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First Team

Premier League Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves go under the microscope in our final opposition preview ahead of the new campaign

5 July 2021

Seven years ago we were battling it out with Wolverhampton Wanderers for promotion from Sky Bet League One, now we are gearing up to face Wolves in the top flight of English football.

2020/21 REPORT

League Position: 13th (Premier League)
Top League Goalscorer: Pedro Neto and Ruben Neves (5)
Stadium: Molineux
Capacity: 31,700 (Seated Capacity)

After consecutive seventh-placed finishes under Nuno Espirito Santo, the 2021/21 season proved more difficult for the men from Molineux and ended with Nuno leaving after four years in charge. 

The defining moment of the season may well have been the sickening injury suffered by leading marksman Raúl Jiménez against Arsenal in late November which brought his campaign to a premature end. Victory that evening left Wolves in sixth, with 17 points from their opening 10 matches. However, in the absence of Jiménez the goals dried up and Wolves won just one of their next 11 matches. Leading scorers Pedro Neto and Ruben Neves would end the season on five each, just one more than Jiménez netted in his ten matches at the start of the campaign. 

Wolves' 36 goals scored was their second lowest return in 37 years with Neto and Neves setting a new record for the fewest goals needed to end the season as the Club's top scorer. 

Despite their struggles in front of goal, Nuno's men never dropped lower than 14th in the table, comfortably ensuring a fourth straight top flight campaign.

THE MANAGER

Bruno Lage is the new man in the hotseat at Molineux, replacing countryman Nuno Espirito Santo last month.

Bruno Lage.jpg

The 45-year-old had a short-lived playing career in his native Portugal before going into youth coaching with his hometown club Vitória de Setúbal in 1997. Between 2004 and 2012 he coached every level of Youth Team at Benfica before joining Carlos Carvalhal at Sheffield Wednesday and then Swansea City as Assistant Manager. Lage returned to Benfica as manager of their reserve team in July 2018, taking over the main job the following January. During his short tenure as coach, he won the 2018/19 league title and the 2019 Super Cup, picking up the Primeira Liga and Portuguese FA Coach of the Year prizes at the end of that campaign. After a strong start to 2019/20, which included 16 straight league wins between September and January, a run of just two wins in 13 saw Lage resign in June 2020 as Benfica failed to retain their league title. 

LAST MEETING

We've failed to win any of our last four against Wolves with Nuno Espirito Santo's side running out 3-0 winners at Molineux in January 2018 on their way to the Sky Bet Championship title.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly (sub Hause 83 mins); Doherty, Neves, Saïss, Douglas; Costa (sub Cavaleiro 53 mins), Bonatini, Jota (sub Enobakhare 81 mins)

Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet (sub Clarke 78 mins); Woods; Canós (sub Jozefzoon 64 mins), Mokotjo, Sawyers, Watkins: Vibe (sub Maupay 71 mins)


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