Premier League

West Ham United-Wolverhampton Preview

While midweek matches are nothing new to Wolverhampton since they have been in a dual track all season with Europa League commitments, Wednesday's home match versus West Ham United could see Nuno Espirito Santo making some squad rotations.

Wolves (4-8-2) are sixth in the table on 20 points, trailing Tottenham on goal difference and six points adrift of Chelsea for fourth. While Wolverhampton have yet to lose on the back end of their midweek matches, they also have not won many of them with two wins in their eight matches.

The most recent of the six draws in such instances came Sunday with a 1-1 deadlock versus new boy Sheffield United at Molineux. Matt Doherty's equaliser in the 64th minute extended Wolverhampton's unbeaten run in league play to nine matches (4-5-0), their longest in the top flight since a 13-match spell from Dec. 21, 1973, to March 15, 1974.

"It means that we have to compete again on Wednesday," Nuno told the club's official website about the streak. "Every new game we have to find solutions and try things, but we want to compete, we want to play and try to recover well.

"I think it was a very good game of football, honestly, it was one of the best games I've had, it was very good I think we performed very well and Sheffield United performed very, very good also - high intensity, duels, honesty, two teams in the game, both teams wanting to go for the game. I'm very proud of them and very proud of the way we played."

Nuno will be able to call on Romain Saiss after he served a one-match ban for yellow card accumulation, and defender Ryan Bennett could also be in line for his first start since Oct. 30 due to a nagging groin injury.

While Raul Jimenez had a five-match goal-scoring streak come to an end, he did set up Doherty's goal. The Mexico international has seven goals and five assists over his last 10 matches in all competitions.

Nuno was among the names initially listed for a potential successor to the sacked Unai Emery at Arsenal, but such talk has quickly faded as reports show the London club has not made any official inquiries regarding the Portuguese gaffer.

Wolves also learned their FA Cup opponent Monday, getting drawn at home versus Manchester United next month in a rematch of their quarterfinal showdown at Molineux won by Wolverhampton 2-1.

West Ham United (4-4-6) themselves looked to be veering towards needing to debate Manuel Pellegrini's future, but the Chilean may have bought himself some time with Saturday's surprising 1-0 derby win at Chelsea. Aaron Cresswell's goal in the 48th minute separated the London sides as the Irons avoided a fourth consecutive defeat and snapped a seven-match winless spell.

"The plan was to disrupt them, to let them have the ball but not come through the middle of us because we know how they always like to come inside," striker Michail Antonio told the club's official website after making his first start since August due to a hamstring injury. "So, we kind of showed them outside and got them to cross the ball because we know that with Angelo and Fabian at the back, they're going to eat up the crosses that come in.

"They didn't really get in between us at all, so the game plan worked. We were fighting, we were running, creating chances, making moves in behind them - we were playing good football."

David Martin recorded a clean sheet in his Premier League debut between the sticks, which means the No. 3 - who got the nod over Roberto with top-choice keeper Lukasz Fabianski still sidelined by injury - likely will get a second consecutive start. Martin cut an emotional figure at the end, shedding tears before being mobbed by teammates and seeking out his father in the stands to celebrate.

"Obviously you dream about moments like this," he told West Ham TV. "I knew my Dad was in the stand. It was tough keeping in the tears, but I just couldn't help it in the end, so I just kind of collapsed to the ground. To have all the lads see me after was a little bit embarrassing, but it was a great feeling! Hopefully I'll have that feeling for a long time to come."

Wolverhampton did the double last term, ringing up four goals without reply in the two victories. They left it late for a 3-0 victory at Molineux, with Saiss getting the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute before Jimenez added a late double in the final 10 minutes.

Updated December 2, 2019

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