Will Europe affect Conor Coady’s men? – Wolves 2019/20 Opposition Preview

7 August 2019

Wolves were the Premier League‘s surprise package last season, but will Europa League football stop them in their tracks this time around?


Last season: Won 2-0 away, won 2-0 at home

When we play them: December 28 (home); January 21 (away)


The majority expected Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to pull well clear of safety in 2018/19, but few believed they would finish seventh.

Wolves played wonderful football along the way, led superbly by former Liverpool youngster Conor Coady, managing to take points off all the top six sides bar the Reds.

European football was secured thanks to their brilliance but, ironically, it will be their biggest hurdle to overcome this season.

Burnley showed last year how detrimental the Europa League can be to domestic form and Wolves must avoid suffering a similar fate.

Their squad depth will be tested and legs will tire if they make it into the group stages—expect a slightly lower finish, but still a perfectly solid campaign.

 

Wolves

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo (Dave Thompson/PA Wire)

Notable ins: Patrick Cutrone, Raul Jimenez (loan made permanent), Hong, Raphael Nya, Leander Dendoncker (loan made permanent), Jesus Vallejo, Pedro Neto, Bruno Jordao, Renat Dadashov, Tsun Dai, Flavio Cristovao

Notable outs: Kortney Hause, Ivan Cavaleiro, Helder Costa

Best XI: Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Jonny, Dendonker, Neves, Moutinho, Doherty; Jimenez, Jota


We spoke to Sam Cook from The Wolves 77 Club (@77ClubPodcast) podcast to hear about Wolves’ hopes of replicating last season’s brilliance.

How optimistic are you about the new season?

After last season, we’ve got a reason to be optimistic!

Not only does Nuno seem to have played a blinder in the transfer market, we’ve also got a European campaign to look forward to for the first time since 1980.

Mix that in with an actual local derby, after Aston Villa won promotion, and this campaign looks set to be a brilliant one.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, December 21, 2018: Wolverhampton Wanderers' captain Conor Coady during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What are Wolves’ main objectives for 2019/20?

The objectives have split the fans, to be honest.

Some think building on seventh is on the cards, but I don’t think we’re there yet. This is a long-term, 10-year project and we’re already ahead of schedule.

This season was meant to be the one we won promotion to the Premier League, so to be trying to break into the top six shows how far we’ve come in a short space of time.

But we all know football takes no prisoners and falls can be as rapid as the rise—we should know following a double relegation starting in 2012.

I think the aim is to at least qualify for Europe or have a good Europa League run to the group stages, alongside a top-10 finish.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Ruben Neves celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 6, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Cardiff. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Who’s your man to watch, and why?

One to watch is difficult as we’ve got some real quality in the team now.

Ruben Neves has got to prove he can be consistent and if Diogo Jota can pick up where he left off he could easily be our top goalscorer.

As far as the ‘unknowns’ are concerned, Patrick Cutrone could be a stroke of genius—a snip at £16 million.

* All rival supporter views taken before the end of the transfer window.

 

Molineux

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 31, 2012: A general view of Molineux, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, before the Premiership match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 31,700

Away fans’ pubs: Truth be told, there aren’t many places for away fans to drink in the town centre. The Bluebrick literally behind the station does allow away fans in though, I believe, but is more of a restaurant.

One piece of advice for visiting fan: Rather than trying to drink in Wolverhampton, get the 15-minute train into Birmingham and have a drink there. There’s a much better selection of pubs.

 

Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' captain Conor Coady during the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How do you rate Liverpool’s chances ahead of the new season?

Liverpool will have to go a long way to eclipse what they did last season—it’s the closest you can get to winning the Premier League without taking the trophy home.

A Champions League trophy softens the blow, though.

They haven’t looked like world beaters in pre-season, but then again, it’s pre-season!

If Jurgen Klopp can find a top-class partner for Virgil van Dijk that could well be the missing piece of the jigsaw. The score-draws killed them last year in the end.

I think another push for the title and a good European run would be sufficient.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 4, 2019: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold prepares to take a corner-kick during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Who are you tipping to be our Player of the Year, and why?

Trent Alexander-Arnold.

If he can improve the defensive side of his game and get it close to the level of his attacking game, what a player he will be.

That’s great for England, too, ahead of Euro 2020 next summer.


TIA’s Wolves Predicted Finish: (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions) 10th

Where Sam says Wolves will finish: 8th

Where Sam says Liverpool will finish: 2nd


This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC. Read them all here.

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