Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers
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What we love about Wolverhampton Wanderers

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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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

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.

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ John Richards (second l) fires a shot at goal in the 1972 UEFA Cup Final (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

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.

(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

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.

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Wolves’ Europa League match in Greece closed to fans

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The first leg of Wolves’ Europa League tie with Olympiacos will be played behind closed doors, the club announced Monday.

The Greek government “enforced the temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events” due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and would not make an exception for the match.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The short notice is brutal for traveling fans, who would’ve already scrambled to make last-minute arrangements to get to Greece after the Feb. 28 draw.

That’s the world we’re living in, though, and health comes first.

From Wolves.co.uk:

“Unfortunately, the decision has now been confirmed and all parties must submit to the official ruling imposed by the relevant Greek authorities.

“We share the disappointment of all of our supporters who will be affected by this decision, and can confirm that all match ticket refunds will be processed over the next 48 hours.”

Thursday’s first leg kicks off at 4 p.m. ET, while the return leg at the Molineux is a 1:55 p.m. ET kickoff on March 19. Wolves visit West Ham United between the Round of 16 legs.

Wolves, Brighton frustrated by scoreless draw

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Wolves and Brighton will both be salty after a 0-0 draw at the Molineux on Saturday.

The two sides had aims of improving their stock but combined for just two shots on target.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Wolves fail to move into fourth and have 43 points after the draw, while Brighton moves two points clear of the relegation zone ahead of a frightening run of fixtures.


Three things we learned

1. Seagulls running out of time: Graham Potter‘s men have been difficult to beat and picked up five draws, but their lack of wins during a seven-match lull in their schedule is alarming given what lies ahead. Brighton meets five top teams in its next six matches.

2. Wolves lack sharpness against lower-half: There have been too many draws against lower-half sides for a Wolves side capable of Champions League-caliber football. Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have now drawn Brighton and Newcastle twice, Saints and Burnley once. Throw in a pair of draws with Leicester City, and you can see where the lack of full points have deprived the UEL contenders of a top four place.

3. Center backs stand out: There were five center backs between the two sides, and not one struggled at the Molineux. Connor Coady and Willy Boly performed exceptionally well for Wolves, especially the latter, while Lewis Dunk was his usual stalwart self for the Seagulls.

Man of the Match: Tie goes to the runner, er, visitor. Dunk.


It was a slow start at the Molineux, 20 minutes played before Rui Patricio made a comfortable save on Davy Propper.

Wolves grew into the game, with Raul Jimenez smashing the post and Ruben Neves missing high.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were able to work into open field as they like at times, but the Seagulls limited the danger.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The manager introduced Adama Traore in the 64th minute.

The next chance went to Brighton, but Solly March slipped as he tried to get the ball on target.

Traore led a foray into the box that ended with a deflected Jimenez shot to Mathew Ryan.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 28

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One and two are pretty much set in stone, but there’s a new three on the block and only they seem a threat to challenge two.

It’s a lot of words to preview one of our final club power rankings of the Premier League season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — A great win over Leicester inspires thoughts that the tricky schedule won’t be as big of an issue as it first looked.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

19. Aston Villa — The guts shown in the League Cup Final are replicable. Can Dean Smith coax them out again (and again)?
Last week: 19
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Saints
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday at Leicester City

18. Bournemouth —  Nice draw with Chelsea.
Last week: 17
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

17. Watford — The win over Liverpool is a dream. The loss of Gerard Deulofeu is a nightmare.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Palace

16. Newcastle United — So drab. And if there isn’t another win soon, the back end of the schedule will send them down.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — At some point, the unluckiness has to wear on the Seagulls. Performances have been better than the depths of the table.
Last week: 13
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Wolves

14. West Ham United — much-needed win has them out of the table on goal differential.
Last week: 16
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

13. Crystal Palace — Roy Hodgson deserves a lot of praise for conjuring life back into the Eagles. If Christian Benteke could finish, the Eagles would be tempting the UEL places.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 1-0 at Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

12. Southampton — The Saints are on a plateau.
Last week: 12
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 at West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

11. Sheffield United — Did the week off provide Chris Wilder a plan to play Sander Berge and John Lundstram together effectively?
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Norwich City

10. Burnley — Unextinguishable.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Newcastle United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

9. Arsenal — Pablo Mari looked good against Portsmouth. West Ham will be a slight step up.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. West Ham

8. Leicester City — Two points from four matches, with Villa next. Brendan Rodgers should count his blessings the chasing pack has largely taken a collective nap.
Last week: 6
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Norwich City
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday v. Aston Villa

7. Manchester United — Bruno Fernandes is a magician. It’s a shame we won’t get to see him with Marcus Rashford any time soon (though he’s set to make it back before the end of the season).
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Everton
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Man City

6. Everton — Is Jordan Pickford really a problem? For your average side, no, but Everton wants to shoot high. He needs to do a bit better with the expected stops, because he’s got a knack for the wild stops.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday at Chelsea

5. Tottenham Hotspur — Results must improve, but so much the system. What’s the plan?
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Wolves
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

4. Chelsea — Disappointing draw with Bournemouth, but few behind them did anything to justify dropping them further.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Bournemouth
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton

3. Wolves — They can and will out-run and outlast you, and Raul Jimenez will devour your back line.
Last week: 7
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 3-2 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

2. Man City — Bold prediction considering Aymeric Laporte is out: City will finish within 19 points of Liverpool to preserve their record triumph from 2017/18 over Manchester United.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Won 1-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

1. Liverpool — A loss was bound to happen, and more may come as Liverpool reprioritizes the Champions League and perhaps the FA Cup.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

Watch Live: Everton-Man Utd, Spurs-Wolves

Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images
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Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are all rolling out critical top five gameplans as Sunday morning Premier League action features a pair of 9 p.m. ET kickoffs.

[ STREAM: Everton-Man Utd | Spurs-Wolves ]

Manchester United holds fifth place with a five-point lead on Everton, giving the Toffees plenty of urgency for the meeting at Goodison Park (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Fifth will be open to Spurs or Wolves should United lose (or draw, in Spurs’ case). Portuguese bosses Mourinho and Espirito Santo duel at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET, online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

LINEUPS

Everton:

Manchester United:


Spurs:

Wolves: