Wolverhampton is gradually transforming from the noisy neighbors to one of the best teams in the English Premier League. They were promoted two seasons ago and they have been a team to reckon with since then. They beat almost all the top English Premier League teams last season and finishing 7th on the league table.
Chinese Fosun Group who happens to be the owner of the team is attempting something similar to what Manchester City team did about 10 years ago. They celebrated their promotion from the championship two seasons ago and Jeff Shi who is the senior executive of the team spoke of their intention and vision to make Wolves one of the best clubs in the world.
Wolves were League champions three times, but that was in the 1950s and were sometimes ranked inside England’s top 10 most successful clubs. Their last season game against Manchester City which ended 1-1 gave the fans lots of hope. Fans were super excited as they were seen singing an anthem that ends “We are Wolverhampton, we are on our way back!’’. But is it realistic to think Wolverhampton can meet their owners’ ambitions and get themselves to stand against the title contenders?
They had a good and successful season last season. They ended 7th in the league table, and that qualified them for Europa League play-off. The play-off so far has been good, they have played three matches and won all three. They scored 12 goals in three matches and conceded just three goals.
After beating Northern Ireland’s Crusaders in their opening tie, they humiliated Pyunik Yerevan of Armenia with just 48 fans behind them. They scored four goals each on both legs and conceded none – making it 8-0 on aggregate.
They were paired with Torino for a place at the group stage and have played the first leg after a 1-1 home draw to Manchester United and won 3-4. This is the club’s first European campaign in almost four decades.
The tournament has not been without challenges despite not losing any game yet, the manager of the team, Nuno Espirito Santo says, “Although expectations are high and the challenges are tough, this is what we have been training for. So we have to take every game as important as the other so that we can withstand the workload of the Europa League and the Premier League as well’’. But can Wolves cope with the increased workload and fatigue from the Europa League as it involves a lot of distance travelling?
Wolves do not have squad depth compared to their fellow Premier League rivals, Arsenal and Manchester United, who are appearing in the group stage. Nuno Espirito used just 18 players to finish seventh (7th) in the Premier League last season.
This season they are operating with 21-man squad. Something which many consider to be a disadvantage. But some, on the other hand, believe it will be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Many fans are of the opinion that ‘being a small squad means we are a tight-knit side and we do not have players sitting on the sidelines, starting to spread bad feelings among the squad’.
So with them having just 21 players registered for the competition, they have to be very careful and injury-conscious as well. Can Nuno’s side be able to replicate what they did last season and do even better as the Europa League is now added to their campaign. Feel free to comment in the comment box.