Wolves are taking on Arsenal today in their final Premier League game of 2022/23 and thankfully, the fixture does not have anything major riding on it.
A few months ago, many Wanderers fans feared the team would need to get a result against the Gunners to stay up.
But ultimately, Wolves sealed their safety with three games to spare.
Julen Lopetegui was able to work his magic to get the points needed. And so Wolves can play today with freedom.
But Wolves have not really been at the races since preserving their Premier League status, losing to Manchester United and then drawing last weekend with Everton.
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Today they take on an Arsenal side who have really been faltering in recent weeks.
Their challenge for the Premier League title came up short. So for them is this a dead rubber game. But they will still want to finish with a win.
Wolves could potentially leapfrog Chelsea in 12th with a win (if they lose to Newcastle United).
But Wanderers could potentially slip as low as 15th if other results go against them.
Here’s an XI Lopetegui – who will serve a one-game touchline ban today – could go with in the final game of the season…
Predicted Wolves XI to face Arsenal – Raul Jimenez starts as Julen Lopetegui makes three changes from Everton
Lopetegui may start number two Dan Bentley again, as there is no real need to play Jose Sa.
Bentley will feel he could have done better on Everton’s equaliser last weekend and be looking to shine as he did against United.
It’s the final game of the season, so maybe we will see Jonny Castro Otto. It was a mystery why he was there last weekend, but it would be good to see the Spaniard feature in the final game. The £15 million has not played for Wolves since mid-March.
Nathan Collins and Craig Dawson could continue in the middle, and maybe Toti Gomes will again keep his place.
Lopetegui is clearly very taken by Toti. Perhaps Rayan Ait-Nouri could start having not played for Wolves since mid-March. But the head coach may not want to just throw him straight back in against the second-best team in the league.
In midfield, Ruben Neves could make his final ever appearance for Wolves. He appeared to be waving goodbye to fans last weekend at Molineux.
Joao Gomes should play again. He’s the future, and Lopetegui should hand him the chance to shine.
Out wide, we could see Hwang Hee-chan play from the left. The South Korean put in a great shift against Everton and doesn’t really deserve to be dropped.
On the right, Adama Traore may start for the final time for Wolves. He’s out of contract this summer, and the indications have been that he won’t be extending.
In attack, Matheus Cunha could play as a second striker. Wolves are just a better team with the Brazilian in it.
And then leading the line, for potentially the final team, could be Raul Jimenez.
Lopetegui not giving him any minutes last weekend was very disappointing. The manager even suggested in his post-match press conference that he had made a mistake.
Jimenez deserves the chance to play. He could be leaving this summer and given that is a possibility, he should be handed a start.
Who knows if something has happened between him and Lopetegui. But surely it’s something that can be forgotten for one game.
Wolves can beat Arsenal. The Gunners aren’t finishing the season well, and the potential to finish above Chelsea should be the motivation for Wanderers.
Wolves (4-4-1-1): Bentley/Jonny, Collins, Dawson, Toti/A. Traore, Neves, Joao Gomes, Hwang/Cunha/Jimenez.