Wolves face Aston Villa in the Premier League tonight in the club’s first game of 2023.
Wanderers are looking to get back on track after narrowly losing to Manchester United on New Year’s Eve.
Wolves came close to getting a much deserved point at Molineux. But Marcus Rashford scored in the closing stages, leaving supporters very frustrated.
The players will not have had too much time to dwell on that result though.
Hopefully, the positives things from the performance against United will be at the forefront of the players’ minds at Villa Park.
It will be a tough game.
Villa have just beaten Tottenham Hotspur and will be feeling good heading in
Unai Emery has been in the job just over a couple of months and has had a decent start. He’s overseen three wins and a couple of defeats so far.
It will be fascinating to watch a West Midlands Derby where both clubs have recently brought in two top managers from Spain.
Lopetegui is looking forward to meeting his fellow countryman, saying in his press conference yesterday: “We know each other a lot. He’s from the same part of Spain, the Basque Country, so I know him a lot and he knows me a lot, so tomorrow we are going to find each other again.
“I think he’s a very good coach, he has showed this in England, in Spain and in France, and he’s doing a very good job in his short amount of time at Aston Villa.”
They’ve both just arrived in the Premier League from La Liga, but what is Lopetegui’s record against Emery?
What is Julen Lopetegui’s managerial record against Unai Emery?
Lopetegui has come up against Emery five times in the past – and his record is not too bad. He’s won two, drawn two and lost one, giving him a points-per-match of 1.60.
All of the meetings have taken place in the last two years and of course, all in Spain, with Lopetegui managing Sevilla and Emery managing Villarreal.
Lopetegui masterminded a 2-0 win over Emery in their first meeting in La Liga on 29 December 2020. But in the reverse league fixture on 16 May 2021, Villarreal hammered Sevilla 4-0.
The following season, Lopetegui recorded a 1-0 win at home, with the reverse a 1-1 draw.
And earlier this season, the last meeting between the two again ended in a 1-1 draw.
It should be cracking game tomorrow, with goals having always been scored in games involving two really good managers.
The Wolves boss is slightly ahead right now, and hopefully Lopetegui will improve his record further this evening.