You could have been forgiven for not really holding out much hope for Wolverhampton Wanderers this season, especially after only finishing 15th last term.
There have been many false dawns at Molineux but after 19 games played of the 2017/18 season, Wolves are already looking the real deal and the team most likely to end the campaign as champions. So after uninspiring times with Walter Zenga and then Paul Lambert at the helm, a takeover, a new manager and great work in the transfer market, can anyone stop them?
The first thing you notice about Wolves is the squad. There are many sides in The Championship which boast real quality but Wolves have a few players that would comfortably slot into quite a few Premier League sides. The likes of Ruben Neves, Helder Costa, Diogo Jota, Ivan Cavaleiro and Leo Bonatini are all more than capable at playing at a higher level but they’re currently ripping England’s second tier up and teams really do struggle to stop them.
In terms of managers most recently, both Walter Zenga and Paul Lambert failed to deliver what the powers demanded and when 43-year-old Nuno Espirito Santo was recruited, many felt things would only go the same way as before. The former Valencia and Porto head coach immediately got to work devising a winning formula and his three at the back system is working wonders at Molineux. They’ve currently won 14 out of their 19 league games and scored an impressive 40 goals in the process.
Right now Wolves are on a 5 game winning streak and hold a 4 point lead over Cardiff who are second in the table. Many people will say it’s too early to judge teams due to there being 27 games left to play but you look at Wolves and see all the signs that indicate they will be heading back to England’s top flight after dropping to the second tier five years ago in 2012.
They have quality all over the pitch, from back to front. They have leaders and a strong spine. Their attacking qualities are unrivalled in the division in terms of literally being able to brush teams aside with ease and they have a head coach who has found that winning formula in terms of a system that the players are all enjoying playing in. With players such as Ruben Neves and Helder Costa at the club as well, it will help them recruit better players in the winter window, if they even need them.
Wolves aren’t the only strong side in the division this year. Both Cardiff and Sheffield United have looked great so far but their lack of real quality and strength in depth may be a telling factor as the season progresses. You’d potentially say that Aston Villa could be Wolves’ biggest rivals, due to their star-studded squad but right now Wolves are streets ahead and are likely to keep accelerating towards a return to the Premier League.