Wolves 2020/21 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man & Prediction

Lewis Pangratiou
Nuno Espirito Santo will want Wolves to build on a hugely positive 2019/20 campaign.
Nuno Espirito Santo will want Wolves to build on a hugely positive 2019/20 campaign. / Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images
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Wolves face a tricky start to the 2020/21 Premier League season as they travel to last year's fellow high-flyers Sheffield United.

Having finished a respectable seventh place last year while also getting to the Europa League quarter finals, the pressure is now on Nuno Espirito Santo to continue the club's recent run of success and turn their project into something truly memorable.

Though they narrowly missed out on qualifying for European football following Arsenal's FA Cup win, fans are still incredibly optimistic about the future and many are confident that their team can once again compete for a Europa League spot.

They do face problems this year, however. So far a lack of investment has frustrated Nuno, who wishes to build on what he already has rather than take a step in the wrong direction. Only 18-year-old striker Fabio Silva has been brought in so far - for a club-record fee, no less.

That, alongside some uncertainty surrounding the future of some of their star players - namely Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez - might unsettle the dressing room. Whatever happens, watching Wolves at the moment is still an exciting prospect.


Strengths

Structure and Organisation

Wolves are incredibly well organised
Wolves are incredibly well organised / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Nuno has developed a very well-structured 3-5-2 system that the players are familiar with. Everyone knows their role and, more importantly, everyone wants to succeed in those roles.

They are happy to sit back, cede possession, and catch their opponents on the counter - that defensive output allows for a quick change from defence to attack which is what makes them so threatening.

When they do get the ball, they either attack with pace and power through the likes of Traore - who can either drive through midfield or attack the space in behind the full back and centre half - or by playing over the top into the space created from their defensive work-rate.

Leadership and Experience

The two strengths go hand in hand. When you have more influential leaders in your side, you are more likely to stick to the strict instructions of a game plan and stay organised. There are not many greater leaders at the moment in the Premier League than Conor Coady. He leads with authority, conviction and instinct, in a way that motivates his side to do better.

That level of leadership, combined with the experience of veterans like Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho, who have both played at the highest level with Portugal and in the Champions League, has a great psychological effect on a squad who are momentarily heading in the right direction.


Weaknesses

Depth

If Wolves have a few bad injuries, their squad will unlikely be able to cope.
If Wolves have a few bad injuries, their squad will unlikely be able to cope. / Pool/Getty Images

One of Nuno's biggest issues is that he doesn't have too many options on the bench which is why he wants to bring in reinforcements, particularly in the midfield area. Now they're an established side who are expected to be up there fighting for Europe, they need the depth the bigger clubs have if they wish to continue fighting with the rest.

If they have one or two bad injuries, they will feel the effects massively. We have already seen the others around them strengthen this transfer window while Wolves have sat back and done little, which could hinder their performance next year.

Predictability

While their style of play is admirable and shows how organised they can be, it does make Wolves just that little extra predictable. Though that is not necessarily always a bad thing.

Sometimes executing the game-plan is enough if you do it well. However, it does mean that they will struggle to adapt their style should they be found out, which is becoming more and more likely.


Key Man

Jimenez is the striker Wolves need
Jimenez is the striker Wolves need / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Jimenez scored 17 of Wolves' 52 goals in the Premier League last season as he combined his unique power and fantastic finishing to become one of the division's finest and most feared strikers.

While he is quite different to most modern forwards in the sense that he doesn't latch onto a final pass but instead wrestles his marker off the ball, his level of performance justifies why he is being touted with a move to some of Europe's elite.

His contribution to Wolves is indisputable. His goals as well as his link-up play have helped him to form a reliable partnership with teammate Diogo Jota. Quite simply, the Mexican striker is irreplaceable (at least in the short-term) and if Wolves were to lose his goal output, they would no doubt struggle to maintain the level they have maintained over the last two years.


Prediction

Wolves must hang onto their key players and bring more in
Wolves must hang onto their key players and bring more in / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Fans won't like hearing this, nor would some admit to it, but if Wolves fail to strengthen this summer, they will inevitably drop off. That means they must buy players in addition to keeping their most prized possessions.

They have already lost Matt Doherty to Tottenham. Their key players haven't been credibly linked with moves as of yet, but there is still a degree of uncertainty at the club. Their European competitors have already made key inroads to improving their squads.

That being said, if they do decline, it won't be drastic. Fans shouldn't panic about entering a relegation battle or anything over the top. They will, however, be forced to acknowledge that the project would near enough be dead.

Of course, if they do invest heavily and keep their players, then everything changes. But they need to get a move on.

Prediction: Mid Table

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