Premier League Team Focus: Wolves vaccinate against second season syndrome

Wolverhampton Wanderers were one of the Premier League’s major success stories last season, finishing as the “best of the rest” behind the division’s top 6 in their first year back in England’s top flight since 2012.

Under the shrewd tactical direction of Portuguese coach Nuno Espírito Santo, Wolves made the most of the considerable talent at their disposal to establish themselves as one of the most cohesive units in the Premier League in 2018/19.

Consolidation is the name of the game then for Wolves ahead of the new campaign, and after another well-managed transfer window, Wanderers look well-equipped to maintain the club’s positive trajectory.

Wolves’ supporters also have continental football to look forward to this season (as long as their team negotiate the qualification rounds of the Europa League successfully of course) and the 2019/20 campaign already has all the makings of another enjoyable one Wanderers fans.

Click here to read more about Wolves in our Premier League 2019/20 Outright Betting Tips: Mid-Table and Relegation Predictions.

Position last season: 7th

Top scorer: Raul Jimenez – 13 goals.

Key Stats:

  • Wolves won 4, drew 4 and lost 4 of their games against the Premier League’s top 6 teams last season.
  • Wolves were the lowest scoring team in the Premier League’s top 12 last season.
  • Over 2.5 goals were scored in just 37% of Wolves’ EPL matches in 2018/19 – which was the lowest figure in the division.
  • Only Arsenal kept fewer Premier League clean sheets away from home than Wolves last season.

TRANSFERS

Arrivals

Patrick Crutone – AC Milan – £16m

Jesus Vallejo – Real Madrid – loan

Raul Jimenez – Benfica – £34.2m

Leander Dendoncker – £12.15m

Hong – Yeovil Town – undisclosed

Raphael Nya – PSG – undisclosed

Departures

Jack Ruddy – Ross County – undisclosed

Ivan Cavaleiro – Fulham – loan

Kevin Berkoe – Oxford – free

Ethan Ebanks-Landell – Shrewsbury – free

Joe Mason – MK Dons – free

Kortney Hause – Aston Villa – £3.06m

Michale Zyro – released

Sherwin Seedorf – Motherwell – free

Helder Costa – Leeds – loan

Ryan Giles – Shrewsbury – loan

Carlos Heredia – released

Ben Goodliffe – released

Aaron Hayden – released

Diego Lattie – released

Enzo Sauvage – released

Christian Herc – Viktoria Plzen – loan

Possible Line-up

Wolves possible line-up 2019/20

Player to Watch

Diogo Jota

Rapid Portuguese attacker Diogo Jota took a little while to find his groove for Wolves last season, but once the 22-year old lit the goal-scoring spark, he finished the campaign in explosive fashion.

Jota scored 8 of his 9 Premier League goals and notched 100% of his 5 assists after December 5th in 2018/19 – in fact, the former Atletico Madrid starlet closed out the season with 10 goals and 7 assists in 23 appearance in all competitions for Wanderers.

His manager and compatriot Nuno Espírito Santo will be hoping that Jota carries the devastating form he showed at the back end of last season into next, and the early signs that he will are promising.

Jota has already hit his first competitive goal of 2019/20, netting Wolves’ opener in Wanderer’s 2-0 UEL Second Qualification Round first leg win over Northern Irish outfit Crusaders.

The Season Ahead

The Search For Goals

For all their positive play and impressive football last season, Wolves’ cutting edge in the final third wasn’t as sharp as they would have liked.

Wanderers finished the campaign as the lowest scoring team in the Premier League’s top 12 in 2018/19, hitting the net just 47 times in their 38 fixtures overall.

Wolves scored 1 goal or less in a staggering 24 of those 38 contests in total, and Nuno Espírito Santo will be desperate to ramp up his team’s productivity in attack in 2019/20.

To that end, promising young Italian striker Patrick Crutone was recruited from AC Milan, and though the 21-year old should help to take some of the goal-getting pressure of Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota, Wolves will also need their midfielders to make a bigger goal-scoring than they did last term.

Ruben Neves, Leander Dendoncker, Romain Saiss, Adama Traore, Joao Moutinho and Helder Costa scored just 11 times between them in the Premier League last season.

Raul Jimenez in action for Wolves

Slow Starters

Last season, in the Premier League in particular, Wolves routinely took time to feel their way into games, often relying on a spike in second half performances to win them points.

Wanderers scored 30 of their 47 Premier League goals in the second half of their fixtures last season, with 17 of those goals arriving in the last 15 minutes of their games.

Wolves were leading at half time in only 8 of their 38 Premier League games overall last season – in fact, their first half results were so poor, that they would have been positioned in 15th place in the table based on scorelines at the end of the opening 45-minute period.

While recovering and winning points in the latter stages of matches shows an admirable mental strength, consistently leaving it so late is also a huge risk.

Maintaining their incredible fitness record

An almost impeccable fitness record played a huge part in helping Wolves to finish in 7th place in the Premier League this season.

Wanderers’ squad suffered just 5 injuries in total during the 2019/20 campaign – a figure that made them the least affected club in the entire division in terms of fitness issues.

The average number of injuries accrued per club in the Premier League last season was 30.4, highlighting just how well the medical/fitness staff at Wolves took care of their players.

Of course, luck is also a huge and important factor when it comes to injuries, and expecting Wolves to have the same kind of fitness fortune for 2 years running seems naïve.

It will be interesting to see how Wolves’ relatively thin squad copes with a string of enforced absentees this season.

Wolverhampton Wolves Diogo Jota Leicester Ndidi

Wolves Betting Tips

Raul Jimenez: Wolves top Premier League goalscorer – 4/7

Mexican international Raul Jimenez enjoyed a fabulous first season as a Wolves player, quickly earning cult-hero status among the clubs’ supporters for his dynamic performances at centre-forward.

The 28-year old, who was on loan from Portuguese giants Benfica last year, made his temporary Molineux stay a permanent one this summer, and with his future secured, Jimenez is expected to go from strength to strength in 2019/20.

Jimenez topped the goalscoring charts for Wolves in 201920, notching 13 goals and 7 Premier League assists in his debut campaign, and the former Atletico Madrid hitman will back himself to improve on that tally this term.

That makes the striker excellent value at 4/7 to finish as Wolves leading marksman again this season.

We will bring you the latest tips, analysis and insight into all the continental fixtures Wolves play over in our Europa League predictions and betting tips page here.

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