Wolves leading the way as we approach halfway
Wolves entertain Ipswich on Saturday at what will be another full Molineux. That in itself is a measure of how things have improved this season as this fixture may well have attracted 10,000 fewer people this time last year on the Saturday before Christmas.
The supporters have really bought in to the style that manager has bought to the team and of course positive results will always attract interest. And with 7 wins and a draw from the last 8 games, results could barely be better. And yet the last three games against Birmingham, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday have not been the most convincing we have seen from Wolves this season and the seven points earned from those three games have been earned more from solid defending than from the exciting attacking play that has lit up their game at times this season.
No keeper in all 4 divisions has more clean sheets to his name than John Ruddy, and it was at the start of the last 8 games that Bennett, Coady, Boly became the regular back 3, and in those games Wolves have conceded just 2 goals. The two wing backs Doherty and Douglas have played their part defensively but in a style that interchanges between 541 when the opposition has the ball, to 343 when Wolves are in possession, the wing backs have also been a key part of the attacking play.
Saiss has been solid ahead of the defence and has added consistency to his game since N'Diaye came on the scene to give competition for that role.
Inevitably its been the play of Neves, Jota, Bonatini and Cavaleiro that have drawn much of the headlines though, and at times, their football has looked like it comes from a level much higher than the Championship. The brilliant match winner from Neves at Hillsborough last week was a case in point.
The strength of the forward line is highlighted by the fact that last season's best player Helder Costa has been largely limited to appearances from the bench. But with 4 games in 11 days starting on Saturday there is every chance we will see some squad rotation, and Costa will be the most likely introduction to the starting line up. There has been hints in the last three games that the time may be right for some fresh legs in the team and having such a good player to call on says a lot of why the tipsters are now expecting Wolves to stay the pace and become champions.
Added to that it would hardly be a surprise if the squad was strengthened even more in January with reinforcements for the centre forward and right wing back positions the most likely additions, together with securing the permanent signings of some of the players currently on loan, particularly Jota and Bonatini.
But first its those 4 games over the holiday period with Ipswich at home, followed by Millwall away on Boxing Day, a big game at the surprise team of the division, and fellow promotion chasers, Bristol City on the 30th for live tv game at 17:30, then another home game against Brentford on the evening of Jan 2nd which is already close to selling out. Good times indeed, and every chance of a very happy new year for Wolves supporters.