Wolverhampton Wanderers have made a very uninspiring start to the 2022/23 Premier League campaign. Having cemented themselves as a top-half Premier League outfit in recent seasons, financial difficulties for the club’s Chinese owners have seen the tap turned off a little, with investment in the squad at a much lower level – and it shows.
At the halfway period of the season, the Wanderers find themselves in 16th place, with 17 points from 19 games. Extrapolate that over the course of an entire season, that’s just 34 points. Historically, this would leave them battling to avoid the third and final relegation spot. Although there are four teams worse than the Wolves on paper at present, there are a handful of statistics that make for grim reading for fans of the Gold and Blacks.
Read Also: Football Transfer News: Caicedo wants to leave Brighton, Dumfries to Newcastle or Chelsea?
12 goals scored in 19 Premier League games
The Wanderers have bagged only a dozen goals in half a Premier League season. That’s an atrocious statistic by anyone’s standards. Even bottom-of-the-table Southampton have managed 17 goals and newly promoted Nottingham Forest have scored three more than their Midlands rivals. With Daniel Podence currently the club’s leading scorer with five goals, it tells its own story as to where the Wolves’ problems lie at present.
The acquisition of Atletico Madrid frontman Matheus Cunha could be an inspired pick-up by boss Julen Lopetegui, who was appointed back in November to replace Bruno Lage. Brazilian, Cunha, was enticed by Lopetegui to sign on loan for the remainder of the campaign. The 23-year-old has had a sound football upbringing in European football but failed to set the world alight with Atletico. Lopetegui and Wolves fans will be praying that Atletico’s loss is the Wanderers’ gain.
7 yellow cards for midfielder Ruben Neves
With Wolves’ key midfielder Ruben Neves already registering seven yellow cards, the Portuguese ace is walking a suspension tightrope. Wanderers could ill afford to be without Neves for a couple of league games. The former FC Porto schemer has taken to English football with aplomb in recent seasons, demonstrating the grit and aggression needed to thrive.
When channelled in the right direction, grit and determination can help power individuals at the top of their craft. In the poker world, Danish card maestro Gus Hansen is considered one of the boldest people of all time at the tables, with fellow poker icon Phil Hellmuth describing his playing style as “bizarre”. Most people would kill to be labelled bizarre and have Hansen’s poker CV. It’s possible that Neves has not managed to channel his bold, driven nature in the same way as Hansen so far in 22/23, with several teams targeting him for bookings which effectively stunt him from having a full-blooded impact on proceedings.
4 Premier League victories
Four league wins in 19 games will do little to set the Molineux pulses racing. Winning only a fifth of your matches will yield just 23 points in a Premier League season. Even if you manage to draw ten other games over the course of the campaign, that’s still only 33 points on the board – usually a total low enough to ensure relegation.
Lopetegui’s men need to start turning Molineux into the fortress it once was. Sure, the thrill of being the new kids on the block in the Premier League has worn off, but the Wanderers cannot afford to take their top-flight status for granted. Every season has its own challenges and if they continue to take their collective eyes off the ball, they could be staring down the barrel of a season in the Championship.
6 points from 9 Premier League away games
Although it’s important to pick up regular points from their home games, the Wolves also need to get back to being hard to beat. Their resolute nature under former boss Nuno Espirito Santo appears to have evaded them. Six points from their first nine away league games is testament to this. Six away league goals is the second-worst in the division, behind newly promoted Nottingham Forest with two goals.
After 19 games, Wolves find themselves 16th in both the home table and away table. Consistently inconsistent is a phrase that many Wanderers fans will know all too well about their team this term. In fact, given how poor they’ve been, most Wolves fans would probably snap your hand off to lock in a 16th-place finish, avoid the dreaded drop and allow Lopetegui a full summer to rebuild.