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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EPL Best XI – Week 37

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The curtain is almost down. The business is almost done. With just a single round of games remaining in the Premier League, the relegation battle is finished but the title race remains very much alive. With the final game of the season being the time that this year’s Premier League champions will be identified, there is still plenty to play for at the summit of England’s top flight. With that said, let’s adopt a 4-3-3 formation this week and see which players performed the best for their clubs this past weekend.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Week 35

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With just a few games left in the Premier League campaign, things are starting to take shape and will continue to do so with this weekend’s round of matches. There is no Friday night fixture this week, but instead we have a big card of games on Saturday with three coming on Sunday and one on Monday evening, with games every day next week except for Thursday as matches in hand are played. Man City taking on Tottenham in Saturday’s lunchtime kickoff looks to be the biggest game of the weekend, but there are plenty of games in store to keep us guessing. Bournemouth host relegated Fulham hoping to build on their impressive 5-0 win at Brighton last weekend, while Newcastle host Southampton in Saturday’s late game. Let’s go for a 4-3-3 here!

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EPL Player of the Week – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

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When a player stands out head and shoulders above the vast majority of the rest, there will always be suggestions that there will be a big money move in his not-too-distant future. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham have seen it while in the Premier League, while Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane experienced similar things during their respective times in La Liga and Serie A. The modern day equivalent to those transfer rumblings would have to be the not so curious case of Eden Hazard, whose performances in recent months have once again sparked speculation that he could be on his way out of Chelsea this summer. One thing Hazard has in common with all of the aforementioned players? Real Madrid.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Week 31

vardyWith a reduced run of fixtures in the Premier League this coming weekend owing to FA Cup Sixth Round action, there are only ten teams from which to take this week’s weekend picks. The pick of the upcoming fixtures is arguably Everton hosting Chelsea in the 4.30pm kickoff on Sunday, while Bournemouth host in-form Newcastle on Saturday. Burnley do battle with Leicester and West Ham take on Huddersfield in Saturday’s other games, while Sunday’s earlier game sees Fulham welcome Liverpool to Craven Cottage. Taking all of that into account, let’s adopt a 4-3-3 this time and see which players could be set to work their way into fantasy management consideration.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 12

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The 12th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City take on Manchester United, while Liverpool host Fulham and Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…

GK – Alisson (Liverpool)
Alisson is an expensive addition at 10.00m but he’s worth every last million. The Liverpool goalkeeper has 42 points this season and he’s likely to add to that tally against Fulham on Sunday.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 11

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The 11th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Bournemouth take on Manchester United and Liverpool travel to Arsenal. Let’s take a look at some players who you should consider adding to your EPL Fantasy teams before the weekend…

GK – Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
We’re going to look specifically at high-scoring players who sometimes go under the EPL Fantasy radar in this week’s picks, starting with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The World Cup winner has 21 points this season — only four goalkeepers have more — and he could easily add to that tally against Wolves on Saturday.

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EPL Best XI – Aubameyang and Lacazette lead the way

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Unbeaten Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are only separated by goal difference at the top of the Premier League table after Week 8 of the 2018-19 season. Let’s take a look at which players made our Best XI of the weekend…

GK: Hugo Lloris, Tottenham – seven points
Hugo Lloris started his first Premier League game since August as Tottenham narrowly defeated Cardiff 1-0 on Saturday. The Frenchman earned seven points in the match — no other goalkeeper picked up more over the weekend.

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Chelsea Set To Bring Back Their Stars

Chelsea Vs Liverpool Preview

English Premier League, Week 7

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Having already gone head to head on Wednesday evening, Chelsea and Liverpool lock horns again on Saturday, the visitors well aware that their last two domestic defeats came at the hands of their hosts here.  Continue reading