Wolverhampton at Leicester City Premier League Pick August 18
Matchweek 2 of the 2018-19 campaign brings us several intriguing fixtures, but perhaps one of the more underrated matchups will be taking place at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. Leicester City, fresh off a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford in their opener, will host Championship winners and newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves played Everton to a 2-2 draw in their first match back in the English top flight this past weekend.
While the Foxes lost influential playmaker Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City over the summer, most expect this to be one of the better sides in the league this term. Despite the defeat, Leicester was able to put some fairly consistent pressure on David De Gea and the United defense in the first match, which will hopefully be a positive sign for the club moving forward. While a late Jamie Vardy header was all they had to show for their efforts, it’s looking as though Leicester will once again be a fearsome attacking side this season.
Harry Maguire was his standard strong self in the middle of the Leicester defense, while newcomer James Maddison also performed well in his debut for the club. Maguire and Vardy have only been back with the club for about a week following England’s deep run at this summer’s World Cup, so both players are still making their way back into match fitness. If the opener was any indication, however, neither player will need much time to round back into form.
The attacking trio of Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Adrien Silva looked plenty formidable against the Red Devils.
As for Wolves, goals from Ruben Nevez and Raul Jimenez helped the team come from behind on two separate occasions to earn the aforementioned 2-2 draw at home against Everton. Neves’ stunning strike from a set piece in the first half sent the supporters at Molineux into a frenzy.
The club were busy over the summer spending to improve a squad that breezed its way to the top spot in the Championship last season. Wolves spent big money on the likes of Middlesbrough’s Adama Traore, Atletico Madrid’s Diogo Jota, Bournemouth’s Benik Afobe and Porto’s Willy Boly to help fortify the side. Jimenez also came in on loan from Benfica, while the Portuguese tandem of Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho will give Wolverhampton plenty of experience. Jota spent last season on loan with Wolves but impressed enough to earn himself a permanent move.
However, it wasn’t all roses for Wolves in the opener, as they struggled to put away an Everton side that was reduced to 10 men around the 40th minute. The fact that they had to settle for a share of the spoils on their home turf despite playing the majority of the match with a man advantage isn’t really all that encouraging.
Of the match, manager Nuno Espirito Santo said, “I am satisfied with the way we came back, always being behind and then drawing. The character of the team is the positive aspect. We are in a process of developing and growing as a group and there are positive things to take into the next game, for sure.”
Incorporating all of the new faces won’t be easy. This isn’t necessarily the same side we saw have an easy go of it last season. Still, the spending spree should pay dividends eventually. That said, some growing pains along the way should be expected. Santo won’t be able to mold this into a cohesive unit immediately, as we saw against the Toffees. There are still some kinks that need working out.
Containing Jota and Neves will be priority No. 1 for Leicester in this one. Jota bagged himself 17 goals in 40 appearances for Wolves last season, while Neves, playing his first season in the Premier League, figures to emerge as one of the brightest young stars in England. The 21-year-old club record signing rose to prominence with Porto before joining Wolves in July of last year. He scored the team’s opener with his aforementioned free kick and assisted on Jimenez’ equalizer later in the match.
Oddsmakers have installed Leicester as fairly substantial favorites here at -106 to win outright on the moneyline. While I think the Foxes will wind up picking up all 3 points here, I am at least somewhat intrigued at the prospect of getting a team as talented as Wolves at +255. Leicester make for the smart bet, however, especially after failing to come up with any points in their opener against Manchester United. I think we see a determined effort out of Claude Puel’s side, so give me Leiceseter at -106 on the moneyline.
$100 stake could win...