Wolverhampton Wanderers will begin their Premier League campaign against Brendan Rodgers’s Leicester City today.
It will mark the beginning of a difficult month for Wolves. The trip to the King Power stadium comes before home games against Tottenham Hotspur then Manchester United.
Following Wolves’ last pre-season friendly against Celta Vigo, it is expected they will play a 3-4-3.
Meanwhile, Leicester were victorious in the Community Shield last Saturday, therefore Wolves will have to be extra vigilant.
Below are three ways that Wolves can overcome the challenge from the Foxes.
Stop crosses from the left
During the Foxes’ Community Shield victory against Manchester City, they targeted the Premier League champions through crosses down the left-hand-side.
According to FBRef, left-back Ryan Bertrand recorded the joint-most crosses in the game (4). In front of him, left-sided midfielder Harvey Barnes completed the joint-second most crosses in the game (3).
Demonstrated by their defeat to Celta Vigo last week, Wolves are susceptible to long-balls from opposing full-backs. They will need to be extra vigilant in doing this.
Nelson Semedo will be tasked with this responsibility and is expected to start right-wing back.
That being said, Leander Dendoncker, Francisco Trincao and Max Kilman should support Semedo also. Failing to do this will offer the foxes’ strikers Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka ample opportunity to create goalscoring chances.
Beating the press
Wolves fans should be hoping that their side play more intricate football this season. However, for their first game against Leicester, this is a high-risk strategy.
If Wolves play only two central midfielders, then it is likely that they will be outnumbered by Leicester in this area of the pitch. More worrying is the talent Saturday’s opponents have at their disposal; Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison are all elite operators.
Aside from Leicester’s midfield three being technically gifted, they have a tremendous work-rate as well. In the Community Shield, Ndidi and Tielemans achieved the most tackles and interceptions.
The one advantage Wolves have in this area of the pitch are there wing-backs. A way of bypassing the press could be Neves picking out the right and left wing-backs with regularity.
In order for him to do that they must constantly find space, Trincao and Adama Traore can drop in also.
Run at Leicester’s centre-backs
With Leicester City at home and against admittedly weaker opposition than City, they should press higher.
That should leave lots of space for head coach Bruno Lage’s men to counter attack.
In order for them to do this with regularity and success they must be able to cover lots of ground. Key to this will be Wolves’ wingers, most likely Trincao and Traore.
Leicester’s centre-back partnership of Daniel Amartey and Ceglar Soyuncu do not offer much pace.
However, while Wolves can target their lack of speed they first must create opportunities for the centre-backs to be exploited.
One method this could work is by getting Trincao and Traore goalside of the full-backs whenever Wolves retrieve possession in their own half. The last thing they will want to do is battle with the more agile full-backs Leicester possess.
Apply these three tactics, and at the very least, it may expose some of City’s weaknesses.