This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Wolves.
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Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We love a lot about actual wolves, but let’s take a look at the capital-W variety of Premier League title hunters.
Wolves no stranger to glory: Wolves have history. The club staged a memorable run to the inaugural UEFA Cup final in 1972 (now the Europa League). After beating Juventus in the semis, Wolves fell in a thrilling two-legged final with Spurs. Wolves returned to the tournament thrice more but only advance past the first round once. The club hunted well in the 1950s, claiming the only three top-flight crowns of its 143-year existence. The three runners-up? Maybe none will surprise given the 60-year gap, but joining Manchester United were West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End.
Wolves fell as far as the fourth-tier in the 1980s before rising back to the Premier League for its launch in the 90s, then dipping into League One for a season in 2013/14. Now Nuno Espirito Santo has the club contending in the modern equivalent of two competitions it once won: the Premier League and Europa League.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Portuguese powers: Wolves nearly breached 100 points in their Championship-winning season and Espirito Santo’s side almost immediately adapted to the top flight with stylish football and a seventh-place finish. The side has navigated their first super congested fixture list by staying alive deep into an active Europa League run; Espirito Santo has coaxed next level performances out of club without as much depth as expected out of a European contender, and it’s reasonable to speculate they’d be in the top four with one more year’s investment (and it’s not impossible they rebound after a few months off to recharge the batteries). There are no new contract talks yet, but there’s little reason to believe he’d leave for a substandard job. Wolves have invested in becoming the next big PL club, and Espirito Santo carries plenty of love from the supporters and hierarchy.
The best player in CONCACAF: There is no North or Central American player anywhere near the form of Raul Jimenez right now. Christian Pulisic will want to make a claim to this soon, but El Tri’s Wolves striker is on another level. He’s already the club’s all-time leading scorer in PL matches. Not only has the 28-year-old Jimenez carved up Premier League and Europa League back lines, he’s doing it while chewing up minutes at a rate which would have many star strikers raising a white flag. Only Conor Coady, Joao Moutinho, and Rui Patricio have played more minutes for Wolves than Jimenez’s 3,564 in all competitions. All he’s done is score 22 goals with 10 assists. He’s roasting CONCACAF, too. Jimenez has 10 goals and six assists since the start of 2018, including five and four in Mexico’s six-match run to the Gold Cup crown. There is zero debate of his class amongst Mexican players.