Saturday, September 25
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Jul 31, 2021 at 1pm UK
StokeStoke City
WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers
Batth (27')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Jimenez (30')

Preview: Stoke City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers - prediction, team news, head-to-head

:Headline: Preview: Stoke City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers - prediction, team news, head-to-head:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.
Sports Mole

Stoke City finalise their preparations for the 2021-22 season with a home fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.

The Championship outfit slipped to a 2-1 loss to Wigan Athletic during their most recent fixture, while Wolves rounded off their camp in Spain with a win over Al Shabab by the same scoreline.

Match preview

For a short while, Stoke seemed destined to navigate their pre-season period undefeated before the new Championship campaign begins, but Wigan ensured that would remain a mere fantasy in their midweek encounter at the DW Stadium.

Tom Ince found the back of the net for Stoke after Callum Lang had drawn first blood for Wigan, but summer signing Stephen Humphrys won the game for the Latics in the 81st minute to condemn Michael O'Neill's side to their first defeat of pre-season.

Despite coming up short against the League One outfit, Stoke marched to three successive victories over Aston Villa, Crewe Alexandra and Linfield by an aggregate score of 11-2 earlier in July, and a 1-1 draw with Hibernian kicked off what has been a respectable exhibition period.

The Potters resume competitive action on August 7 when they face Reading at the bet365 Stadium in their Championship opener, so the club's up-and-coming academy prospects may have to take back seats this weekend as O'Neill seeks to find a winning formula with a settled XI.

The story of Wolverhampton Wanderers under Bruno Lage so far has been win one, lose one, as the Molineux outfit kicked off a taxing period in Spain with victory over Real Betis before coming up short against Las Palmas.

Wolves' stint in Marbella ended on a high note, however, as goals from Chem Campbell and returning centre-forward Raul Jimenez saw them travel back to England with a 2-1 win in the bag versus Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab, who had taken the lead on the day through ex-Wolves loanee Alfred N'Diaye.

While Jimenez's highly-anticipated return on the pitch has been a truly welcome sight for Wolves supporters, the futures of some of their most prized assets continue to dominant talk off the pitch, as uncertainty lingers over Adama Traore and Ruben Neves's stints at the club.

However, Lage has already begun shaping his West Midlands outfit into his own vision, securing permanent deals for Jose Sa, Yerson Mosquera and Rayan Ait-Nouri, while the loan signing of Francisco Trincao from Barcelona represents a highly impressive coup.

Three wins from three in their final pre-season games against Stoke, Coventry City and Celta Vigo will be no less than the Molineux faithful will demand over the next two weeks, especially with their three opening Premier League games coming against Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in a gruelling month of August.

Stoke City Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Wolverhampton Wanderers Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Ince's first start of the pre-season period for Stoke saw him make the net ripple, and he could be rewarded with another place in the first XI as O'Neill calls upon experience.

A trio of academy starlets in Lewis Macari, Eddy Jones and Will Goodwin all featured from the off in midweek but may make way for established names such as Danny Batth and Morgan Fox here.

Recent arrival Mario Vrancic could also be reinstated to the starting XI, but experienced striker Sam Vokes has completed a switch to Wycombe Wanderers.

Amid ongoing speculation surrounding his future, speedy Wolves winger Traore rejoined the squad during their Marbella training camp following Spain's Euro 2020 exploits and could earn some minutes against Stoke.

Jimenez will continue to build up his fitness as he prepares to become the focal point of Lage's attack in the 2021-22 season, while fellow attackers Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence continue to recover from long-term injuries.

Ki-Jana Hoever and Morgan Gibbs-White found the back of the net in the recent defeat to Las Palmas, and both youngsters will aim to continue proving their worth to the new manager here.

Head To Head

Stoke and Wolves have clashed 151 times in competitive fixtures down the years, with the Molineux side claiming 65 wins compared to 51 for the Potters.

The two clubs did renew hostilities as recently as last season, where a Jacob Brown winner saw Stoke dump Wolves out of the EFL Cup at the second-round stage.

Stoke certainly seem to have Wolves' number, as they have won five of the last six meetings between the two sides in all competitions, with the exception being a 2-0 defeat in the 2016-17 FA Cup.

We say: Stoke City 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Clashes with Stoke have often been somewhat of a banana skin for Wolves in recent years, and the home side have more of an incentive to get the job done before their Championship campaign begins next week.

However, Wolves still boast a healthy number of experienced internationals and exciting new faces in the ranks, so we expect the two clubs to shake hands on a draw this weekend.

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