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Can Crusaders tame Wolves? Get Wolves v Crusaders tips

Leigh Copson 22 Jul 2019
Diogo Jota of Wolves (credit:Imaginechina/SIPA USA/PA Images)

Wolves v Crusaders predictions for the Europa League qualifier on Thursday, July 25. Can Wolves make a winning return to European football this week, or will Northern Irish side Crusaders pull off a major upset by getting a result at Molineux? Read on for all of our free betting tips and predictions.

Wolves v Crusaders

It has taken Wolverhampton Wanderers almost 40 years to get back there, but on Thursday night the Midlands club will finally play a European fixture when they entertain Northern Irish outfit Crusaders. Wolves were handed a place in the qualifying stages for this season’s Europa League courtesy of Manchester City’s 6-0 demolition of Watford in the 2019 FA Cup Final, but it would be unfair to say that they did not earn their crack at Europe, having finished seventh in their first season back in the top flight of English football.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will be looking to top their 2018/19 campaign this time around and a good European run would help them do that, but before they can even think about the bigger challenges to come they have the small matter of having to navigate the qualifying stages. Fellow top-flight side Burnley failed to make it to the group stage a year ago, so could Wolves suffer the same fate and endure a disappointing return to one of European football’s top tables?

Providing the opposition over the next couple of weeks are Irish Cup winners Crusaders. They earned their crack at the Premier League side by cruising past B36 Torshavn 5-2 on aggregate, in the previous round, and although they will be dreaming of pulling off a gigantic upset, it is very difficult to see them taming Wolves over 90 minutes, let along over the course of two matches. This is not a question of will Wolves win, more how will they run out winners at Molineux.

This first leg comes only a couple of days after Santo’s side make the long trip back from China, where they have been playing in the Asia Trophy, so there will be a few questions about how easy it will be for the players to readjust to the UK time zone after spending several days overseas. However, Santo will have almost certainly planned for this scenario – this tour and the timing of their first European match will have hardly been dumped on him at short notice – and after what he has done with Wolves over the past couple of years you have to believe he will have cracked that puzzle.

Crusaders will be stubborn and defiant for as long as they can be, but it is hard to see them standing up to the attacking onslaught that will come their way for the full 90 minutes. They will eventually wear down and as they do Wolves’ superior fitness should come into play. That is why I expect the second half to produce more goals than the first. The first 45 minutes will be backs to the wall for Crusaders, the second will be about keeping the score down as Wolves pile on the pressure.

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Can Crusaders tame Wolves? Get Wolves v Crusaders tips

Wolves v Crusaders predictions for the Europa League qualifier on Thursday, July 25.

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