Wolverhampton Wanderers news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on Wolves…
2019-20 finish: 7th (15W-14D-9L, 59 points)
Head coach: Nuno Espirito Santo
2019-20 PL top scorer: Raul Jimenez (17 PL goals)
Location: Wolverhampton, West Midlands
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Wolves: Welcome to the “So, What Now?” Zone
Wolves have been in the Premier League for only two seasons — you’d be forgiven for forgetting that fact due to the success they’ve had in such a short period of time — finishing seventh on both occasions. That’s beyond brilliant for any side just comping up from the EFL Championship, but it presents a tricky unknown looking forward: where do they go from here? Wolves amassed 57 points in season no. 1, followed by a small improvement to 59 points — while navigating the Europa League, no less — last time out. You might be tempted to look at last season’s final table and say, “They’re only seven points off the Champions League places, that’s not too far,” but consider this: last season was an anomaly for the top-four, a season in which a clearly defined top-four — let alone a top-five or -six — didn’t exactly come to fruition. Chelsea came fourth with just 66 points, but over the last four seasons — since Liverpool’s rebirth as one of the “big-six” sides — the average point total for the fourth-place side is 72. The difference between making up seven points and 13 points, going from the 50s and into the 70s, will be a massive undertaking. 59 to 72 is not the same as 39 to 52.
All of that is to ask, “Have Wolves hit their ceiling already?” Perhaps the best comparison to what Wolves have done thus far is Southampton following their promotion in 2012. After finishing 14th in season no. 1, Saints finished 8th, 7th, 6th and 8th the four ensuing seasons. Since then? A tumble to 17th and 16th — close run-ins with relegation — before stabilizing in 11th last season. Simply reaching the top-half does not guarantee a life-time stay in the top-half, nor does it mean you’re next in line to break into the top-six. Until proven otherwise, clubs like Wolves mostly just… exist.
Wolverhampton Wanderers news: The current situation
Nuno’s squad is quite small, Wolves’ 2020-21 campaign spanned 383 days and 59 games, and it ended less than a month ago. Recovery and rest could be an issue, whether at the start of the season or throughout the duration. Nuno’s thoughts on the matter: “It’s a small squad and we must be really proud, but now we need to make good decisions so we do not make mistakes like we did before. We need more players that can help us. It’s a short break, you cannot stop and start again. We now have to prepare well for this period, we have to rest.”
Key Wolverhampton Wanderers news, season objectives
- Raul Jimenez remains at the club, for now. Though numerous reports linked the Mexican international with a move away from Molineux Stadium this summer, Jimenez (and his 30 PL goals in two seasons) remains.
- Why not win a Cup? Given the challenges which stand between Wolves and Champions League qualification, perhaps the FA Cup or the League Cup will be given higher priority this season as Wolves chase something tangible to legitimize their success.
- Fabio Silva: Signed from Porto for $47 million, Wolves have made their post-Jimenez investment in the form of one of Europe’s highest-rated teenagers. At only 18 years old, Silva is thus far untested at the top level, but he has some time (and the perfect role model) from which to learn.
- Marcal: Signed from Lyon for a small, undisclosed fee, the 31-year-old Brazilian left back has a fair amount of experience in Portugal and France.
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2020-21
No top-four chase, but no relegation worries either. Such is life for a squad as talented as Wolves, but lacking a handful of global superstar talents to take the next step.
The real question is: who, if anyone, will make the leap from mid-table and reach the “Wolves tier,” thus pushing these darlings for their title as “best of the rest?”