What: English Premier League
Who:  Wolverhampton Wanderers vs West Bromwich Albion
When: Sunday 8th May, 2011 at 12.00pm UK Time
Where: Molineux, Wolverhampton, England

Do-or-Die Time for Wolves

The region’s local media have described this encounter as the biggest Black Country derby ever and the stakes are certainly high. Depending how other results go this weekend, defeat for Wolves could leave them in a position of no return as far as Premier League survival is concerned. West Brom travel the short distance to their bitter rivals with their Premier League status virtually secured and buoyed by a magnificent run of form which began when new manager Roy Hodgson took the reins.

What must frustrate supporters of the Molineux Men more than anything is their record against the top teams. This season Wolves have claimed maximum points against Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, but still find themselves fighting relegation. With three matches of the season remaining and Wolves second from bottom, Mick McCarthy knows that time is running out. Draws are no longer good enough: Only wins will do from now on. It is time for McCarthy to rediscover that winning formula.

Resurgent Baggies Hoping to Hurt Rivals

For any chairman with a team in the middle of a relegation battle Roy Hodgson is the man to call. The ex-Blackburn Rovers manager performed miracles to keep Fulham in the top flight and he is doing the same again at The Hawthorns. His motivation was widely questioned upon taking the job following his unsuccessful spell at Liverpool, but the 63-year-old is again proving that he is more than competent at this level.

Pleasingly for the Baggies faithful West Brom are still playing the attractive style of football that former manager Roberto Di Matteo advocated, but Hodgson has brought steel to the team which has helped them come from behind in recent matches against Sunderland and Aston Villa.


Recent form

Wolves 1-1 Fulham
(23/04; Premier League)
Stoke City 3-0 Wolves
(26/04; Premier League)
Birmingham City 1-1 Wolves
(01/05; Premier League)

West Brom:
West Brom 1-3 Chelsea
(16/04; Premier League)
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 West Brom (23/04; Premier League)
West Brom 2-1 Aston Vila (30/04; Premier League)

Key absences

Wolves: David Edwards; Sylvan Ebanks-Blake; Ronald Zubar; Kevin Doyle; Steven Mouyokolo

West Brom: Steven Reid; Pablo Ibanez; Graham Dorrans

Players to Watch

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Jamie O’Hara: The midfielder scored a screamer the last time these two sides met and Wolves supporters will be hoping for more of the same. O’Hara is just the type of player needed in a derby game. Good on the ball with the ability to pick a pass but also not afraid to get stuck in, if he plays well then Wolves’ chances of victory increase significantly.

West Bromwich Albion – Peter Odemwingie: The Nigerian international is in sparkling form. He has scored in the Baggies’ last four Premier League matches and will be hoping to make it five out of five against Wolves.

Match Prediction

Expect a passionate derby to be played at a high tempo with plenty of thunderous tackles. Due to the nature of the fixture the match will possibly lack genuine quality, but it should still be an entertaining spectacle. As for the end result, a game of few chances will end all square and Wolves will fall further into the relegation mire.

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