Watch out for sleeping wolves. With just one win in the last eight games, the Wolves are going through a more difficult time and are 9th in the standings. The arrival of the very solid Leicester (third) is very timely for a team that loves big shots.
Two wins against Manchester City
Although a little late, the return match between Wolverhampton and Manchester City was a Christmas present. On December 27, after a meeting of intense and breathtaking scenario, the Wolves won before the defending champion (3-2). Led 2-0, the men of Nuno managed a sensational comeback under the impetus of an Adama Traore of the (very) big nights to go for the victory at the very end of the match in a Molineux Stadium in trance. As the sign of a certain affection for big events, it is this same Adama Traoré who alone defeated the Citizens on the outward journey, scoring a decisive double (0-2). The Hispano-Malian - who has still not made his decision as to the selection of which he will defend the colors - has offered himself, as for his partners, an advertising of choice and now attracts lusts from all over Europe. With his three goals scored against City, Traoré is the very symbol of a team that likes to sublimate itself on special occasions. Involved in 4 goals in 2 games against the partners of Sergio Agüero, the whimsical winger with muscular silhouette did as well as in his previous seasons in the Premier League.
Adama Traoré has been directly involved in as many Premier League goals against Man City this season (4) as in his 66 appearances in the competition before the 2019/20 campaign combined.
Look. At. The. Strength. pic.twitter.com/Se8nHPP97P
A collective force that is not afraid of adversity
But it would be reductive to attribute to Adama Traore alone the six points out of six gleaned against City. If he again signaled against the untouchable Liverpool, where his team had not (at all) undeserved (1-2, last January 23), the 24-year-old dynamite an entire collective, shaped by hands of the master by technician Nuno Esperito Santo. At 46, the former Portuguese goalkeeper, who knows his fourth club experience after passages in particular in Valencia then Porto, is since 2017 at the head of a squad with a strong Lusitanian accent. From Rui Patricio in the cages to Diogo Jota in front, passing by Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho in the middle, there are eight Portuguese in the group, as much as in ... Porto. But when Nuno recalls that everyone communicates in English and that the sports director ensures that there is no conflict of interest with Jorge Mendes (players' agent but also of Nuno), it is the collective that prevails . A collective that has given Liverpool a hard time on the return as well as the outward journey (1-0), which has manhandled Manchester United three times this season (three draws) and which has hung Arsenal away. Only Tottenham and Chelsea won, the Spurs in additional time (2-1, 17th day) while the Blues had inflicted on Wolverhampton their only real hitch (5-2, 5th day).
The Wolves, who are discovering Europe this year (qualified for the 16th finals of the Europa League), form a close-knit team that does not deny a game identity focused on rapid transitions and efficient use of the ball, with a view to only to aim for victory. Witness the offensive 3-4-3 of Nuno, carried on the sides by fast players and turned towards the attack. He also ensures that all his matches are prepared in the same way, whether it is the City of Pep Guardiola or the Bournemouth of Eddie Howe opposite. In 2018, he confided to the Guardian , finding it "absurd to play 0-0. You take a goal in five minutes, and everything falls apart. And now your players are watching you, what do we do now? ” Obviously, it helps against the big guys.
The Appearance of a Premier League Robin Hood
But, paradoxically, perhaps less against the more modest teams. There are countless points lost by the partners of Captain Conor Coady against poorly classified, at home and away. If the Wolves do not lose often (6 defeats this season, like Leicester, yet 14 points separate them), they concede a lot of draws and do not seem to be inhabited by the same extra soul as during the big meetings, to be seen as a potential explanation for a ranking that we would imagine better given the good performance against the "Big Four". Burnley, Brighton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, all took at least one point against Wolverhampton. Watford, then in the bottom of the table, even beat them on January 1 (2-1).
When receiving the Leicester from Jamie Vardy, now cataloged as a big fish across the Channel, the opportunity is good for the Wolves to restart the machine, them who are finally only 6 points from fourth place, qualifying for the Champions League. Last year, the match resulted in a fantastic match, which ended 4-3. But this season, on the way out, an opportunity-poor 0-0 had opened the season for both teams. Leicester is now on the podium and is one of the greats. Therefore, the wolves are hungry.
"Neves tries to thread one through, and it's through to Jimenez, Jota's in the middle, JOTAAAAA!"
24 hours until #WOLLEI ...
- Premier League Ranking
- Calendar and results