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Predicted Wolves XI to face Aston Villa

Wolves are taking on Aston Villa tonight in the Premier League.

After winning his first two games, Julen Lopetegui suffered a first defeat as Molineux head coach in the club’s final game of 2022 against Manchester United.

Wolves played well against the Red Devils.

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

But they came up short thanks to wastefulness in front of goal. By contrast, Marcus Rashford made no mistake with a chance in the second-half.

It was a frustrating one to take. But Lopetegui will have been encouraged by what he saw from his players.

There was a greater defensive solidity than in previous weeks.

Aston Villa will be a tough game. Unai Emery has made a decent start at Villa Park, and of course already knows a bit about Lopetegui’s style and tactics.

Here’s how Lopetegui may try and outwit his fellow countryman this evening…

Predicted Wolves XI to face Aston Villa – Matheus Cunha to start, Boubacar Traore returns

Jose Sa has looked much better for Wolves since returning from the World Cup and needs to be on top form again this evening.

Wolves were fairly good against United defensively and so Lopetegui may plump for the same back four of Nelson Semedo, Nathan Collins, Maximilian Kilman and Hugo Bueno.

Semedo had another poor outing last time out. But Jonny Castro Otto is in arguably even worse form right now.

Photo by Isaac Parkin – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

In midfield, it’s very likely Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes will be starting again. It’s just about who could potentially join them.

Perhaps for some physicality, Lopetegui will turn to Boubacar Traore for the first time.

The 21-year-old was back on the bench for Wolves against United after shaking off an injury, and may be ready to go against Villa. He’d probably be a good match-up against Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz.

In attack, there could be a couple of changes.

Daniel Podence could keep his place as Wolves’ main creator of chances.

But Diego Costa and Hwang Hee-chan may both drop out. Neither player made much of an impact last time out.

Adama Traore could return to the starting XI on the right wing. And new signing Matheus Cunha may be deployed through the middle.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

The Brazilian has been training with his new teammates, and could just bring something different.

It hasn’t been working with Costa, and Raul Jimenez is still lacking match sharpness.

Many Wanderers fans would love to see him thrown straight in, against a side that reportedly wanted to sign him for themselves. How sweet it would be if he scored a winning goal this evening.

Wolves (4-3-3): Sa/Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno/Neves, Nunes, B.Traore/A.Traore, Cunha, Podence.