Inside Track: Wolves

By SFC Media Thu 27 Sep Wolves v Saints
Photo by Getty Images | Wolves

Get the lowdown on Saturday's opponents from the Express and Star's Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers, as Saints prepare to head to Molineux to face newly promoted Wolves.

Can you summarise the mood around the club at the moment?

Utterly buoyant. For about a year now the whole place has been on a high, with Nuno Espirito Santo's team storming to the Championship title and now carrying on that momentum into the Premier League.

They've only lost once in their opening six matches and have deservedly held both Manchester clubs to 1-1 draws. Wolves are happy to take on all comers and they have some serious quality to back up their tight organisation.

Wolves have only spent four seasons in the top flight in the past 34 years - for an epitome of a 'sleeping giant' that just isn't good enough. They're making up for it now with incredibly ambitious owners Fosun aiming for the stars and saying they want Wolves to be the biggest club in the world.

Nine changes were made to the team for the Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester; was that a sign of the depth of options available to Nuno this season?

Nuno has named the same XI for the opening six league games, a luxury that has undoubtedly helped Wolves make an impressive start to the campaign.

Formerly of Porto, Nuno Espirito Santo has been taken to the hearts of Wolves fans.

The likes of Adama Traore, an £18m club record signing from Middlesbrough, £12m Belgium international defender/midfielder Leander Dendoncker, Moroccan midfielder Romain Saiss and Championship goalkeeper of the season John Ruddy can't get into the team.

Throw in skilful winger Ivan Cavaleiro (returning from a back injury), England U17 World Cup winner Morgan Gibbs-White and 12-goal striker from last season Leo Bonatini and it's clear Wolves have plenty in reserve as and when they need it.

What would be considered a successful campaign for Wolves?

Given the money spent in the summer - and the Premier League-ready team Wolves already had from last season, with the likes of Ruben Neves, Willy Boly and Diogo Jota brought in last summer in anticipation of being part of a top-flight squad - mid-table is the aim and for a first season in the top flight that would be a success.

Who have been the stand-out performers so far this term? Who are the dangermen Saints need to be wary of?

The new signings who've gone straight into the team have all impressed. Portugal number one Rui Patricio is a world class goalkeeper, Jonny Castro Otto looks to be a very effective left wing-back and Raul Jimenez has scored twice and led the line superbly up front. No one has caught the eye more than Portuguese class act Joao Moutinho, though.

EURO 2016 winner Joao Moutinho celebrates Wolves' equaliser at Old Trafford last time out.

The 32-year-old is by far the most decorated player in Wolves' squad having won numerous domestic titles, a Europa League and a European Championship. He's added experience, quality and panache alongside the pretender to his throne, the equally talented Ruben Neves in midfield.

What kind of match are you expecting at Molineux on Saturday?

Molineux has been a fortress for Wolves under Nuno. They've lost just twice at home in 29 matches since he took charge last summer, with no defeats since January.

If Wolves can reproduce the display they put on against Burnley in their last home game - when they mustered 30 shots - I'd expect another three points for Nuno's team.

However their main weakness so far - not being clinical enough in front of goal (they only scored once against Burnley despite their dominance) - needs to be addressed and Southampton have Danny Ings to show them how it's done if they let their guard down.


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