MX23RW : Wednesday, October 23 10:56:31| >> :600:1658974:1658974:
Sep 19, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Molineux
Attendance: 28,314
WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers
FT(HT: 0-0)
Horta (71')

Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Thursday's Europa League fixture between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Braga.

Wolverhampton Wanderers head into the Europa League group stages having failed to win any of their opening five Premier League games of the season.

Braga have endured a similar struggle with just one win from the same amount of fixtures leaving them in 16th position in Portugal's top flight.

Match preview

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 25, 2019© Reuters

Nuno Espirito Santo and his players continue to insist that their Europa League exploits during August have not hindered their domestic efforts, and there is some justification to their comments with several individual mistakes having undermined the team's efforts in recent games.

However, it is difficult to overlook the mental and physical energy taken up in overcoming Torino in the final qualifying round of this competition, given the importance of taking advantage of last season's seventh-placed finish in the Premier League.

The club's owners will no doubt want Nuno to place high priority on going as far as possible in Europe as they look to build their fanbase around the world, although the head coach will already have one eye on important top-flight games against Crystal Palace and Watford.

Whether it is in league or continental action, though, a solution needs to be found after shipping eight goals against Everton and Chelsea respectively, with Wolves at risk of losing the aura which has served them so well over the past two years.

While the squad will be grateful for their first match being at Molineux, they would have hoped for easier opponents than a Braga outfit who also have the potential to go deep into the tournament.

Like their hosts on Thursday, their league form has left a lot to be desired, especially in the aftermath of getting the better of Spartak Moscow at the end of August.

The fact that each of these two clubs have under-performed having come through the same schedule is probably no coincidence, and it is now up to Nuno and Ricardo Sa Pinto to find a solution going forward.

Such has been their respective form that both bosses will likely be content with a point apiece from the showdown in the West Midlands, although victory may prove to be the difference between qualification and elimination by the middle of December.

Wolverhampton Wanderers form: DWDWLL

Braga form: LWDWLL

Team News

Big Willy Boly in action for Wolves on February 2, 2019© Reuters

Nuno is able to welcome back Willy Boly after the defender served a one-match suspension in the Premier League over the weekend.

Ryan Bennett could also be recalled at the expense of Jesus Vallejo, while Matt Doherty may be preferred to Adama Traore after a positive outing from the bench against Chelsea.

Ruben Neves and Romain Saiss are fighting it out for one position in central midfield, as are Jonny Otto and Ruben Vinagre at left wing-back.

Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez should start in attack, despite Patrick Cutrone impressing in his last two outings in the top flight.

Having regularly rotated his team in the league, Sa Pinto has plenty of options at his disposal for the encounter in England.

Andre Horta could be brought back into the midfield, potentially for Paulinho should Sa Pinto opt for just one man in attack.

Former Fulham striker Rui Fonte will likely have to make do with a place among the replacements.

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup: Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Jota, Jimenez

Braga possible starting lineup: Matheus; Esgaio, Viana, Wallace, Sequeira; Galeno, Fransergio, A.Horta, Palhinha, R.Horta; Paulinho, Novais

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We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Braga

Wolves were initially regarded as the clear favourites for this match, but it is difficult to back Nuno's side right now. While we still expect the home side to make most of the running, Braga have enough quality in their ranks to earn at least a share of the spoils.

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Who will win Thursday's Europa League clash between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Braga?

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Ruben Neves celebrates scoring a free kick for Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 11, 2018
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