The Premier League appears to have split itself into three sections this season. The top 6 are very much the top 6 and with a gap of 11 points between sixth and seventh spot it would take quite a collapse from them and a run of form from those in the second section to make up the difference.
One of the sides trying to hit that seventh spot and with it an outside chance of Europa League qualification are Wolves. Having cantered to the Championship title last season, the side hailing from the Black Country have certainly upset the elite with their play and knack of getting good results without having to grind them out.
Having beaten both Chelsea and Spurs whilst drawing with Manchester City and Arsenal, they haven’t been found out of their depth and with fifteen games left to play they’re edging ever closer to the magic 40-point mark and securing another season at the top level.
The refreshing freshness of play coached to his players by Nuno Santo is what’s giving his side the edge over their opponents, especially given a lot of sides set up not to get beaten and then fail to have a plan B if they go a goal down.
Raul Jimenez might be top goal scorer with seven so far, also impressive given the division’s top scorers have only double his total, but goals are shared through the team with no less than thirteen different goal scorers in the Premier League.
Wolves’ next seven games are against sides directly around or below them which should give them enough time to get the remaining points they need to ensure they are playing Premier League football next season before they face members of the top 6 again.
They can’t however afford any complacency as four of the clubs directly below them can leap above them with as little as two decent results. Depending on their FA Cup result this coming weekend, having that much breathing space in the league position might allow Santo to be even more adventurous with his team selection for cup games safe in the knowledge he’s not having to juggle with league survival.
Not surprisingly, Santo’s squad contains a lot of his fellow countrymen, but they have integrated well into the squad and there are no stand out players, just a team ethic they take into every match and the opposition know they will find a well-drilled unit capable of causing problems for any team they face.
Whilst unlike some of the sides in the division, Wolves like to get the ball down and play through teams, their direct running caused Tottenham a lot of trouble and resulted in them taking home three points from Wembley.
One thing that does however work against their playing ethic is a lack of clean sheets. Only five in 23 league games does suggest teams will score against them, but as already mentioned with so many different goal scorers across the squad they would be confident of at least finding the net once per game.
Whilst the other two sides promoted along with them looking like they will struggle to survive their first season back in the top flight, it will be interesting to see what Wolves can do from hereon in and push on from what so far is an impressive Premier League return.