Wolves vs Norwich
City Preview: Hosts continue the hunt for Europe
Wolves defeated Norwich 2-1 at Carrow Road (Photo: Getty Images)

Diego Jota’s Europa League hat-trick against Espanyol was a welcome sight for Wolves after netting just once in their last three Premier League contests, picking up a mere two points in the process – albeit, against Liverpool, Man United and Leicester City.

Meanwhile, Norwich City have tightened up defensively with just three goals conceded in the last four but are also winless in their last trio of contests, scoring only three league goals since the turn of the year.

With Wolves five points adrift of the top four and Norwich stranded seven points from safety going into the final third of the season, this is a crucial contest for both clubs on Sunday afternoon.

Slow burner

Wolves may well be wondering where they could be if they started games more efficiently. With just six defeats thus far, joint with Manchester City and Leicester and only behind undefeated Liverpool, their top goalscorer Raul Jimenez has failed to open the scoring all season – seven of his eleven strikes have been equalisers.

The hosts have scored 26 of their 35 league goals in the second half, conceding only five in the last 30 minutes – a record at least twice as good as any other team.

But being tough to beat is a distant dream for Norwich who don’t fare well if they concede first, the only side not to pick up a point from such situations, and with just four wins all season.

Whilst Wolves have scored a modest four first half goals at Molineux this season, Norwich have netted just once on the road before half-time.

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The Traore factor

Not one player remains from the 2-2 draw the last time these two sides met in the West Midlands for a Premier League encounter, all of eight years ago, but Wolves came from behind to take the points at Carrow Road earlier this season.

Todd Cantwell opened the scoring that day and he could be a key figure at both ends of the pitch on Sunday afternoon.

With Sam Byram out through a hamstring injury, Jamal Lewis is likely to deputise at left-back against the man who has completed more dribbles than anyone else this season, Adama Traore.

The flying winger is only behind Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold for number of Premier League assists, thus Byram will be looking for Cantwell’s support against the side that have attacked down the right more than any other Premier League side this season.

The Traore to Jimenez partnership is second only to De Bruyne for Sergio Aguero in number of goals scored for 2019-20.

Unlucky 13

However, Norwich are in their best shape of the season in terms of personnel available. Other than Byram, Timm Klose is the only absentee.

As for Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo can also call upon almost a full squad with just Ruben Vinagre the solitary doubt.

Both sides will be hoping that 13 isn’t their unlucky number on Sunday – Wolves are bidding to avoid their 13th draw of the season, whilst leaving without a win will be the 13th time in the last 14 visits to Wolves that Norwich have failed to grasp victory and also the 13th time in their last 14 Premier League games they have missed out on maximum points.

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