Why Wolves are favorites to finish in the Premier League top four this season?


Why Wolves are favorites to finish in the Premier League top four this season?
Ruben Neves has once again been in fine form for Wolves

Despite failing to win any of their opening six games in the Premier League this season, Wolves currently sit only three points off 4th placed Chelsea.

Assuming you’d have told anyone at the start of October that Nuno Espirito Santo would be answering questions about his team’s ability to finish in the top four at the beginning of March, your incredulous remarks would have resulted in more than a few laughs across the room.

That was the time when, after winning just one of their opening seven games in the Premier League, there were genuine fears among the Wolves’ faithful that after punching above its weight in its maiden Premier League season, their club was again heading back to the Championship.

Apart from their poor form in the league, the club’s inability to keep clean sheets (they managed only 2 in their opening seven games), and their involvement in the Europa League convinced pundits that Nuno Espirito’s job as Wolves’ manager was in danger.

Fast forward only four months, and the 46-year-old manager is touted as one of the candidates whose name would be included in the list of Premier League bosses who’d contest for the Manager of the Year award come the end of May. What has changed in the last four months then? Let’s take a look.

Wolves’ form favors them to gatecrash the top four

Why Wolves are favorites to finish in the Premier League top four this season?
The 24-year-old has been fouled the most time in the Premier League so far this season

Ever since they suffered an unlikely defeat at Watford on New Year’s Day, Wolves have been one of the most in-form teams in the top tier of English football.

In their last five games in the league, Spurs are the only side who Wolves’ opponents in the race for the top four that have earned more points (9) than the Molineux Stadium’s residents (8). However, given that Wolves handed defeat to Spurs on Sunday, they’re, at the time, the better side.

The form of two of their main players, Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota, also favors the club to compete in the Champions League next season. The Portugal international Jota is especially in red hot form as he has managed 6 goals in the last 3 games in all competitions.

Jimenez, who has been the top-scorer for Wolves this season, isn’t far behind. The 28-year-old Mexico international has managed 13 goals and another 6 assists in 28 league appearances. He, too, like Jota, is approaching the business end of the season in fine form, having scored 5 goals in last 7 appearances.

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Their run-in also makes Wolves favorite

Why Wolves are favorites to finish in the Premier League top four this season?

With only 10 games remaining between now and the end of the season, Wolves have a more forgiving run-in then any of their opponents in the race for the top four.

Out of the sides which currently reside in the top-six, Wolves have to face only Arsenal (mid-April) and Chelsea (May) before the conclusion of this season. Their next four games in the league, all of which come against relegation-threatened sides, favor Nuno’s men as well.

Apart from these games, the only tricky-looking fixtures which Wolves would have to navigate is a rip to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United next month and a visit to the Molineux by Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton six days later.

Consequently, in addition to the form of the entire team as well as that of their star players, the remaining fixtures which stand between Wolves and a dream top-four finish make the Premier League newcomers the favorites to play in the Champions League next season.

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