Why high flying Wolves could be relegated this season

One of the surprise packages in the Premier League over the past couple of seasons has been Wolverhampton Wanderers better known as simply Wolves. Under manager Nuno Espirito Santo the club hasn’t won any trophies but they have realised personal dreams.

This has included finishing in the top half of the table regularly and even qualifying for the Europa League and doing well in that competition. Last season Wolves really outdid themselves and got as far as the quarter finals before being narrowly knocked out by Spanish side Sevilla.

In the Premier League Wolves have finished 7th in their last two campaigns and have been solid in the league beating teams that finish above them. In short Wolves under Santo have become a team that other clubs even the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City do not look forward to playing. That is the respect that the club have garnered over the last few seasons.

Even in this campaign Wolves had started well and whilst nobody was expecting them to challenge for the league title another top seven finish did seem on. And then December came. But in reality one could go back to last summer when Wolves sold the excellent Diogo Jota. Not only did they sell Jota for just £40m (he was arguably worth between £60-65m) they also sold him to another Premier League rival in Liverpool. It made little sense.

In the Jota deal there was only one winner and it wasn’t Wolves. Of course Jota’s career has been halted at Liverpool through injury, that is just plain bad luck but before his injury he was proving his worth and why Jurgen Klopp wanted him so bad.

Then came a terrible blow in the winter months when Raul Jimenez Wolves’ prolific striker suffered a head injury after a clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz. Luiz only missed a couple of games but Jimenez has been out for 2 months and it has really hurt Wolves. Jimenez scored 27 goals in all competitions for Wolves last season and had scored 4 goals in the league from 10 games before his injury.

Daniel Podence has taken advantage of Jota’s sale and Jimenez’s absence by stepping up and scoring goals and he has been a bright spark for the club although can also be prone to injuries and Pedro Neto is another player who is trying hard for the club.

But there has to be some concern now because Wolves haven’t won a game in the Premier League since December 15th, 2020 when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at home. That was an impressive result and seemed to underline that the club had some back bone to them, much like Leicester for example. But Wolves wouldn’t be able to tie any of the Leicester players boots right now to steal an infamous English saying.

Wolves have earned just 8 points from their last 30 and 2 points from their last 15 and in recent form the club would be 2nd from bottom in the league.

Now fans will be worrying if the club are free falling? It has happened before of course in any league and Wolves have lost their last 2 games in row against Everton and more surprisingly struggling team West Bromwich Albion. They conceded 3 goals at home to West Brom, a side who had previously scored just 12 goals from 18 games. Wolves’ defence seems to be going through a lack of confidence and they have conceded 8 goals in their last 3 games.

Wolves have dropped to 14th and one must be wondering is there any good news on the horizon? Well presently despite Wolves’ poor form the club do have a 10 point safety net from the bottom three. Also one would have to believe that with the players they have and despite the injuries that the club have had to endure that they will hit a sweet spot.

That doesn’t mean European football for next season though however the club may just except finishing 10th this season after this scare.

Manager Santos will be worried though because it could be argued that the club haven’t suffered like this over this extended period since Santos has taken charge. He will understand that one win will kick start his team again.

At the weekend Wolves will play a tricky match against Chelsea, however the Blues are suffering much like their opponents for a lack of confidence and belief in themselves, that game should be interesting.

Wolves should have enough in the tank, but no club as they say is too good to go down and if Wolves don’t start to pick up in their next 3 games a relegation fight could be on the cards. What a season it has been because just 8 weeks ago we couldn’t have seen this story coming from Wolves.

The question will be asked who will save Wolves if results do not go their way in the coming weeks and one light at the end of the tunnel could be the return of Raul Jimenez. No date has been fixed for the talented strikers return but just his presence will certainly lift the dressing room, and a huge lift is what Wolves need right now.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Arsenal 1-2 Wolves

Arsenal have lost again. In losing 2-1 to Wolves the Gunners have made their worst start to a top flight campaign since 1981!

How times have changed at Arsenal where once facing Wolves at home would have been looked at as an easy three points. Now there is trepidation and fear and some of the Gunners team showed that at the weekend.

The match got off to an awful start as David Luiz, the Arsenal defender and Raul Jimenez the Wolves forward accidentally clashed heads when the ball was being crossed in from a corner. Luiz missed the ball and caught Jimenez instead with a loud thud. The reaction of the Wolves players said it all about Jimenez who had to be stretched off. It has been reported since that Jimenez has a fractured skull and will almost certainly be ruled out for the rest of the year and will be looking for a mid January return.

As for Luiz he somehow continued at least until half time after Arsenal had given him some tests on the touchline. However the club need to look at themselves especially with the latest news from the FA who want to look into head injuries in football and the long term implications. The fact that the Gunners took Luiz off at half time speaks volumes.

For the next ten minutes the game looked like it would be petering out with all thoughts on Jimenez but Wolves remembered with respect that there was a game to be won. A ;lucky bounce off the cross bar after a good Wolves attack opened the scoring for Pedro Neto.

At this point it would have been easy for Arsenal to crumble and be sorry for themselves but they soon hit back through Gabriel. The defender rose well to score a great goal and looked to be the unlikely hero of the day for the Gunners. However just before half time a Wolves break again and the ball found Neto looking for his second of the day, his shot was blocked but the reaction of the Arsenal defence, just like for the first goal, was too slow and Daniel Podence who has emerged as a quality player for Wolves pounced to drive the ball into the net for 2-1.

The game finished 2-1 and perhaps the saddest realisation was that Arsenal who had to obviously chase the game in the second half did not record a single shot on target throughout it. Neither did Wolves but Nuno Espirito Santo’s team didn’t need too.

There will be a lot of head scratching going on at the Emirates because in the summer, towards the end of the season, there seemed to be a path, a clearing of the leaves and mist left by Arsene Wenger’s final seasons and layered upon once more by Unai Emery. Arteta seemed to be the man that Arsenal needed. A string of results in the league led to an incredible FA Cup run which seen the club beat Chelsea in the final and win silverware from a season where they looked destined to come up short.

And yet here we are just four months later and if you thought Arsenal salvaging 8th place on the last day of the season was heroic think again. After 10 games Arsenal are in 14th position with 13 points. Five points from a Champions League place doesn’t seem like the end of the world but they are also just six points from the bottom three. If Arsenal were to keep to this standard for the rest of the season they would end up finishing with under 50 points.

Simply put one can look up at the starting 11 for Arsenal and wonder with all conviction if they actually have a good team anymore? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a brilliant player, but he has gone off the boil over the past few weeks. Questions will now turn to next weekend when Arsenal will face Tottenham away from home and what a crunch game that promises to be.

Some believe that a heavy loss could result in Mikel Arteta being sacked. The omens do not look good for Arteta with Arsenal having lost more games than won now and the fact that this latest home defeat was their third in a row, only sharpens ink on the P45.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 10

The three top clubs, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea all drew and there is just 2 points between them. Wolves are back in the mix with  a terrific 2-1 win away to Arsenal and the Gunners have fallen to 14th.

Manchester City who have had a slow start to the campaign by their standards thumped Burnley 5-0 and they are now 10th. Manchester United also recorded a brilliant comeback against Southampton and are now in the top 8.

It was another exciting weekend of football where we witnessed 19 goals from 8 games, but did any of your players make the team of the week, let’s have a look.

Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier- Leeds United 7pts

Illan Mesier kept a clean sheet even though Everton had seven good shots on target as Leeds beat Everton away from home 1-0. It was a tough afternoon for the goalkeeper who had to keep 100% alert. It was Meslier’s 4th clean sheet of the season so far.

Defender: Kyle Walker- Manchester City 7pts

Manchester City romped home to a 5-0 win over Burnley and that means that on top of getting a great win Kyle Walker in defence kept his 3rd clean sheet of the season. Walker also assisted in the clubs 2nd goal to wrap up a brilliant match for him.

Defender: Benjamin Mendy- Manchester City 9pts

Benjamin Mendy was the stand out performer in defence for the 2019 champions, keeping a clean sheet as City thrashed Burnley 5-0 and scoring the clubs third goal effectively killing the game off at that point.

Defender: Robin Koch- Leeds United 5pts

Robin Koch put in a stellar performance at the back to give Leeds a rare away win and a good one as it was against Everton. Koch had to make some brilliant interventions and decisions during a tense victory for Leeds and kept a clean sheet in the process.

Defender: Thiago Silva- Chelsea 5pts

Thiago Silva played one of his most assured games for Chelsea in the back four since his move from PSG in the summer. His quality and experience held his defence line firm as Chelsea drew 0-0 against Tottenham the current league leaders.

Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne- Manchester City 6pts

Kevin De Bruyne has had better seasons but when everything clicks he is still one of the best midfielders in the world. At the weekend it wasn’t about goals for De Bruyne but about assists and he set up 2 of Citys five goals.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Manchester City 16pts

Riyad Mahrez always seems to do well against Burnley but he did exceptionally well at the weekend as City ran out 5-0 winners and Mahrez grabbed an incredible 16 fantasy points to boot. Mahrez scored a hat trick and now has four goals for this season overall.

Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse- Southampton 5pts

Though his team Southampton let a 2 goal lead slip against Manchester United to lose the game James Ward-Prowse had another eventual weekend. He assisted in the clubs first goal and scored the second, though he did some points as he was also booked during the match.

Midfielder: Daniel Podence- Wolves 4pts

And step up Daniel Podencenewcast who has really come to light for Wolves this season when they have neeed a goal. Podence scored what would turn out to be the winner as Wolves stunned Arsenal at the Emirates to win the game 2-1.

Striker: Edinson Cavani- Manchester United 10pts

Edinson Cavani had scored for Manchester United before of course but perhaps this was the weekend when the player truly arrived. Cavani scored 2 goals and also assisted in United’s opener as they came back from 2-0 down to beat Southampton 3-2.

Striker: Callum Wilson- Newcastle United 6pts

On Friday Callum Wilson was the hero for Newcastle as they pulled off an excellent away win beating Crystal Palace 2-0. Wilson assisted in one goal and scored the other and the striker now has seven goals overall.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 4 Picks

Leicester City, Liverpool and Everton are the last remaining teams with a 100% winning record as we head into the fourth round of Premier League fixtures, whilst Fulham, Sheffield United and Burnley all remain pointless.

In some of the most-anticipated games of the weekend, Leeds United host Manchester City on Saturday and Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford as his Tottenham Hotspur face Manchester United.

Here are our recommended picks for your fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)
Clean sheets have been at a premium to start the 2020-21 Premier League season and Liverpool have kept just one in their first three. However, a trip to Aston Villa on Sunday should be a good opportunity for Alisson to double that tally.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 3 Picks

After EFL Cup action midweek the Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime with Brighton & Hove Albion hosting Manchester United at the AMEX Stadium.

Crystal Palace host Everton in a game between two sides on a 100% win record to start the 2020-21 campaign, whilst Chelsea will be looking to get back to winning ways away to West Bromwich Albion.

Sunday sees Leicester City travel to Manchester City whilst the best has been saved to last when defending champions Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Monday night.

Here are our picks for your fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Clean sheets haven’t been easy to come by in the opening two weekends of the season but Rui Patricio kept one away to Sheffield United in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ opening game before facing a rampant Manchester City on Monday night. With a trip to the London Stadium on Sunday there’s a good opportunity for Nuno’s side to keep a second clean sheet against West Ham United’s poor attack.

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