Wolves 2019-20 season preview

Established: 1877
Stadium: Molineux
Location: Wolverhampton (west Midlands of England)
Head Coach: Nuno Espirito Santo
Nickname: Wolves
Rival(s): West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, Birmingham City
Top-Division Titles: 3 (1953-54, 1957-58, 1958-59)

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Best possible XI:

Patricio
Doherty
Boly
Coady
Bennett
Otto
Neves
Moutinho
Dendoncker
Jota
Jimenez

Key arrivals: Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan), Jesus Vallejo (Loan, Real Madrid), Meritan Shabani (Bayern Munich)

Key departures: Kortney Hause (Aston Villa), Helder Costa (Loan, Leeds United), Ivan Cavaleiro (Loan, Fulham)

Ranking their offseason: They won the PL Asia Trophy in China and have looked sharp during their UEFA Europa League qualifying games so far. Wolves’ squad has remained rather small and Santo may be looking for a crop of talented youngsters, led by Morgan Gibbs-White, to give them extra depth this season. That will be especially needed if they reach the Europa League group stage, as expected. Cutrone provides back up for Raul Jimenez, as the Mexican striker signed permanently along with Leander Dendoncker following successful loan spells. Very decent offseason for Wolves who have kept their team together after a superb 2018-19. What wouldn’t you want to be involved at Wolves right now? 8/10

Star player: Mexico’s Raul Jimenez was a beast for Wolves last season and he led El Tri to Gold Cup glory last summer. His hold-up play continues to improve and now he is a permanent Wolves player you can expect him to kick on further. Scoring 16 goals in all competitions last season was a great first year in England, but he could have been even more clinical. His partnership with Diogo Jota is hugely important and having Cutrone around will see him get a little break now and then to recharge the batteries.

Coaches’ Corner: What a job Nuno has done. Promotion to the PL, then a seventh place finish in the top-flight and an FA Cup semifinal spot. Not bad. He is never happy and will see Wolves’ first European campaign since the 1980-81 season as a massive challenge as they juggle Thursday-Sunday action. Wolves’ boss likes a small squad and that could hamper them if they go far in Europe.

PST predicts: European action will be the main focus for Wolves this season, but many believe they can easily finish in the top six this season. I’d say a top four finish is also achievable given the quality of their squad and how they played against the big boys last season. That said, the dreaded second-season syndrome does hit teams hard and Wolves’ element of surprise has now evaporated. Top eight finish and a deep run in Europe would be a superb campaign.

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