Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a solid campaign under Nuno Espirito Santo this season, finishing seventh in the league table. Their impressive record against the Premier League top six was one of the talking points of the season, with the outfit also reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
While almost all the players put in special displays at some point or the other, we will take a look at 3 of them who were consistent throughout the season.
Only four teams conceded fewer goals than Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league this season. Much of this should be attributed to their defensive trifecta of Conor Coady, Ryan Bennett and Willy Boly.
Boly, in particular, was arguably Wolves’ best defender this season, producing consistent performances week in week out. The Frenchman averaged 2.4 tackles and a whopping 4.8 clearances per game, which is indicative of his doggedness at the back.
He offered the physical presence at the back and was often an intimidating figure for the attackers to deal with. Boly was also a scourge in the air, winning almost four headed duels per game. His heading prowess made him an indirect threat from set-pieces, with the defender ending the campaign with four league goals.
Matt Doherty was arguably the most effective right wing-back in the Premier League this season. The Irishman offered extensive attacking support from right-flank, producing tons of crosses. The 27-year-old averaged one key pass and 1.3 dribbles per game this season.
Doherty also showed tremendous fighting spirit and willingness to win back possession for his team. His tally of 1.8 tackles per game is quite impressive for a wing-back. But most importantly, he won an impressive 3.8 aerial duels per game – a statistic only equalled by the ever-impressive Boly.
Additionally, the defender covered a lot of ground, which was essential given Wolves’ lack of wide midfielders. Hence, it’s probably safe to say that Doherty’s presence on the right-flank was one of the key reasons behind Wolves’ success in the Premier League this season from where he also scored 4 goals and notched up 4 assists in the league.
Since arriving from Benfica on a season-long loan deal last summer, Raul Jimenez has been a revelation under Espirito Santo. The Mexican, often criticised for his lack of productivity, offered the physical presence in the attack.
His excellent hold-up play and clever runs in and around the final third helped him open up more space for the likes of Diogo Jota and Ivan Cavaleiro. Jimenez’s combination play with his teammates was also impressive, with the ex-Atletico Madrid player averaging over one key pass per game this season.
If opening up spaces and creating opportunities in the final third wasn’t enough, Jimenez plundered 13 league goals as well as 7 assists, ending up as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season.
His remarkable performances have already forced Wolves to secure his services on a permanent basis and it will be interesting to see if he can continue his form next season.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored