The Review: Wolves' opening 10 games
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Pedro Neto of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates with teammates Fernando Marcal and Conor Coady after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

After ten games Wolverhampton Wanderers sit in seventh position in the Premier League on 17 points which is the same amount as the Europa League spots and only a point adrift of the Champions League places.

In this period Nuno Espirito Santo's side have won five, drew two and lost three with their most impressive result coming last time out when they earned three points at the Emirates against Arsenal.

Therefore at the ten-game point and ahead of the clash against the current holder Vavel review the Wanderers season so far.

Mixed start to the campaign

Game One: Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves

Wolves made a perfect start to the 2020/21 campaign at Bramall Lane as two goals inside the first six minutes by Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss sealed a comfortable three points for the Pack.

With the early goals, it was clear that Santo's team came out of the blocks flying, but what was noticeable is the fact that they managed the game very well especially in the second half when the Blades were searching for a route back into the game.

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However, the Wolves backline, which consisted of five defenders were shown to be organised at all times as they limited United to minimal clear cut opportunities.

In fact, in the final 20 minutes, the visitors had a few good chances to extend their lead as strikes by Saiss and Jimenez both struck the post.

Match Grade: A

Game Two: Wolves 1-3 Manchester City

Against a side who have won the Premier League title in two of the last three seasons, the Wanderers will have felt they did enough to earn a point against the Citizens.

Ultimately a slow and lacklustre start by the home side resulted in them going away with no points as they never really got going in the first period, and strikes by Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden handed City a two-goal advantage going into the break.

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Although in the second half they seemed to be much more lively and bright especially when in possession of the ball, they just were unable to find the clinical touch when finding themselves in front of goal.

Jimenez did halve the deficit with 12 minutes remaining but despite mounting on the pressure looking for a late equaliser, a deflected strike by Gabriel Jesus sealed the victory for City.

Match Grade:

Game Three: West Ham 4-0 Wolves

This was by far the Wanderers worst result and performance so far this season as a dominant Hammers showing in truth put Wolves to the sword.

A brace by Jarrod Bowen and second-half headers by Tomas Soucek and Sebastian Haller cruised West Ham to three points in a game in which the Pack failed to really turn up and get going in.

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To be honest, if it was not for Rui Patricio it could have easily been more for David Moyes side and it was one of those days in which Wolves would have wanted to put out of their minds very quickly.

Match Grade: E

Game Four: Wolves 1-0 Fulham

Wolves returned to winning ways against a struggling Fulham side as Pedro Neto's 56th-minute strike proved to be enough to edge the Wanderers to a narrow victory.

It was a game, particularly before the only goal of the game, that was largely dominated by the hosts they just struggled to find a way to break down the resilient Cottagers defence.

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Therefore it was vital that when Neto picked up the ball in space just inside the area that he put it away because it was an encounter in which the hosts struggled to create chances.

However, when they claimed their goal, they looked in control and the result was never really in doubt with their only scare coming through a Fulham counter-attack but Aboubakar Kamara could only fire straight at Patricio with 17 minutes remaining. 

Match Grade: B

Game Five: Leeds United 0-1 Wolves

The Wanderers earned a second consecutive league victory by one goal as Jimenez's deflected effort sent Illan Meslier the wrong way with 20 minutes remaining.

Against a side who had made a bright start to the season considering that they picked up seven points from a possible 12, the fact that Wolves earned all three points at Elland Road has to considered as an impressive feat for the club.

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In truth, it was quite an even game and one that which could have gone either way, but Wolves improved second-half performance ultimately got them arguably deservedly over the line.

Furthermore, it was a result that at the time moved the Wanderers into the Europa League spots in sixth place after winning three of the opening five games.

Match Grade: A

Two wins in five moves Wolves 7th

Game Six: Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United

This was a frustrating afternoon for Nuno's side due to the way Steve Bruce set up his side with a five at the back formation. Wolves found it difficult to break down their rigid and strong defensive line.

The hosts dominated much of the possession but created very little to show for it as throughout the entirety of the game they only managed to register three shots on target.

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The hosts did break the deadlock with nine minutes remaining when a Jimenez half volley found a way past Karl Darlow from a free-kick.

However, Wolves let all three points slip away from them with a minute of normal time remaining when a low Jacob Murphy free-kick beat Patricio at his near post in what would have been a disappointing moment for the Portuguese.

Match Grade: C

Game Seven: Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace

Wolves responded to the disappointing draw with Newcastle as two goals in the opening half an hour by Rayan Ait Nouri and Daniel Podence helped Santo's side to an all but comfortable win.

The result never seemed to be in doubt as with their traditional five at the back formation, the Wanderers always looked to be in control of the encounter and going forward Palace failed to really produce anything that would cause Patricio with concern.

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Consequently, at the time the three points moved Wolves back into the Europa League places in sixth position, levelling in terms of points with fourth-placed Everton.

Match Grade: B

Game Eight: Leicester City 1-0 Wolves

The Wanderers earned their third defeat of the season at the King Power Stadium with a Jamie Vardy 14th minute converted penalty being enough to earn all three points for the Foxes.

The goal came in truth through controversy as Max Kilman was penalised for a handball inside the area after referee Anthony Taylor went to the screen to review the incident.

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Vardy had a golden chance to double his and Leicester's tally again from the spot six minutes before the interval, but Patricio was equal to the forward's effort.

In the first period, the away side did not really look a threat going forward as they lacked a cutting edge, but this slightly improved in the second half despite not being able to carve out too many opportunities.

Although they would have salvaged a point if it was not for Kasper Schmeichel, who did brilliantly to tip over Ruben Neves' powerful effort with 13 minutes left on the clock. 

Match Grade: D

Game Nine: Wolves 1-1 Southampton

A Neto strike 15 minutes from time rescued a point for Wolves as they drew 1-1 with Southampton.

This was the first time this season that Santo used a four at the back formation and on reflection, despite not earning all three points, it had to be deemed a success.

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The hosts did actually have opportunities to steal away all three points but smart stops by Alex McCarthy from Podence and Nelson Semedo prevented this from being the case.

Match Grade: C 

Game 10: Arsenal 1-2 Wolves

In their tenth game of the campaign, Wolves recorded their best win of the season to date when they won at Arsenal for the first time in 41 years.

Goals from Neto and Podence sealed maximum points for the Wanderers in what was a deserved win and, even defending under pressure, they limited the Gunners to few sights of goal which is testament to Wolves defensive shape and organisation.

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The only negative for Wolves was that after only five minutes Jimenez had to be sent to hospital after suffering a fractured skull when colliding with David Luiz and it is unknown when he will next be able to feature for the club.

Match Grade: A*

Overall

After ten games it is fair to say that Wolves have not made a bad start to the campaign as they are currently on target to contend for a European spot come to the end of the season.

This is something that Santo is clearly aiming to do considering that they narrowly missed out on a Europa League spot last season.

However, there are areas of their game that must be developed and improved upon if they still hope and intend to still be up and around the European spots in 28 games time.

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