Friday, February 23, 2024

Wolves’ key fixtures in Premier League relegation battle

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It’s no surprise that former Spain, Real Madrid and Europa League-winning coach Julen Lopetegui has facilitated a distinct improvement at Molineux after succeeding Bruno Lage as Wolves manager.

The Spaniard has returned Wolves to a state of functional efficiency. They’re hardly the most inspiring team the Premier League has to offer, but they’re technically proficient and stout enough in defence.

Despite scoring just ten goals in 2023, Wolves have accumulated 14 points from ten games – the ninth-best record in the division. This improvement has seen Lopetegui’s side creep up the table, but while many expect them to remain in the top flight next season, the compactness of the bottom half means they’re not out of danger just yet.

Here’s what Wolves’ schedule looks like to close out the 2022/23 season.

Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Wolves opened their 2022/23 campaign away at Leeds / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Wolves vs Leeds

Up next for Wolves is the reverse fixture of the opening game of the season. Leeds beat Lage’s side 2-1 at Elland Road to open up 2022/23; a defeat that foreshadowed the Portuguese manager’s demise in the Midlands.

Leeds, too, will have a different boss in the dugout with Javi Gracia succeeding Jesse Marsch at the helm. The Spaniard’s start as manager has been decent enough, and you’d be foolish to rule out a draw on Saturday afternoon.

Nottingham Forest vs Wolves

Wolves are on the road as they return from the international break. Nottingham Forest’s home record has kept them afloat this term, with the City Ground proving to be a difficult place for every Premier League team to visit.

Again, this is another contest in which Lopetegui will be content with a point.

Leicester vs Wolves

The lack of televised action shows what the broadcasters think of Lopetegui’s Wolves. They’re hardly the consumer’s dream.

Wolves have won just twice on the road all season (one of which came against Nathan Jones’ Southampton), and it remains to be seen whether Leicester’s woes will perpetuate after the international break.

Wolves vs Crystal Palace

Another potential relegation contender visits Molineux just a couple of days after their trip to the King Power.

Crystal Palace have suddenly found themselves in the mix having endured a winless 2023 thus far. While Patrick Vieira’s side sit just ahead of Wolves in 12th, they’re just three points clear of the drop zone.

Wolves vs Everton

With a visit to potential champions Arsenal beckoning on the final day, Wolves will want to ensure their fate is secured well before.

They’ll take on Sean Dyche’s plucky Everton on the penultimate matchday of the campaign and the difficulty of Everton’s schedule down the stretch means it’s more likely the visitors will need something from this one.

Wolves were slumping before Lopetegui’s arrival but the Spaniard has since brought some unspectacular stability. They’re slowly picking up points and making their way up the table, but they remain just three points clear of the drop in 13th.

It’s also worth noting that Wolves have also played a game more than most of their fellow relegation candidates at this stage.

Position

Team

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goal difference

Points

12.

Crystal Palace

26

6

9

11

-12

27

13.

Wolves

27

7

6

14

-17

27

14.

Nottingham Forest

26

6

8

12

-26

26

15.

Everton

27

6

7

14

-18

25

16.

Leicester

26

7

3

16

-9

24

17.

West Ham

26

6

6

14

-10

24

18.

Bournemouth

26

6

6

14

-26

24

19.

Leeds

26

5

8

13

-11

23

20.

Southampton

26

6

4

13

-21

22

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