Monday, 30 July 2018

Wonderful Wolves Want More

What a wonderful time it is to be a supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club has had a sensational year with a dominating promotion from the Championship and the club are hoping things get even better as they gear up for their return to the Premier League. Wolves stormed to the Championship title ending the season with 100 points blowing all opposition in front of them and the fans will want that momentum to continue as the new season draws closer. Nuno Espirto Santo has done a wonderful job since walking into the club a year ago. The very humble Portuguese coach has always emphasised hard work and team spirit since taking over and you can see this in an abundance with the team he has assembled, and this will be vital during the new season because they will have difficult spells as all teams do. He may have been unknown to many a football fan, but he firmly stamped his style and philosophies into the English game and there is no doubt he is relishing his chance to showcase his style in the Premier League and it isn’t a surprise to see the Wolves fans excited. Nuno has transformed the entire style of the team and installed a winning mentality which no doubt delights the Wolves fans. For any promoted side the main ambition will be to secure Premier League survival, but Wolves will want more than that because they will feel survival will be assured. The real ambition is to press for a top 10 finish and see where things go from there. Wolves will fancy their chances in the new season and they will certainly surprise a few teams.

Wolves’ success in the Championship was built on a solid defensive line with attacks building from the back 3 but eventually becoming a 5 when defending and teams found it extremely difficult to break Wolves down. Wolves kept clean sheets on a regular basis through a solid backline with the likes of Wily Boly, Connor Coady Ryan Bennett, Matt Doherty and Barry Douglas making an instrumental contribution to Wolves’ success last season. The 3 centre halves were magnificent for the club and will go into the new season full of confidence. Connor Coady in particular was sensational due to his conversion from midfield to defence and since then he hasn’t looked back, and he has now become a figure both Nuno and the fans rely on. The captain led by example and formed a brilliant partnership with his new colleagues and they will be difficult once again to break down in the Premier League. However, the real star of this solid Wolves team is Ruben Neves who was arguably the best signing made by any Championship club last season. The Portuguese international sparkled in the midfield with an excellent range of passing and thunderous efforts from outside the penalty area and he will certainly be one to watch in the Premier League if he can continue his scintillating Championship form. Furthermore, the pace in Wolves’ attack will also cause plenty of problems because although Wolves generally dominated most matches, when they were under pressure the pace on the counter was unstoppable and the roles of Diogo Jota and Ivan Cavaleiro emphasise this. Both Jota and Cavaleiro led various dangerous attacks on the break adding further problems for many teams. Jota was excellent in his first season in England and its no surprise Wolves have made his move permanent and he will hope to seize his opportunity in the Premier League. The same can certainly be said for Ivan Cavaleiro who once a Wolves record signing struggled in his first season in the Championship but showed how much pace, power and talent he has since Nuno took over and he will want to improve further as he will be tested in a much tougher league. Nuno has built a powerful, quick, enterprising side and he will want to continue the hard work as the new season draws even closer.

Wolves will be active in the transfer window as all promoted teams usually are and the role of Jorge Mendes will be crucial in signing quality players who can withstand the pressure of the Premier League. Wolves’ business so far has included signing all loans except Alfred N’Diaye to permanent deals as well as signing Euro 2016 winners Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho. The two new Portuguese internationals will add plenty of experience, quality and reliability to the Wolves team. Moutinho will certainly link up with Neves in the centre of the park and their partnership will be integral to any success Wolves have this season. In addition, Patricio is an excellent addition in goal and he will want to prove himself in a much more difficult league. However, Wolves’ transfer business is certainly not finished yet as I’m sure Nuno will want to add more attacking players to his side and a winger could be in waiting with the likes of Diogo Jota, Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa on the books, Nuno may want another for tactical and competition purposes. Furthermore, a striker could also be high on his list because despite the goals of Leo Bonatini, they were all scored during the first half of the season and he suffered a severe goal drought and with Benik Afobe going to Stoke, a new striker with a proven track record of scoring on a regular basis could be just what Wolves need to really become a threat in the new season. On the other hand, Nuno could also be looking for more defence reinforcements because fringe players like Kourtney Hause, Danny Batth and Dominic Iorfa may not be adequate replacements should Wolves have injuries, suspensions or just poor form and I’m sure Nuno would like more competition in his ranks. Despite this, it has been a very good transfer window so far for the only Midlands club in the top flight and I’m sure their transfer business is far from over with incomings and outgoings expected.

There is a real excitement and buzz around the whole football club with genuine belief that Wolves can achieve more than just safety. Nuno and Jorge Mendes have managed to create an exciting, enterprising football team and they will wanting the promotion season’s momentum to be carried into the new season. Survival will be main aim at first but I’m sure they will survive comfortably, and they are ambitious, so they will be targeting the top 10 and maybe even Europa League football but the latter could be a step too far for their first season back. However, if Nuno gets them going and integrates all new signings well, this could be an exciting season for Wolves and the fans will hope the club have achieved more than just survival come May 2019.

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