The 2019/20 Premier League season begins on Friday, when European champions Liverpool host Norwich at Anfield. As part of our season preview, The Coaches’ Voice experts have predicted who can expect to finish where and addressed the key tactical questions facing each team. Here, we cover those clubs we believe will finish between eighth and fifth, starting with the surprise package of 2018/19.
Wolves have responded to their anticipated qualification for the Europa League by signing Raúl Jiménez and Leander Dendoncker on a permanent basis and increasing their squad depth, recruiting Patrick Cutrone, Pedro Neto, Bruno Jordão and Jesús Vallejo.
If Neto and Jordão represent an investment in Wolves’ future, and Vallejo adds cover in central defence, it is Cutrone who as a forward may make the greatest impact by contributing to their attacks with his ability to both drop short and link, and to penetrate in behind. Wolves regardless still lack cover at right wing-back; when Matt Doherty is absent Adama Traoré deputises, but he lacks tactical discipline.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s team impressed against the top six in 2018/19, but were prevented from finishing any higher by the points they dropped elsewhere – they were the only team who lost both home and away to 20th-placed Huddersfield, for a start. Nuno’s team largely works on tempting opponents forward and then quickly transitioning into attack; the compactness between their midfield and forward lines means that they quickly reach their forwards after regaining possession, with opponents sometimes struggling to recover.
The use of Doherty and Jonny as wing-backs with delayed forward runs capitalises on the wider spaces available, and they in turn deliver to the central attackers. But when opponents sacrifice possession, Wolves have struggled to break down compact lower blocks – despite their added strength in depth this season, this may not change any time soon.
Last season: 7th