Writer: DJ Wolves
Wolves will be 6th in the Premier League over Christmas to improve on their finishing position of 7th last season. To better that position, despite the 12 additional games in the Europa League, is quite remarkable, especially as they are operating with a small squad by Premier League standards. At Christmas 2018 Wolves were 10th with 25 points from 18 games. This year also from 18 games they have 27 points.
Last week was the first time this season, apart from International break weeks, that Wolves have not had two games in a week. And while everyone expected the break to do them the world of good, they actually looked rusty in their play as though they had maybe switched off too much in the mini-break. The week before against Spurs at Molineux they were excellent and very unfortunate to lose to a late sucker punch. At Norwich, they were sloppy in their passing and were beaten to every loose ball and were definitely second best for the best part of an hour. It was surely their worst period of football all season. And yet once they drew level against the run of play, they gradually took control of the game and always looked the more likely winners in the last 30 minutes.
Wolves had to thank keeper Rui Patricio for keeping them in the game in that first hour with a string of important saves. Although he was helpless to stop Cantwell’s effort putting the home team ahead after a rare defensive error by Jonny. The only danger Wolves were causing at the other end of the field came when Traore was on the ball, but his fellow forwards Jimenez and Jota were not at their best and the passing from defence and in midfield was slacker than we have seen all season. But once Saiss scored with a good header from a Moutinho cross, Wolves started looking after the ball much better and it was Norwich that looked like they were running out of gas as the visitors stepped up their game. And Raul Jimenez knocked in a winner that had looked very unlikely half an hour earlier.
Whether Wolves will still be in the top 6 come the end of 2019 has to be questionable as they face Man City at home on December 27th and then Liverpool away just 45 hours later. Couldn’t have been a much more difficult end to the year than that, but Wolves have beaten both those teams in 2019 so who knows.