Two of the three teams promoted to the Premier League last season were relegated. Not so Wolverhampton Wanderers though. They had an highly impressive first season back in the top flight finishing seventh. That led to them qualifying for the Europa League this season. That may well hinder their progress for this season with more potential fixtures. But can they repeat last season and perhaps even make the top six? It’s 7/2 (4.5) at Unibet they can finish in the top six.
Wolves finished seventh with 57 points from their 38 games. That was their first top ten finish in the top flight since the 1979/80 season. They were nine points behind the top six. Despite finishing seventh, they still managed to lose 13 league games. Along with Newcastle, they were the only two clubs both scoring and conceding less than 50 goals. 24 of their 38 league games had under 2.5 goals scored in them! Their seventh place finish qualified them for the Europa League thanks to Manchester City’s domestic treble.
Wolves have signed Raul Jiminez from Benfica on a £30m permanent deal. He scored 13 league goals for them last season. Jiminez (below) is 33/1 (34.0) at Ladbrokes to top the Premier League goalscorers chart this season. Their other big signing is that of Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan for £23m. The forward has scored 27 goals in the past two seasons. However 34 games in Serie A last season only produced three goals. Wolves will want a better return than that for £23m. Bet365 will give you 66/1 (67.0) on him being the Premier League’s top scorer in the 2019/20 season.
Also signed have been Leander Dendoncker from Anderlecht and Jesus Vallejo on loan from Real Madrid. The latter is a defender but has only played 12 league games for the Spanish club in the past two seasons. Two players have been signed from Braga, namely Pedro Neto and Bruno Jordao. They’ve spent two seasons on loan at Lazio but barely played and are now heading for England. From Rome to Wolverhampton, a shock awaits them!
Wolves had an impressive season but still lost those 13 games. If they want to progress further they need to cut the losses and win more than 16 matches. Too many of their defeats were against sides in the bottom half of the table. Wolves even managed to lose twice to relegated Huddersfield Town. Yet this is a side that beat Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester, Everton and Manchester United in the league and drew at home with Manchester City.
They need to score more goals and hopefully the new signings will achieve that. Only 28 home league goals were scored last season. Only six away league games were won last season. Just 19 goals scored with a -6 goal difference. That has to be improved on this time around. Manager Nuno Esprito Santo is 40/1 (41.0) at Betfair to be the next Premier League manager to leave his club. He’s a good coach so could well get head-hunted.
Wolves are in the Europa League and already through to the third qualifying round. Two more ties need to be won to reach the group stages. Can their squad cope with the additional games?
Early Season Fixtures
11 August: Leicester City (away)
19 August: Manchester United (home)
24 August: Burnley (home)
1 September: Everton (away)
14 September: Chelsea (home)
Not the easiest of starts for Wolves. They are 23/10 (3.3) at William Hlll to beat Leicester City in their first match. Of their opening five league games, there’s only really Burnley at home that they will be favourites to get a win from. It’s 13/5 (3.6) at BetVictor that Wolves beat Burnley in their first home league game of the season. With Europa League qualifiers too, Wolves will be lucky to be in the top ten after these first five fixtures.
Wolves may have a harder second season back in the Premier League. They have made some good, though possibly risky signings. If those new recruits settle in and do their job well, then Wolves could finish seventh again. If they do then a bet on them at Coral of 10/3 (4.33) on them finishing top of a leagu without the big six is well worth a punt. A breakthrough into the top six doesn’t look likely for them. Perhaps another cup run is on the cards after their FA Cup semi-final appearance last season.