Wolves take on Stoke in the EFL Cup on Thursday night and, though the Midlands team haven’t got a great recent record in the competition, they don’t have any European distractions this season. That’s why a Wolves win is our Wolves vs Stoke tip.
Wolves had already played numerous Europa League games when they joined last season’s EFL Cup in the third round. Because of those European commitments, there’s every reason to believe that the club wasn’t prioritising the competition when they beat Reading on penalties after a 1-1 draw. But that doesn’t tell the whole story is Wolves bossed the game until Reading scored in the 99th minute.
Wolves then took on Aston Villa in a Midlands derby in round four, and there was no disgrace to lose to a side that made it all the way to Wembley. Wolves beat Nottingham Forest away from home in their opening game of the EFL Cup in the previous season, before losing a penalty shootout to Leicester.
Stoke’s recent record in the EFL Cup is also only average. Two seasons ago, they beat Huddersfield before losing to Nottingham Forest. While last year, they managed to beat Leeds on penalties before losing in another shootout to Crawley Town.
Stoke won yet another penalty shootout to beat Blackpool in round one this year and recorded another scoreless draw against Millwall in the Championship. That lack of goals could prove costly here against much better opposition.
Wolves also made the perfect start to their Premier League season by winning at Sheffield United, a fixture they lost last season. Two goals in the opening six minutes were the only goals of the game, with Wolves showing enough tactical awareness to keep a clean sheet.
As Wolves aren’t in Europe this season, Nuno Santos looks likely to see the EFL Cup as a great chance to win some silverware, and that mix of class and motivation should be too much for Stoke.
Luckily, the bookies think that Wolves may not be prioritising the EFL Cup, with the 8/13 or better an excellent price for a Wolves win by full-time. If you think Stoke may feature in another penalty shootout, you can have 11/4 for the draw, while a Stoke win is 5/1. But I’d have Wolves no bigger than 4/9, which is why a Wolves win is our Wolves vs Stoke tip.
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