Lopetegui watched on from the stands as Wolves were beaten 2-0 at Molineux in the last game before the hiatus. There will be a lot to ponder over the break for the new manager and the fans will think this as a great opportunity for Wolves to work on turning things around.
That said, here are three things we have learnt so far from Wolves’ 2022/23 campaign.
#Lack of goals
Wolves have scored just eight goals all season and are understandably the lowest scorers in the division. They have been flat almost in every game played so far, lacking any kind of goal threat to trouble the opposition.
The lack of goals have been the Wanderers’ downfall this season and the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal before the festive break was the eighth game out of 15 where they failed to find the back of the net. Diego Costa has failed to make any sort of an impact, while the likes of Daniel Podence, Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore have suffered a massive dip in form.
Julen Lopetegui has a myriad of issues to solve at Wolves but he should start by addressing his team’s lack of goal threat.
Since achieving promotion back to the top flight, Wolves have had a very strong structure to their defensive organisation.
Whether that is under Nuno Espirito Santo or Bruno Lage, the defence was often well-drilled, disciplined and hard to penetrate for the opposition. In fact, the Wanderers had the fifth-best defensive record in the division last season.
Things have changed drastically this time around, however. Wolves have conceded 24 goals in 15 games, with ex-manager Bruno Lage’s decision to switch to a flat back four from back five perhaps the reason for their defensive frailties. There has been a lack of organisation at the back, coupled with individual errors and a few injuries.
Lopetegui has the extended World Cup break to get his methods across to his Wolves side, before the gap to the safety zone becomes too big to climb.
#Conor Coady’s absence is hugely felt
Conor Coady moved to Everton on a season-long loan in the summer after seven seasons at Molineux. At the midway point in the season, Coady’s absence is starting to feel dearly.
Spirited, determined and a major threat in both boxes, Coady is showing the Wanderers what they are missing at Everton. He was a vocal leader for them at the back, the lynchpin whose presence, experience and aggressive approach made Wolves such a difficult side to penetrate.
While Max Kilman and Nathan Collins are talented young defenders with the potential to develop, letting Coady leave—the club’s longest-serving captain—for Everton now looks like a baffling decision, to say the least.