Wolverhampton Wanderers surprised absolutely everyone last season. They quickly became a fun and exciting team to watch after not being in the Premier League since 2011.
After gaining promotion in 2017, manager Nuno Santo made some significant signings in order to prepare for the upcoming EPL campaign. Those signings and some tactical changes paid off dividends as Wolves finished 7th in 2018-2019, an unbelievable achievement.
This season could be a lot more challenging for Santo and the squad as they compete for Europa League qualification along with all other domestic duties. A busy schedule could mean lots of squad rotation.
Let’s see if Wolves can keep up the positive momentum this season as they look to stay in the top half of the table and, potentially, qualify for European competition.
Expected Line-ups and Formations
As it stands, here is what I expect Wolves to look like in GW 1 barring any injuries before the season kicks off.
The formation will look similar to last season. 3-5-2 is where they felt most comfortable in the 2nd half of the season, but they have used 3-4-2-1 exchanging Dendoncker for Helder Costa for something a little more offensive.
The back line will stay as is apart from Jesus Vallejo being plugged into the starting 11 replacing Ryan Bennett whose age is catching up to him quickly at 29. Vallejo was signed on loan and offers valuable experience coming from Real Madrid.
Matt Doherty and Jonny Otto will both anchor the wings and continue to attack in the final third as much as possible.
Doherty had a remarkable season in 2018-2019 and looks to continue where he left off. At the moment of this writing, Doherty is dealing with an injury thats left him out of pre-season, but he is expected to be back by GW1.
The midfield will stay the same as Dendoncker, Mouthinho, and Neves hold down the middle of the park. It was successful last year so expect Santo to keep things in place for start of the season.
Up top, Jota and Jimenez will lead the strike force as they did last season. Both players are vital to the teams success and look for Santo to continue utilizing both players the same way.
Corners: Moutinho, Nevez
Free-kicks: Neves, Moutinho
Penalties: Jimenez, Neves
First 10 Fixtures
It’s a difficult schedule to start the season. They travel on Thursday August 8th to Armenia for their first leg match against Pyunik Erevan for Europa qualification. That’s 3 days before the start of there EPL season.
Leicester City (A), Man Utd. (H), Burnley (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), Crystal Palace (A), Watford (H), Man City (A), Southampton (H), Newcastle (A)
With all these games it might be difficult for manager Santo to keep his squad focused and healthy for Premier League games.
FPL – Players to Consider
Raul Jiménez is now a permanent Wolves player after completing his transfer from Benfica. Last year he was loaned out to Wolverhampton and after such a successful season, Raul wanted to come back on a permanent basis.
Scoring 13 goals and adding 8 assists in the Premier League last year justifies his price jump in FPL to £7.5m this season. His ownership is at a whopping 32%, highest out of ALL strikers in FPL.
He most recently scored a brace against Crusaders during the Europa League qualification to continue his goal count, but did come off injured in the 2nd half.
If Jimenez can replicate last seasons production or even surpass it, look for the Mexican to take his game to a whole other level.
Diogo Jota, the Robin to Jimenez’s Batman, has been on fire since Wolves were promoted 2 years ago. He scored 17 goals and 6 assists the year Wolves won the Championship. Last season he continued torturing teams scoring 9 goals and adding 5 assists in 33 games played.
Jota might be the biggest bargain in FPL at £6.5m. His ownership level is at 13.7% and expect that to jump as Jimenez might be out for GW1 after coming off injured last game.
Leander Dendoncker will start for Wolves this season after featuring 19 times last year and scoring 2 goals in the process. He’s a more defence minded player, but has shown his ability in the final third of the pitch as well. He’s priced at £4.5m and is a bargain pick up owned by 13% of FPL managers so far.
If he can consistently play 90 minutes, keep clean sheets, and put a few good offensive games together, then look for Dendoncker to be the best bargain player this year. If the last 2 games are any tell, then this could be a great year for the 24 year old.
Nuno Santo clearly trusts the Belgian and believes he can achieve more this year.
In conclusion, I think Wolves will have a tough start to the season with so many games being played before the EPL campaign begins.
With Jimenez already facing a late fitness test for GW1, it could be hard to select some players due to the busy schedule.
Hopefully the additions of Patrick Cutrone and Jesus Vallejo can help with rotation since they will need reinforcements during all other domestic cups and league games.