Premier League Preview 2019-20: Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club
2018-19 Premier League Finish: 7th Place
2019-20 Premier League Prediction: 10th place
Raul Jimenez FW - Benfica £30,000,000
Pedro Neto FW - Braga £17,150,000
Patrick Cutrone FW - AC Milan £16,850,000
Leander Dendoncker MF - Anderlecht £12,000,000
Bruno Jordao MF - Braga £8,600,000
Ethan Ebanks-Landell DF - Shrewsbury Town, Undisclosed
Kortney Hause DF - Aston Villa £3,000,000
Wolverhampton are competing in the Premier League for just the second consecutive season. Wolverhampton set the league on fire last year with their 7th place finish and Europa League qualification in their first season since gaining promotion. It was their highest finish in the top division of English football in nearly 40 years. Wolverhampton have been in and out of the Premier League for the last decade and even dropped down into the third division in 2013-14. So where did this quick rise come from? In 2016, Wolverhampton was sold to Fosun International, which is a Chinese investment company. It only took them 2 seasons to win the Championship and get promoted and then of course only 1 season in the Premier League to get top 7. Ever since the Fosun takeover, ownership has poured money into the club and the transfers. They spent nearly £50 million net in their first 2 seasons in the Championship, which isn’t too shabby for a Championship level team, but since they’ve been promoted they’ve spent over £170 million net in this season and the last. Wolverhampton are loading up on tons of young talent, the majority which seem to be Portuguese. Portuguese is also the nationality of their coach, Nuno Santo, who has led this club over the past 2 seasons. Hardly putting 1 foot wrong thus far it will be interesting to see how they can follow up last season. Worst case scenario for Wolves is around 13th. They’ve added too many good players to fall below that. Best case scenario for Wolves is probably a repeat of last season with a 7th place finish.
While the ownership is 100% the main strength of this club and I like the way the attack is shaping up with all the additions, I think you have to go with the defense of this team based purely off their performance from last season. Wolverhampton only allowed 46 goals last season which was tied for 5th best in the league. Nobody outside of the top 4 conceded less goals than Wolverhampton. 46 goals conceded is not too bad for a club just promoted, and to put that in perspective this averages to giving up only 1 goal a game and then every 5th game giving up 2. This puts you in a lot of games and gives you a lot of chances to grab the crucial 3 pts. Another solid stat for the Wolves defense last year is that they never gave up more than 3 goals in a game, so even against the biggest clubs in the league with the offensive powerhouse like Man City and Liverpool, they were still keeping their team in the game. Another great stat about this defense is just how little turnover there was in the squad on a week to week basis. All four of Wolves defensive starters started 32 or more games last year in the Premier League. That has to be the smallest amount of squad rotating I’ve seen from last year. But why mess up a good thing? Wolves went with Matt Doherty on the left, Ryan Bennett and Willy Boly at the center back spots and then Jonny Otto on the right side. All four are back with the club as well as Jesus Vallejo on loan from Real Madrid and last year’s goalkeeper Rui Patricio, so expect more of the same.
Goals from midfield. Last season’s weakness for Wolverhampton was definitely their attacking. They had 2 very solid strikers in Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez but outside of them two, the goals were scarce. They have tried adding more firepower to their attack with the addition of Patrick Cutrone, which I think is a solid addition. Cutrone is only 21 yrs old and while last season didn’t go as expected with AC Milan, he did score double digit goals the season before when he was 19. Along with Cutrone are a bunch of other additions of 19-21 yr old forwards and midfielders. It’s hard to tell when or if any of these guys will break into the line-up and make an impact. So while the addition of Cutrone is good, they haven’t done much as far as strengthening the attacking midfield. Neves and Moutinho are the best midfielders the club has but neither offer too much as far as scoring goals. Where the club could really use a boost is through Adama Traore. Troare is plays as a winger or in the attack and has to do better than the single goal he scored last season. Wolves have spent a lot of money on prospective talent, but might should have used some of that to buy an established attacking threat for the midfield. It’s really the only thing this team seems to be missing.
Top Goalscorer Predictions:
Raul Jimenez: 15 goals
Patrick Cutrone: 10 goals
Diogo Jota: 8 goals
Home Kit: Just okay is the best way to describe this jersey. Would look a lit better if they had the black pinstripes on it. Also don’t really care for the Adidas stripes on the side rather than the shoulders.
Away Kit: Pretty solid away kit. I’m a big fan of the black and orange jersey for Wolves. Glad they brought back that color scheme this year.