West Ham v Wolves: Nuno's pack aim to deliver another Hammer blow

It is fair to say Wolves have enjoyed playing against West Ham over the past couple of years.

Daniel Podence has impressed so far for Wolves (AMA)
Daniel Podence has impressed so far for Wolves (AMA)

Last season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s charges won both meetings 2-0, writes Joe Edwards.

And the campaign before that, they beat the Hammers 1-0 and 3-0 respectively.

So, four wins in a row, and Wolves are expected to grab a fifth – although the hosts will be looking to respond in the face of adversity.

It has been a difficult few weeks for West Ham, with club captain Mark Noble hitting out at the owners for selling Grady Diangana to Albion before the side lost their first two Premier League games and then, earlier this week, had three positive Covid-19 tests within the camp.

Boss David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen are not set to be involved tomorrow, so assistant Alan Irvine will be overseeing things from the touchline.

But despite the favourable record and the Hammers’ precarious state, Nuno, in typical style, expects a difficult test.

“Of course, the season is only just beginning and we have seen both matches West Ham played – different shapes against Newcastle and Arsenal,” he said.

“We try to anticipate them as much as we can, but the quality of the West Ham squad is clear.

“We expect a very tough challenge. We’ve made good performances before, but we know this one is going to be totally different.

“It’s a new game, a new challenge, so we will analyse the team, knowing we are facing a tough opponent.”

On West Ham’s positive tests, Nuno added: “It’s very disruptive to West Ham – and it can happen to anyone.

“It’s West Ham now, it was Manchester City. We ourselves had issues with the virus.

“It’s very disruptive and there is always this fear that some of us has a problem, how far this contact or infections can spread inside of your group.

“It’s difficult, everybody knows that.”

Likely to come straight in for his Wolves debut is Nelson Semedo after his signing during the week from Barcelona.

Ruben Vinagre, meanwhile, is in line to continue at left-wing-back as Nuno confirmed Fernando Marcal is dealing with a calf injury.

Marcal limped off just seven minutes into last Monday’s loss to Manchester City and has not trained with the squad since.

Semedo comes in having played more than 100 times for Barca. And when asked what advice he has given the 26-year-old ahead of his potential Premier League bow Nuno said: “It’s not advice, but it’s simple communication to say this is a new challenge that will require the best of you.”

Daniel Podence will also be aiming to build on a positive first couple of games in this new season.

The forward took a while to make his mark at Wolves after being snapped up for £17million from Olympiacos in January but made his mark towards the end of last term and has carried on that good form.

Nuno said on his rise to prominence: “We have to realise that Daniel joined us in the middle of last season, just before the terrible situation of the pandemic.

“That disrupted the understanding and what we had in mind, but I think he finished the season well.

“And he has started this season very, very well.

“I think he is growing and understanding better the idea we have.

“He has talent, he has quality, and he’s a hard-worker who has been able to perform well for the team.

“We hope that this continues – a normal growth of a player inside the dynamic of the team.”

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