As we head into the first International Break of the season (how boring to not have a game to watch for 2 weeks) we can take stock of a highly promising start to their Premier League season for Wolves. 5 points from the first 4 games has put them in a mid-table position which, considering three of those games were against clubs that finished in the top half last season, including the champions, makes for a very encouraging start. The atmosphere at the games at Molineux, the quality of football, the anticipation of achieving the clubs’ highest ever Premier League finish, it’s a good time to be a Wolves supporter.
There has been a massive transformation at the club over the last couple of years and of course, the investment made in the playing staff by the owners, Fosun, has been a big factor in that. But clubs have spent big in the past and failed and one of the big positives about the Wolves investments has been that so many of the signings have been a huge success. And manager Nuno may well go down as the best signing of all.
The team that got promoted last season were talked of as one of the best ever Championship teams, but the club didn’t stand on their laurels and brought in a number of players that have taken the club literally to another level.
Keeper Patricio is already building a reputation as one of the best in the Premier League. His positioning is excellent and he has made a number of outstanding saves already. Moutinho has slotted in alongside Neves in midfield and looked top drawer player. And Jiminez up front has missed one or two good chances but has lead the line superbly. Wolves may be being talked of as the new moneybags team of the Premier League but these three signings have remarkably seen an outlay of well less than £10m in transfer and loan fees.
Added to those, Adama Traore has been exceptional in his cameo sub appearances so far and must be pushing for a starting position. Although such has been his impact in the last half hour of games then he looks like he could prove to be worth the club record transfer fee for those short contributions alone. And Dendoncker is yet to be seen in the Premier League. This is a Belgian World Cup player who was close to signing for Man Utd last year and will likely also make a difference when he is deemed up to full fitness having missed pre-season.
The remainder of September sees three more games for Wolves and the two home games, against Burnley and Southampton, do have the look of winnable games. 4 or 6 points from those games would certainly see Wolves finish the month in the top half of the table. And they will give Man Utd a run for their money when they go to Old Trafford on the 22nd.
Wolves best ever Premier League finish was 15th in 2009/10 and their 6th position in 1979/80 was the only time they have finished in the top half of the top flight since 1973. My pre-season prediction for this season was 9th, and I have seen nothing so far to suggest that isn’t achievable. So far they have an average of 1.25 points a game from the opening four matches, and if they maintained that average over the 38 game season they would end up with 47 points. Enough last season to have put them 9th.
With a couple of good home performances this month, they may well go into October even higher than 9th.