. Last year had the extra element of Nuno Espírito Santo facing his old club, but 363 days later Tottenham looks like a completely different side, from personnel to passion to potential.
Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably no better off that that fixture last August, with many suspecting that this could be a rough campaign ahead. Though the sides split the results last season — including a loss under Conte — the two squads enter the 2022/23 season with very different hopes and expectations.
Tottenham Hotspur (t-3rd, 4pts) vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (t-14th, 1pt)
Date: Saturday, August 20
Time: 7:30 am ET, 12:30 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: USA Network (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK)
After consecutive seventh-place finishes, Wolves have landed 13th and 10th, with last season ending with a pathetic 0-2-5 stretch for Bruno Lage. Scoring was a huge challenge throughout the year and there is not a ton of optimism about that changing, as some believe the club could actually find itself near the relegation battle as the calendar turns.
The start to the season has justified that belief so far. Wolves collected just one point against Leeds and Fulham, scoring one total goal on 1.0 xG/90. The team is certainly held up by its defense, which has only conceded a pair of goals so far, so this might be a low-event type team that hopes to score opportunistically and stay afloat, at least near the middle of the table.
- Aug 2021: 0-1 win, away (Dele-pen)
- Sep 2021: 2-2 win (PK), away — League Cup (Ndombele, Kane)
- Feb 2022: 0-2 loss, home
Two early wins at Molineux seemed like a good start for Nuno against him former club, but Tottenham’s lack of dominance in those contests were signs of what was to come, as more and more poor performances led to his departure. Ironically, those wins were much better than Conte’s result, as his squad fell to an inferior Wolves side during its poor run of form in February.
Spurs were less than elite against Chelsea despite the positive result, but given the team’s dominance of Southampton on the opening weekend, there is really only one result to expect on Saturday. The loss of Cristian Romero is extremely unfortunate, but even without him it is hard to see the visitors creating many chances, so the Tottenham defense should be just fine.
Wolves do not have a top-tier backline, but it could be a bit of a task getting clear shots on net. Dejan Kulusevski had a stellar first match and Harry Kane is coming off a massive equalizer last weekend, so now would be a great time for Heung-Min Son to come alive. It is only a matter of time before the Golden Boot winner returns back to form, and this is a prime opportunity for a few moments of individual skill to be put on display.