Wolves: ‘This season could be make or break for the club.’

"We stood still while other clubs were making strides up the division and that's frustrating," says Dave Azzopardi from Talking Wolves.

Matthew Crist

After two consecutive top-seven finishes and some memorable European excursions, last season turned out to be something of a disappointment for Wolves fans.

The club finished the campaign 13th in the Premier League, with a handful of major players struggling with injuries that hindered their development.

To top it all off, Nuno Espirito Santo left the club after four fantastic years in which he led the team from Championship mediocrity to English football’s top-flight.

But the appointment of new boss Bruno Lage has at least provided the fans with something to get excited about after a particularly lacklustre season as they once again organise their lives around the club’s fixture list.

“For me personally he wasn’t top of my list in terms of managers that were available,” Dave Azzopardi from Talking Wolves tells FansBet.

“But giving him an opportunity during the pre-season and listening to what he’s talking about, the style and tactics he’s trying to implement, it seems quite promising.

“He’s a hungry manager who has only really managed Benfica at senior level but had serious success and got fantastic results out of them.

“So I have got high hopes and I’m confident that he could be the man that can bring through young players, play exciting, attacking football and hopefully with a few more signings we could see that.”

Last season, Wolves were unable to maintain their previously outstanding defensive record while an injury-plagued attack meant they were pretty toothless upfront too.

With the arrival of Portuguese talent Francisco Trincao on loan from Barcelona, fans should be able to expect more goals than the 52 they managed last season.

Trincao, who was signed on a season-long loan from Barcelona with the possibility of a permanent deal at the end of the season, had a productive, yet short, stay in Catalonia last season, making 42 appearances and scoring three goals, adding two assists.

Meanwhile, the arrival of  Colombian centre-back Yerson Mosquera should go some way to tightening things up at the back.

Bruno Lage Wolves

The 20-year old, who moved to Molineux from Atletico Nacional on a five-year-deal, arrives at Wolves having made his professional debut in 2020, where he quickly became a breakout star in the Colombian top-flight.

However, Dave believes a more experienced central-defender is required for Wolves to improve their defensive stability.

“In terms of the business so far I think a lot of Wolves fans are disappointed,” he says.

“José Sa, Yerson Mosquera, Rayan Aït Nouri and Francisco Trincão coming in are four players that do bolster the team and bring in some quality, but I think fans were expecting a little bit more of an overhaul.

“There haven’t been many major exits which were expected but I think we were hoping to bolster the centre-back area – that’s where Wolves were really weak last season.

“Fingers crossed we see a few players being sold now and that money gets pumped back into the squad and we see some more quality additions over the next couple of weeks.”

Wolves began the 2021/22 season with a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester City 2021

Jamie Vardy’s superb cushioned volley from Ricardo Pereira’s right-wing cross late in the first half was enough to give the FA Cup holders the three points and condemn Wolves to their fourth consecutive opening day defeat.

Wolves did go close through Adama Traore and pushed hard for the equaliser in the second half with Max Kilman coming closest to leveling things when his header was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

But despite the defeat, Dave refuses to be downhearted about the way his side played against the recent Community Shield winners ahead of a tricky run of fixtures to come.

“The performance wasn’t concerning,” he says.

“A lot of Wolves fans are a bit dubious about new manager Bruno Lage, but the performance itself, especially in the second half, was very good.

“We’ve got some really tricky fixtures coming up in Tottenham and Manchester United, but if we can perform like we did in that second 45 minutes we’ve got every right to get something out of those games.

“I don’t think Wolves fans were expecting much out of the opening three fixtures against three of the better sides in the country but despite the result, the performance wasn’t that poor.”

Nuno Wolves

But if the fans are prepared to give their new boss time, it appears things might be a little different when it comes to the club’s owners.

Wolves have enjoyed unprecedented modern-day success under the ownership of Chinese conglomerate Fosun following their acquisition of the club from Steve Morgan in 2016.

After a rocky first season, they won the Championship in Fosun’s second year before achieving back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the Premier League.

However, the 2020/21 campaign fell below expectations and head coach Nuno Espirito Santo departed the club after the final day defeat to Manchester United.

Fans have grown frustrated at the lack of transfer business, which might explain why, in a recent survey for Sky, only 54.5 percent of Wolves fans said they are happy with their club’s current owners.

“The ownership has been questioned,” explains Dave.

“There have been lots of changes since the Fosun Group came in and bought the club a few years ago.

Wolves 2021

“Most notably the hierarchy has completely changed at the club. We’ve seen CEOs and Directors of Football leave and it’s quite a strange setup that they’ve got now.

“Fosun Group set themselves such high standards, then last year we didn’t live up to those expectations and fans are really disappointed with that.

“We saw them come in and spend a hell of a load of money in the Championship, Nuno came in and won promotion and got two consecutive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League.

“Then last season the club didn’t really go anywhere. We stood still while other clubs like West Ham and Aston Villa were making strides up the division and that’s frustrating.

“This season could be make or break for the club. They’ve got to get the acquisitions right in the summer and they’ve got to get a half-decent finish in the league as well, otherwise, I think fans might begin to turn.”

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