Following their 2-0 victory over West Ham last night, Wolves moved up to fifth place in the Premier League – leapfrogging Tottenham after their loss to Manchester United. Nuno Esprito Santos’ side are now 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League, with a similarly impressive stretch in all competitions – following their poor start to the season, the Midlands club have turned things around.
Through the first five games of the 2019-20 season, Wolves had collected only three points from their opening five games and found themselves sitting down in 19th place, with just Watford below them. Things weren’t looking too rosy in the Europe League either, while they had made it into the group stage, Wolves lost their first game to Braga putting them in a difficult position in both competitions.
It is something we have seen for a number of seasons now, teams that get into Europe by finishing high in the league one season then begin to struggle the following year with the busier schedule, before bouncing back once the European football is gone. It happened last year with Burnley, a team that went from finishing 7th in 2017/18 to 15th in 2018/19, while they now sit up in 9th so far this season.
Leicester City struggled massively with the Champions League schedule following their title winning year, leading to Claudio Ranieri being sacked due to their poor form in the league. It is something we have seen time after time and it’s what appeared to be happening to Wolves this season.
However, following that poor start, Wolves have been on an absolute tear in both the Premier League and Europa League. As I mentioned, they now sit fifth in the PL table riding a 10 match unbeaten streak, picking up points against Arsenal and a win against Manchester City. They’re also set to qualify from their Europa League group, barring a slip up against bottom side Besiktas next week.
Compared to their 2018/19 season, Wolves could well be a better team. They’re currently scoring more goals per game (1.24 vs 1.40), conceding less goals per game (1.21 vs 1.13) and they’re only halfway shy of their clean sheet tally for the entirety of last season just 15 games in to 2019/20. With all the plaudits and praise that Wolves received last year, it’s surprising to think that they’re actually doing better this time around, in just their second season back in the Premier League.
Leicester and Liverpool are currently catching all of the headlines, to no surprise, however Wolves are most certainly a team to keep your eye on this season as they continue their march up the league. Who knows, if we see a couple more mistakes from Chelsea, Wolves could be in with a chance of making the top four. As if this season wasn’t already chaotic enough!
For the time being, it’s a case of managing the higher workload, rotating their players and hoping to avoid any key injuries. Smart summer recruitment has certainly helped, with the permanent signing of Raul Jimenez and bringing in Patrick Cutrone, that’s without mentioning the impressive signing of Leander Dendoncker – whom Wolves fans have certainly taking a liking to! His versatility has been crucial in recent weeks, filling in at centre back while Willy Boly has been out injured.
It will be interesting to see if Wolves can continue to maintain this impressive form, if last season is anything to go by, they certainly should be able to. Perhaps in a few weeks time, they may begin to draw a little more attention.