Wolves will be aiming to put their disappointing last season behind them when they welcome Middlesbrough at the Molineux Stadium for the opening round of the new Championship season. Wolverhampton come into this tie on the back of an excellent 1-0 home win over the Premier League side Leicester City in a friendly game last weekend thanks to a second-half goal from Ivan Cavaleiro. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough beat Augsburg 2-1 thanks to goals from Martin Braithwaite and Adam Forshaw. Below we will take you through everything you need to know and even give you a betting preview and predictions.
Betting Predictions and Tips
It’s kind of difficult to separate these two sides at the moment as both have spent a lot of money throughout the summer and both have strengthened their squads in this term. Middlesbrough hold a better head-to-head record in this tie and I’m fancying them to win all three points here.
Middlesbrough to win at 2/1
Both teams to score – Yes at 10/11
Wolverhampton Wanderers Preview
It has been another summer of change for Wolverhampton, as they now have a new coach in the shape of Nuno Espirito Santos along with several new players. The sums spent throughout this summer transfer window have raised the expectation level significantly and it seem that Wolves are targeting promotion this year. First of all, Nuno Espirito Santo has coached Valencia and FC Porto in his previous two spells and he said that the Wolves squad has plenty of potential. He brought in Ruben Neves, who is already a Portuguese International at just 20 years old, for €17.9m from FC Porto, along with Roderick Miranda from Rio Ave for €3m and Barry Douglas from Konyaspor for €1.14m. In addition, John Ruddy, Ryan Bennett and Phil Ofosu-Ayeh all came on free transfers, while Atletico Madrid’s striker Diogo Jota, Porto’s centre-back Willy Boly and Ruben Vinagre have all joined the club on loan. Wolves had a decent pre-season campaign, winning four and losing just two of their six friendly fixtures. They come into this tie on the back of two successive 1-0 victories over Peterborough and Leicester City. On home soil, Wolves have won five of their last eight home games across all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in five of these. Furthermore, Wolves have won two of their last three home meetings with Middlesbrough in the Championship, scoring at least two goals in each of these.
As for Middlesbrough, they will be looking to return in the Premier League at the first time of asking. Middlesbrough were relegated at the end of the 2017/17 Premier League season, as they finished second from the bottom with just 28 points after 38 rounds. Coach Steve Agnew paid the price for that disappointing campaign, as he has been replaced by Garry Monk, who had a decent spell at Leeds United last season. Furthermore, Monk has been shaking up the team over the summer as he brought in Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest for €17.1m, Martin Braithwaite from Toulouse for €11.3m, Ashley Fletcher from West Ham for €7.3m, Jonathan Howson from Norwich for €5.65m, Darren Randolph from West Ham for €5.6m and Cyrus Christie from Derby for €2.8m. In terms of departures, Middlesbrough have sold Jordan Rhodes to Sheffield Wednesday for €11.7m, Bernardo Espinosa to Girona FC for €4.5m, VIktor Fischer to Mainz 05 for €3m and James Husband to Norwich City for €1.13m. In addition, Boro’s squad is built up mostly from players that won them promotion back in 2016 so they are hot favourites to win promotion this year. Boro should feel confident ahead of this tie as they have won their last four meetings with Wolves across all competitions, scoring at least two goals in each of these.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Team News
Helder Costa is out through an ankle injury, but Carl Ikeme is back in training following his hamstring injury.
Middlesbrough Team News
There are no fresh injury concerns for Middlesbrough ahead of this tie.