Will Wolves’ squad cope with the dual demands of Europe and the Premier League? Get our Wolverhampton Wanderers betting tips and the latest Wolves betting specials here.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are back in the big time. The Midlands club were at one point one of the most illustrious clubs in the country but had fallen on harder times in recent years, sinking as low as the fourth division since their 1950’s heyday when they won the top-tier title on three occasions. Having won promotion back to the Premier League last season, their first campaign back was a huge success.
Backed by wealthy owners and helped hugely by links with Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes, the club have continued to add talent to their squad and made a very long-awaited return to European football by qualifying for the Europa League last term. Will we continue to see tantalising football at Molineux, both domestically and on the continent?
Wolves Betting Specials
- To win the league – 1,500/1
- To win the Europa League – 25/1
- To win the FA Cup – 14/1
- To win the EFL Cup – 14/1
- To finish in the top four – 25/1
- To finish in the top six – 3/1
- To finish in the top ten – 1/5
- To be relegated – 250/1
- Raul Jimenez to be top scorer – 100/1
- Raul Jimenez to win PFA Player of the Season – 150/1
All odds from Bet365
Having been so dominant in the Championship in the 2017/2018 campaign, Wolves entered the Premier League with high hopes but they surpassed expectations in finishing in seventh place and securing a spot in the upcoming campaign’s Europa League competition. After making some solid additions and turning Molineux into a real fortress, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were so difficult to overcome throughout the campaign.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Wolves’ season last time around was the ability to raise their game against the top teams in the league. Not only did the Black Country side beat Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea at home in the Premier League, they also beat both the Red Devils and Liverpool in the FA Cup in front of their own fans and managed a famous away win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on their way to that excellent seventh-place finish.
Few managers in English football are as popular as Nuno Espirito Santo is at Wolves right now. The Portuguese manager had endured something of a roller-coaster time as a head coach in his previous jobs at Rio Ave, Valencia and Porto, but after being tasked with taking the men in old gold into a new era he has delivered on everything promised by the new owners since they took over at Molineux.
The fluidity of his preferred shape with wing-backs Jonny and Matt Doherty pushing on to help the attack from the wide positions has proven very effective so far, but after a full season of Premier League football under their belts Wolves will have to be prepared to shift and change that shape more regularly. Adding further versatility and depth to the squad during the January transfer window will be the main concern as Nuno prepares to take Wolves into the Europe League knockout stage.
The New Arrivals
When it comes to Wolves and the transfer market in recent years, all eyes are on Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes who has brokered deals to bring in some supremely talented players including his fellow countrymen Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves. Wolves also made two of their previous loan signings permanent transfers with Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker committing their futures to the club.
The most significant new arrival last summer was teenage Portuguese forward Pedro Neto from Lazio for £16million, but a couple of other signings did not work out with on-loan Real Madrid defender Jesus Vallejo and Italian striker Patrick Cutrone already having departed the club.
The Key Man
Ruben Neves perhaps did not quite manage as many powerful long shots last season as we were expecting after some of his incredible goals in Wolves’ Championship title campaign. But despite that, he impressed across the board for Wolves with his all-action displays from the centre of the park, apparently and unsurprisingly attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs.
At just 22 years old, Neves has an incredibly bright future ahead of him, be that at Molineux or elsewhere, but he is expected to remain in the Midlands for the rest of this season and continue to be the star turn of this excellent side. He has a terrific eye for a pass and is capable of breaking down opposition attacks and starting his own team’s in equal measure – can he now add a few more of those incredible long-range goals to his game too?
Can Wolves cope with European football alongside their league campaign?
A real issue for many teams in recent years when playing in Europe has been the inability to balance their Premier League form with Europa League or Champions League commitments. For the top six clubs, with bigger squads and bigger budgets, it tends to be slightly easier to rotate, but for teams further down the table, relying on key players in both competitions can eventually lead to fatigue and poor results in one or both.
We saw Burnley struggle at the beginning of last season after failing to make it through the qualifying stage, we have seen Tottenham struggle in post-Europa League fixtures in the past and we saw how Leicester City went from Premier League champions to relegation candidates during their Champions League campaign. The key for Nuno is finding ways to put trust in some of his fringe players and to continue adding quality options to the squad during the transfer windows.
Will this be Morgan Gibbs-White’s break-out campaign?
Perhaps the reason why we have seen Wolves strengthen their options in defence and attack but not in midfield is to allow room for their talented youth product Morgan Gibbs-White to blossom. With so many foreign imports added to the squad, it is important that the fans have a local lad to get behind and to retain the connection from the team to the fans and as a result, the Molineux hierarchy will be desperate for the 19-year-old to nail down a first-team place.
Having joined the club aged eight, Gibbs-White has now made 49 league appearances for the Wanderers and is already winning the hearts and minds of the Molineux faithful. With some real stars ahead of him in the pecking order for a starting spot, the midfielder will have to really knuckle down and start producing some top-quality performances which we know he is capable of on a consistent basis this term.
Where will Wolves finish this season?
We do not think Wolves have regressed since last season by any stretch of the imagination, but it is worth noting that in some areas of the squad their second-choice option does not match up to their first-team player and as such, the Europa League schedule may have some effect on their league performances. That said, we do not think it will be enough to see Wanderers slip down into the bottom half of the table.
The quality they have in players like Moutinho, Jota and Dendoncker is clear and although it may be difficult to maintain the same level of consistency this term, Wolves are capable of beating any team in the division on their day and you cannot see them facing too many difficult spells of form, so a high mid-table spot plus an exciting run in Europe seems the most likely outcome for us this term.
Our Wolves bet of the season
There may not be loads of value in backing Wolves for a top-10 finish but it does seem a rather comfortable bet for us. We may have backed them to finish in ninth place, but the teams we have predicted to finish directly below them do not seem to have enough quality to challenge them over the course of a 38-game season in our opinion. It is more likely they finish higher than ninth than lower, so a top-10 finish seems like a comfortable bet.
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