Wolves v Norwich City on Sunday 10th at 16:00
Only a few months ago these teams were two divisions apart but there is unlikely to be much between them on Sunday afternoon. Last season Norwich won 8 Premier League games and ended on 33 points, meanwhile Wolves won 31 League One games and secured a record breaking 103 points. So will Premier League quality from a club who have been in the habit of losing, outweigh the upcoming team who after two successive relegations got back into the habit of winning. We will find out on Sunday.
Norwich have retained most of their Premier League squad with only Snodgrass and Van Wolfswinkel being notable departures, although Leroy Fer has been in demand and may be another to leave and he is not in the squad this weekend. Gary O'Neil is suspended and Howson, Bassong, Becchio and Hooper are likely to miss the game with injury. But the strike force will be lead by new signings Lewis Grabban and Kyle Lafferty. Grabban is 26 and his career appeared to be going nowhere until 2011 but then he joined Rotherham where he netted 21 goals in the 2011/12 season. That prompted Bournemouth to snap him up for £300k. And for them he scored 13 goals in their League One promotion season and then another 22 in last season's Championship. Norwich were persuaded to pay £3m this summer in the hope he will keep that going this season.
Wolves will also largely rely on their squad from last season. They have only made two free transfer signings this summer, Tommy Rowe and Rajiv Van La Parra. Rowe has missed most of pre season with a toe injury and he will return to training next week. Van La Parra looks an exciting addition and the Dutch wide player may well get a game on Sunday.
Wolves will likely line up with the same defence that served them so well last season. That will mean Ikeme in goal and then Ricketts, Batth, Stearman and Golborne as the back four. Only alternative would be if Doherty were to brought in at Right Back and then Ricketts would switch to the centre at Stearman's expense.
The midfield set up will probably stick to the 4-2-3-1 line up that was used for most of last season. That will mean player of last season Kevin McDonald filling one of the deep roles with Lee Evans probably getting the nod alongside him instead of Jack Price. Jacobs and Sako, if fit, will be two of the attacking midfield three with Van La Parra or Edwards getting the final place, with Dicko as the lone striker.
Norwich have won 2 and drawn 3 of the last 5 games between these clubs, but at Molineux Wolves are unbeaten in the last 13 clashes with no Norwich success at Molineux since 1995.
The opening day is not usually a great barometer for the season ahead but 3 points for either team would do confidence no harm at all. Either way it looks to have the making of an entertaining game between two clubs likely to be challenging in the top half of the table when the season settles down.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.