Ask The Opposition 2019/20: Wolves (Premier League - Away)

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Damien, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. Aug 16, 2019

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin) Staff

    Mar 4, 2010
    Twitter: @red_cafe

    Back by very popular demand is the return of Ask The Opposition. Our segment where we ask fans of opposing teams forums some questions and post a selection of the responses back on here.

    This week, I went to Wolves forum Molineux Mix and asked some questions. The response was overwhelming and I thank them hugely for giving up their time to answer (mostly on the day of the Pyunik game). I wasn't able to compile all answers below, but you can read the answers in full in this thread. As there were so many answers, this one is a bit bigger than normal, with up to 10 answers per question - it wasn't easy to trim down from the 20+ I received, but there are 4-6 answers from 19 respondents with one answer from Salopian who chose just to answer the question on Steve Bull.

    Our next game after this is against Crystal Palace and the newbies are tough to get questions from, so if any of you have any questions you'd like to be asked, please contribute. Would be much appreciated.

    Q01: The last few years must have been mental - it was only six years ago you were playing in League One. What were your feelings at the time of the Fosun takeover, and has your rapid rise since been everything you could have wanted - and more?
    Alex Rae The Substitute: Takeover all happened a bit quickly. Probably to date Fosun’s biggest mistake was relieving Jackett of his job and installing the muppet Zenga. Fortunately they’ve learnt a lot since then. What we’ve achieved since they took over currently is beyond what I’d hoped at the time. Although I fear Nuno is more responsible than Fosun in many respects, which causes me concern should he leave.

    Minimalist: I was pleased about the takeover but to tell the truth when Fosun started stating their aims (which in fairness they were pressed on rather than coming out and making grand statements) I did get a mental image of it all going wrong and plastic chickens (or some such) being thrown onto a league one pitch!

    Everything and more.

    sc91: It has been nothing short of fantastic, there is a long way to go still, establishing ourselves as Premier League regulars is simply no easy task, however I believe we have the right stewardship to do this. Most of all though for myself is that it has allowed us to dream like we are kids again, that we will see Wolves lift a major trophy.

    Keyser Söze: Putting our rise into context with being in L1 six years ago its incredible, but at the same time we should never have been in that league in the first place but for some absolutely staggering decision making by the club, but then almost every 'big club' that sinks down that low tells a similar story.

    The best decision that regime made was to sell to Fosun Group. Year 1 was a learning curve for them as they have admitted and their plan A fell apart when Lopetegui pulled out from being our manager at the last minute to manage Spain and we were scrambling around for players and a manager. From year 2 onwards we've got decision after decision right, the recruitment has been spot on (including our use of the owners relationship with Mendes) but the best decision we made was bringing Nuno in who has been the fulcrum of everything that has gone right for us in the last few years. Its a Nuno revolution with incredible backing with deep pockets and a innovative & creative business plan from our owners, we're here to stay.

    Cousins78: At the time Fosun announced they would take us over I can remember a huge wave of excitement mixed with caution. The previous ownership had ended in a hostile manner and the supporters were hoping someone would come in and match the ambition we have craved for, for so long. After a troublesome learning curve year where we had the extravagant Walter Zenga come and go and Paul Lambert who produced football that sent you to sleep they finally found the right formula in our messiah Nuno Espírito Santo. I highly doubt you will find a wolves fan across the globe who doesn’t worship him. Fosun had finally got the right man and the rest is history

    The Wolf In The North: As has been said above, us being in L1 in the first place skews the idea of our recent progression. We're not a Charlton or Blackpool; we should never have been down there in the first place, a consequence of unbelievable mismanagement. And it's easily forgotten that the first year of Fosun's reign wasn't spectacular. This is no fairytale, it's the result of readily available money, a clear direction, learning from mistakes, taking advantage of the Mendes link, and above all, a truly fantastic manager in Nuno. It's not a flash in the pan, it's a well-organised project with momentum, and that feels very satisfying.

    Yout85: I was very excited when Fosun first took over, but the first couple of managerial appointments dampened that excitement considerably. Since appointing Nuno though, it very certainly has been everything I could have possibly hoped for. The love for him from nearly all Wolves fans tells a story. Legend in the making.

    Werewolf of Wombourne: It was difficult to know what to expect at the time. We had been strongly linked with Robin Li, a Chinese billionaire, and when FOSUN took over as front runners I think there was a bit of apprehension, as all we really knew about them was that they were an investment group. the concern was that they would improve us with a view to a quick profit and we might end up back at square 1. It didn't start off well and if anyone said they predicted at the time what would follow they are lying. The last two seasons have been nothing short of phenomenal, not just for what we've done but the way we have done it.

    Skrilla: Initial skepticism, soon eroded by news that Fosun had Jorge Mendes, the notorious superagent, advising them. First year was still a big learning process for Fosun and Jeff Shi (Wolves chairman), replacing Kenny Jackett with the exuberant but rather inept Walter Zenga after missing out on Julen Lopetegui to the Spanish national team. A flurry of signings made that were very hit and miss, Romain Saiss the only player still remaining from that transfer window. After sacking Zenga, Fosun went with the 'tried and trusted' approach of a British manager with a somewhat proven record in Paul Lambert, who kept us up... let's leave it at that. This was a period where many fans questioned the 'Wolves project', and rightly so.

    Then came Nuno, and the rest is history really. The recruitment the following year was as good as it gets for a Championship team - Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves and Willy Boly all far too good for that league and it really showed. Last year we reinforced an already strong squad with proven quality - Jonny from Atletico Madrid, Jimenez from Benfica, Moutinho from Monaco, Patricio from Sporting, Dendoncker from Anderlecht. All massive hits that adapted to the Premier League very quickly with the exception of Dendoncker who took until the turn of the year to hold his place down in the team alongside Neves and Moutinho, which is one of the best midfield partnerships in the league in my (slightly biased) opinion.

    This year's recruitment was reinforcing the quality we already had. A strong starting eleven with very few, if any, clear weaknesses always makes it more difficult especially when you aren't playing in the Champions League or a club of the stature of Man United. There were multiple stories of big bids for players that had turned us down, but that may be a different story in a year's time if we replicate the form of last season. It is definitely everything we could have asked for and more, but there's definitely the feeling that there's so much more to come, and this is only the touching the surface of it.

    quirky_birky: Considering recent history, I think we were all glad. We'd made it back to the Championship but I don't think there was any ambition from Morgan - he'd made it clear that he wanted out. Sure, we'd seen other clubs get taken over with promises that the new owners would match the fans ambitions and more, but this felt like the real deal. Lots of rumours at the time regarding who was behind it, and the news that Julen Lopetegui was being lined up for the manager's job just added to the excitement (yeah, he took the Spain job as the takeover dragged on, but it showed ambition).

    As a Wolves fan, you learn to expect the worst but hope for the best - the only way to stay sane. Wolves' rise over the last few years has been beyond my expectations, or even my wildest dreams. Six years ago we were battling with Leyton Orient for promotion back to the Championship. Now we're in Europe and they've just made it back from non-league. Football is a nasty game at times.

    Q02: Since 2013, only three teams outside of the usual have finished in the top six: Everton, Southampton and Leicester City, and all three teams only managed it once. Fosun have high aims and certainly have the finances to challenge, but do you think it is possible to break into that top six regularly, and what do you think your side needs to do to get/stay there?
    Pagey: The gap to the top 6 is massive. Ffp currently restricts us from jumping in and sustaining that position. We need to increase revenue streams and continue to challenge as best of the rest, so we can compete on wages and attract players that will push us on. I think some of the frustration we have had in the transfer market this summer, shows how hard that will be.

    WolfLing: The 'top 6' is a fairly new concept as far as the Premier League is concerned. Even the top 6 now has a couple of leagues within it (City & Liverpool fighting for the title and 4 more for the other 2 CL places). Back in the 1990's it was the top 2 and everyone else. Then the top 3, then the top 4, etc. So rather than teams looking to aim to break into the top 6, I think the set of teams regularly competing for European football will increase, especially as the way clubs are run improves and the gap in revenues narrows. So you'll have a couple of teams competing for the title and 5, 6 or even 7 others competing for the 4 league places below them.

    John de Wolf’s hairdryer: Breaking into the Top Six regularly is possible, but an immense challenge, which is not made any easier by FFP, which is frankly a stitch-up to insulate the top clubs from being challenged. It can be achieved however, and unless Fosun itself hits the skids financially, I think it will be achieved, but I think we're looking at another five seasons before we can consider ourselves convincing regular challengers for the Top Six.

    WarstonesWolf: I think FFP is a barrier and will take time to overcome that. Certainly it is in fosuns plans to be challenging at the top

    JohnB: Plan is buy young (Neves, Jota, Vinagre) and with luck they grow into top class players. FFP is a problem restricting investing big. Revenue streams in Far East and Mexico are the plans to boost revenue (plus stadium expansion). Trying to stay in top-half, retaining most of the key players, doing a Leicester (selling one key player for big money and reinvesting in 2-3 players), building ground and revenue stream, is the plan. Will be tough as West Ham, Everton, Leicester (and Villa) want to do similar.

    clivewolves: If Fosun can match their marketing strategy with financial results, we can break into the top 6 and stay there. More likely the media will call it the top seven.

    The Wolf In The North: This year is markedly different for the top six, because there's so much money floating around throughout the league; the other clubs don't have to just roll over and give up their best players, and thus have kept them, and added to them. It's going to be incredibly difficult breaking through the barrier, but there's a massive chance this year. That said, we're at a delicate place. To break the top six we need to keep Jota, Neves, Boly, et al. But those players will want Champions League football sooner rather than later, and if we slip back into mid-table they'll go. This is a crucial stage of the project.

    Yout85: Time. We are not like those other sides and I strongly believe we will soon be breaking into the top 4, never mind the top 6.

    Skrilla: I think you have to remember FFP comes into account here, and ultimately that dictates spending power in the transfer market. Yes, Fosun are worth billions, but I'd expect most Premier League owners are billionaires. The difference between the top six and the rest of the league largely comes down to commercial revenues. Man United generate £600m+ a year in revenues, while Spurs, the 'minnows' of the top six, generate over £400m a year. Outside of the top six, Everton generate the most revenue at under £200m a year. Clubs outside the top six are working with under a third of what the top six clubs have.

    Wolves owners Fosun are trying to push the Wolves brand abroad, opening a megastore in China and trying to push advertisement of the club in the massive Chinese market that Fosun know very well. Commercial income is the key to bridging the gap to the top six, while stability in the playing squad and coaching team will ensure that our success is not a one off. We are essentially in year 3 of a supposed 10 year project that Fosun have strategised for Wolves, and the ultimate aim is to be contending for the Premier League and the Champions League, as farfetched as that currently seems, us as fans can't question their ambitions given how far they've already taken us in such a short space of time. The financial divide that exists between the top six and the rest of the league is what I believe is our biggest obstacle and I'm personally fascinated to see how they overcome this in the coming years. Rome wasn't built in a day etc...

    quirky_birky: FFP makes it feel like the top six have had the drawbridge pulled up to protect their position, but with patience, ambition, resources and the right strategy, it's possible. It's too early for us yet, and the distraction of the Europa League will no doubt work against us in the short term. Personally, the creation of a Top 6 (Top 4 as was) is one of the main reasons that I hate the formation of the Premier League. English Football used to be competitive and somewhat cyclical in nature. Teams would have their moment in the sun then fall away as someone else would take their place. Sure, some teams dominated for a while, but it always came to an end. Now it's simply the same teams battling it out for a few places, propped up with Premier League & Champions League money whilst the rest have to settle for mid table obscurity at best, or relegation followed by financial oblivion. Apologies for the rant. I don't like the Premier League, but I'd rather we were competing in it than not.

    Q03: How do you think your pre-season has gone for you?
    Alex Rae The Substitute: Fine, I think the club have managed the PR/ money spinning trip to Asia and then early rounds of Europa well. Using the latter as friendlies hopefully should avoid too much early season burnout (eg Burnley last year which we’ve had rammed down our throats since the moment we qualified).

    WolfLing: Good. We won the Asia Trophy and then have used our Euro Qualifiers as our other pre-season games. The step up in intensity has been obvious to see and hopefully we will get through OK later and then beat Torino over 2 legs to seal our EL Group place.

    Minimalist: In a way we haven't really had a pre-season, just straight into competitive games , which has gone well. The only possible downside has been that maybe a few of our more fringe players haven't had too much game time.

    Keyser Söze: A tough pre-season but we've handled it well. The Europa League Qualifiers on top on an important trip for China for us and the Asia Cup meant a busy schedule and a lot of travelling. Other clubs may have struggled but I've been impressed with the results & performances that saw us lift the Asia Cup and also win all our qualifiers whilst treating them as pre-season friendlies. Also gave us a chance to blood some of our promising youth players who are part of a clearly stated plan to pack up to our first team this season

    Pessimistic Wolf: Pre-season has been very good. We won the PL Asia Trophy, beating City in the final on penalties, but the real aim of going to China was commercial. The Chinese owners are very keen on expanding the brand into the Far East, and this was a great opportunity to build brand recognition. Beyond that, our pre-season has composed Europa League qualifies against Crusaders from Northern Ireland and Pyunik Yerevan. They have been very comfortable wins against very poor opposition.

    WarstonesWolf: Preseason has been better than we could have expected good results against PL opposition and then straight into qualifying games

    Fifty Niner: Good but apart from Citeh it has been against poor opposition, albeit in proper competitive games. Which in some ways is better than stern friendly opposition.

    Cousins78: Pre season has been a huge success, travelling to China was important so we know what our owners about and also building that fan base globally. To win the tournament was a huge plus too. We have only conceded 1 goal which shows how organised we are

    Werewolf of Wombourne: As well as could have been expected. Winning the Asia Trophy was a big step. It was only a friendly but beating City in our first major pre-season tournament was worth much more. The Europa League ties instead of friendlies have hopefully given us an edge but on the negative side, some squad members haven't had as much game time as would have been optimal.

    Skrilla: As good as it could have gone. Winning the PL Asia Trophy in a high profile tournament in China gave us more exposure to that market, and the win over Man City on penalties will have been especially satisfying for Wolves owners. The Europa League early rounds have been a relative doddle and more of an inconvenience than anything at this stage, especially the 6,000 mile round trip to Armenia and back before the Leicester game which left us looking a little jaded in the last 15 minutes on Sunday. Torino, who we'll play away next Thursday in the final play-off for Europa League qualification, is our first serious test in the competition.

    Q04: Are you happy with the transfers you have done this summer and is there an area of the team you would have liked to see some investment in but there wasn’t?
    Pagey: As mentioned above, we were linked with a lot of quality players, and they didnt materialise. A position that probably needed strengthening was an attacking midfielder, we found it hard to break down teams who 'parked the bus' last season. We don't seem to have a ball carrier, who can pick the ball up and drive 30 or 40 yards up the pitch.

    Alex Rae The Substitute: Yep, invested well. Not losing any of our star players was our biggest signing! The only area I think we lack is a Cesc Fabregas style CM who can do the nitty gritty in the middle, but also has the ability to pick that pass in and around the box to open up stubborn defences.

    Minimalist: Very pleased. The squad could probably do with another striker, the team could perhaps do with a more attacking midfielder. However there are young improving players amongst the squad who will get the opportunities in these roles.

    John de Wolf’s hairdryer: It's been a solid transfer window with over £80 million spent. Jiménez was made permanent which was crucial and another attacking threat in Cutrone has been brought in. The focus has been mainly on recruiting youth and it is really a big question mark how that'll pan out, but if anyone can make it work, Nuno and his backroom team can. Quite a lot of grumbling amongst fans that there was no statement signing of an attacking midfielder, but I believe Nuno thinks he's got that area covered at least until January and that we're equipped for this season, even with the extra burden of Europa League fixtures. I think Nuno deserves our trust in this regard.

    Keyser Söze: Its been tough for us in the transfer market this summer. We had first choice targets in mind that are still a little out of reach for us, players that would have improve our first team that is very strong and settled. We have to wait a little longer to land those targets but in the mean time our recruitment has been on quality young players for Nuno to develop into top quality players and to increase in value. The squad is stronger as a result and we hope to see these players become good enough to challenge those with the shirts but for the first time since Fosun took over, buying players to go into our XI wasn't possible and thats because of the strength of the team and our rapid rise meaning we're still seen as a gamble by the standard of player that could actually get into our team. We don't spend money unless we're confident its a young player we can develop or someone that will get into our team

    Pessimistic Wolf: There have been four major incomings. Cutrone from AC Milan for approx £16M. Good value for money, investing in young, promising players, and adds depth to our attack. Vallejo on loan from Real Madrid - not a lot of game time and no option to buy, so a bit of an unknown. Pedro Neto & Bruno Jordao from Lazio for allegedly about £20M in total. Real unknown these - very much seem like Mendes-laundered players, but equally come with a lot of potential and good reports. Could potentially have strengthened central midfield, either with a physical box to box player to compete against more agricultural sides, or an attacking midfielder to help break down deep defenses.

    Cousins78: We needed a additional striker and I think we have managed to pull of a huge coup with Patrick Cutrone who will provide excellent competition. We made Jimenez and Dendoncker permanent which was vital and have got some exciting additions. I would have liked another dynamic midfielder but hopefully one of our youngsters comes through

    Wandering_Wolf93: As with all clubs always think you could have done something more. We are yet to see much of the new signings to know just how well they are going to fit so time will tell. A lot of fans wanted a no.10 style attacking midfielder but for me that was never an option as those style of players simply don't fit in with our shape and style of play. We aren't in a position to spend the sort of money required for that type of player for the 5-6 games we need them for. I would have liked an extra box to box midfielder who is a bit more clinical than Dendoncker who plays that role for us currently. On paper though i am pleased with what we have got in.

    The Wolf In The North: It's easy to be unsettled and grumpy sometimes, and I've personally been guilty of that. Cutrone from AC Milan will hopefully be a solid addition, but it's all rather low key. We have a very lean squad, by design, and injuries would be costly if they started stacking up. I think we would have benefited from signing another creative forward to ease the workload on Jota especially, as Cutrone is more a understudy for Jimenez. But I'm ecstatic we didn't spunk cash on average players or journeymen out of panic.

    Yout85: I'm personally happy, although a lot of fans were disappointed, wanting a "statement signing". I feel Cutrone will be a star, getting Raul in on a permanent was VITAL (all be it inevitable) and I have high hopes for the youngsters brought in from Lazio and Bayern. Jesus on loan from Real I think will be a big hit too.

    Q05: Which three Wolves players do you think will be ones to watch this season?
    Pagey: Jota, took his time to find his feet, but since christmas has been immense.

    Boly, a rock at the back, carries the ball out and can play a decent ball.

    Neves, should continue to progress, its hard to believe his age, will be one of the best midfielders in the world.

    Would like to throw vinagre in as well, the kid is ****ing brilliant.

    Alex Rae The Substitute: I hope Jota carries on where he left off. After years in the PL of watching our defenders running backwards away from pacy attacker’s it was a joy to watch him terrorize both Arsenal and United’s defenders last season (bullying Shaw in the cup). He’s the real deal and going to the very top, hopefully with us.

    Boly is a brick wall of a defender, if Maguire cost £80m then he must be worth pretty close to that too. Can’t believe neither Arsenal or United had a look at him when crying out for a decent Centre back.

    Dendoncker, not a glamour player like the likes of Raul, Neves etc. But he really came into his own towards the end of last season and he pops up with the odd goal whilst providing great energy and composure in central midfield.

    John de Wolf’s hairdryer: I suspect that Cutrone will turn out to be a sensational signing, although it'll probably be 2020 before we see what he's really capable of. Of those that were with us last season, I suspect we're going start hearing a lot more recognition of Willy Boly this season, and Vinagre is also going to start garnering a lot of merited attention. If they stay injury free, the Jiménez/Jota partnership could become one of the most feared strikeforces in the EPL sooner rather than later.

    Fifty Niner: Jota, Jimmy, Vinagre and maybe even Dendoncker. Neves as well if he can improve on last season. For me, I think he plays too far back which is why we didn't see him threatening the opposition box too much last season. Cutrone is unknown but I like to think he could be our jack in the box. Boly.

    Wandering_Wolf93: Jota, took his time adjusting and the change in shape has benefited him massively. His form post xmas was immense and that over a whole season will catch the eyes of a number of clubs/supporters.

    Vinagre, with the extra games we are likely to get he is going to get more minutes this season. Truly exciting prospect and his trickery will be enjoyed by all.

    Neves, was finding his feet for a lot of last season as his role changed slightly. Think he is going to really step up this season and show himself as true leader.

    The Wolf In The North: Jota is the most underrated player in the league. He wasn't at the races against Leicester but he will shine this season. Vinagre has something special about him but needs consistent pitch time. Jimenez, on form, is an absolute menace; he and Jota will hit 25-30 goals between them.

    Yout85: Raul, Jota and Boly. Raul has bagged 4 in 3 (IIRC) in preseason and I expect to be pushing 20 Prem goals this year. Jota is just a sublime little player and will hit the ground running this year so watch out... and Boly is an absolute rock and a Rolls Royce simultaneously and probably the most under-rated defender in the league. (By virtue of not getting talked about all that often.

    Skrilla: Willy Boly - one of the best centre backs in the league and doesn't get anywhere near the recognition he deserves. If Maguire is worth £80m then Boly is worth at least £100m!

    Diogo Jota - exploded into life after breaking his duck scoring the winner against Chelsea at home just before the turn of the year. He's not the most skilful player in the world, but his combination of pace and power is quite unique. Compared to Traore, his end product is far, far better and his partnership with Raul Jimenez is excellent giving us a constant and sometimes unstoppable threat on the counter.

    Leander Dendoncker - you already know Neves and Moutinho very well so I won't bore you by raving about how good our Portuguese maestro's are. Dendoncker, who nearly joined Man United a few years ago (reportedly), took time to establish himself in the side and only really started regularly around the same time Jota did. He is the perfect foil for Neves and Moutinho, extremely hard working at both ends of the pitch and a ball hawk. For me he's a taller version of Kante (obviously not quite as good, yet), and offers us a serious set-piece threat next to Boly and Jimenez. I think he's only going to improve as the season goes on.

    quirky_birky: We've not changed things too much form last season, so the stand out players from then are probably the ones to watch out for. Cutrone was well regarded in Milan as one for the future, and has score a fair few for them. Vallejo is another promising youngster. Hopefully they can surprise a few.

    Q06: It’s nearly 40 years since Wolves were last in Europe. Is the Europa League something you would like your club to focus on this season? We’ve seen teams like Burnley and West Ham qualify for the Europa League then get eliminated prior to the group stage and struggle in the league. Do you think you have the depth to compete on multiple fronts? (question provided by @Reditus, expanded on a bit by me)
    WolfLing: We don't have a lot of depth, but we have the quality, professionalism, work-ethic, and staff to compete on multiple fronts. The hours that Nuno and his team dedicate to preparation and recovery plans is incredible. It's no fluke that we had the fewest injuries last season. Comparisons to Burnley and West Ham are as lazy as the cliches about our Portuguese players not being able to play in the winter or '2nd season-syndrome'!! I would love us to go as deep into the EL as possible and still compete in the League. We have a history of making lazy pundits eat their cliches and I hope this is no different!

    sc91: Yes and weve seen in our squad choices that the club values Europe and wants to go far in the comp. We have added depths in the ranks below and I thin we can challenge, the match against Torino is one of the biggest in my life time and I cant stop thinking about it.

    Pessimistic Wolf: I would expect us to put more effort into the Europa League than the League or FA Cups. We're taking a 4-0 away lead into the 3rd qualifying round against Pyunik Yerevan today, and will almost certainly play Torino in the knock out stage to reach the Group Stages. I think it's pretty likely we'll get into the Group Stages, although the Italians can't be taken lightly. If we don't reach the group stages, the squad demand won't make a difference in the league. If we do go the group stages, I worry about our depth. The Club's approach appears to be supplementing the first team squad with academy players, but I'm not totally sold on the academy's capability to play at such a high level.

    WarstonesWolf: Loving Europa as I was 15 last time. I think we are focussing on that taking it seriously, we want to progress.

    JohnB: Torino game is massive and really difficult. Personally I’d focus on that to get into Group Stages over PL games vs United, Burnley and Everton.

    clivewolves: Cups are there to be won and I'd love us to give our all, even if it means finishing mid-table. Hopefully it will be first of many seasons in Europe, but who knows. Plus we're all mortal so we have to make the most of it while it's there.

    Fifty Niner: Worried about our depth to compete on all fronts. I think, like others, Nuno will concentrate on the Europa and the PL. Despite out skipper, Coady, saying otherwise we looked tired against Leicester after that 6000 miles round trip. Jota and Jimmy missed chances (we will struggle again if we haven't improved in this area). Of course Dendoncker's goal ruled out by VAR has caused all sorts of controversy but in all should have got 3 points.

    Wandering_Wolf93: We have a fantastic injury record since Nuno and his team came in. That is largely down to their planning and managing of the players, with the fitness schedules and recovery that they do. You look at teams playing in the champions league and challenging for the title every year, they don't actually make too many changes game to game so I don't entirely buy into to needing a big squad to compete. What you need is quality and that is something we have in spades, more so than the likes of Burnley did, so if a player isn't at their best they are still good enough to compete against of lot of clubs. Whereas Burnley needed to be at or near their best each week to get results, we have enough quality to win without playing well.

    The Wolf In The North: Depth, possibly not. Always looks rosy in August, but might be a different story in October, November. Personally I think the Europa offers an incredible chance to reach the Champions League, which would be the making of this club for the next decade or more, in in that sense I hope we launch ourselves into it full-throttle. The thrill of night matches in this competition, should we progress past Torino (toughest tie we could have got), will be electric. Love that we're competing in it.

    Werewolf of Wombourne: We definitely don't have the depth to compete on all fronts so I expect the domestic cup's to take a back seat this year. I would love us to have a right go at the Europa League to keep the momentum and the feelgood factor going. I think we have a better chance of competing in that and the League than the two clubs you mentioned.

    Q07: Do you think Steve Bull would have been so prolific in the Premier League? (question provided by @Copa Mundial)
    Pagey: Bully was god, probably the most instinctive finisher i have ever seen. Half a chance was all he needed, playing for England/scoring showed he wasn't out of his depth.

    Alex Rae The Substitute: If he’d had the chance around 95/96 then I think yes. He had very similar attributes to Alan Shearer. Just look at his goals/ minutes ratio for England to see if he could hack it at the top level.

    WolfLing: Bully would have scored goals for fun at any level he played. Just look at his International record when still playing the the third tier. I wish he could have played at the top level with Wolves, but it wasn't to be. He will always be a legend regardless.

    Salopian: I wish he'd been able to prove any doubters wrong by playing in the premier League. IMO he'd have been an England regular throughout the 90s if he'd played top flight. He should have had top flight football with Wolves after the 94/95 Graham Taylor season. Such a wasted opportunity. Bully would have scored goals anywhere and at every level.

    clivewolves: Bully at his peak would have scored plenty. Once the knee problems started maybe not, but he'd have given it a right go I've got no doubt about that.

    Fifty Niner: I think he would have been 15+ and a complete menace but PL defenders wouldn't have given him as much space.

    Cousins78: I was lucky to see Bully in his prime and I believe he was a natural goalscorer whatever division he would play in

    Werewolf of Wombourne: I have no doubt Bully would have thrived in the Premier League. You don't score 306 goals by accident. People use the fact that he played his career in the lower leagues and second tier against him and say he would have been playing against much better players in the Premier League. That's true of course but they forget that he would have been playing WITH much better players too. Check out his game for England against Czechoslovakia in 1990 and tell me he couldn't have done that in the Premier League with people like Gazza behind him.

    quirky_birky: Bull was a goal scorer and scored goals at every level he played at. He didn't win many caps, and most were as a substitute, but compare his scoring record for England with his contemporaries and it's none too shabby. Ian Wright (who did pretty damned well in the top flight) managed 9 goals in 33 appearances (17 starts) for England, and nearly half were against San Marino. Bully scored 4 in 13 appearances, of which I think only about 5 were starts (a goal every 153 minutes according to one web site, compared with one every 193 minutes for Wright. Rooney comes in at one every 169 minutes! [​IMG] ). No one will know how Bully would have got on in the Premier League, but he would have scored goals. Prolific? Who knows.

    Q08: How do you expect both Manchester United and Wolves to do in the league this season?
    Pagey: regarding Man utd, if your players are happy then probably 5th, not sure if Pogba is the bad apple thats being reported everywhere, but on his day is unplayable.

    Wolves, i would settle top 10, if we progress in Europa League, any higher or another domestic cup run, would be a bonus.

    WolfLing: I think Man United are ahead of where I thought they would be, but still not ready to challenge City, Liverpool and even Spurs. I think you're competing with Arsenal and Chelsea for 4th place.

    I expect we will just try to pick up where we left off last year. 7th place would be a great achievement again and if you offered it me now, providing it gave us European football again, I'd probably take it! I think we are competing with the likes of Everton, Leicester and probably one of Watford or West Ham for the 7th-10th places, but if one of those teams has an exceptional year and one of the current top 6 has a poor year, they could just sneak into 6th.

    John de Wolf’s hairdryer: I expect United to finish fourth or fifth. If Wolves are eliminated from the Europa League by Torino, I'd say that a sixth-placed EPL finish is possible due to the situation at Chelsea, but if we go into the Europa group stage and perhaps beyond I think we'll finish 8th to 10th in the league.

    Keyser Söze: Getting off to a good start as you did was important for you, but 4th place still feels like the best you can hope for as their are still issues with your squad and Pogba undermining everything. Ole has a massive job to do but strengthening the defence was a big step forward but you need to get rid of some more of squad that's holding you back before moving forward, I think Ole is recognising this but its going to take a long time to turn it all around and to meet your expectations.

    We hope to do what we did last season again, 7th and Europe will be what we are aiming for but there is potential for more, especially if we can do well in the cups and the Europa League will be a competition we fancy ourselves in. Win that and our wildest dreams are a reality. Also had we landed some of our top targets this summer we might have been being a bit more boisterous in saying we could break the top 6.

    Pessimistic Wolf: United to finish 4th. Don't see Arsenal or Chelsea pipping you to that. I think a lot of your season will hinge on whether Pogba decides he wants to play, and how McTominay develops, because your central midfield looks a bit unreliable at the moment.

    Wolves to finish 8th with a strong performance in the Europa and maybe a cheeky FA Cup run. Teams around us have recruited far more than us (for better or worse), and I'm not sure we'll be so lucky in escaping injuries to key players as we have in the past two seasons.

    JohnB: United 4th or 5th (cannot see you being above City, Spurs and Liverpool). Us 7-10th (fighting it out with Leicester, Everton with West Ham not far behind).

    clivewolves: I think Man Utd could be anywhere between 3rd and 7th. I've got my doubts about Solskjaer and there are still areas of the squad that have weaknesses, but other teams have their own problems, so it depends who's weaknesses are exposed the most.

    As for Wolves, anywhere between 6th and 10th. If we go far in the Europa League we might slip down the table, but I still expect us to be in the top half.

    Fifty Niner: Utd: Hard to tell after the first game. Good result against Chelsea who were much better against the Scousers last night. Pogba is a sulk and how long before others are drawn into that if results don't go as planned? 4th or 5th for me unless Spurs implode when it could be a tight race for 3rd.

    Wolves: If we could get 7th and close the gap on 6th it would be tremendous. But I worry that our team will run out of energy unless the likes of Vinagre, Cutrone, Traore and a few others improve, are integrated and used. And if we haven't improved on breaking down those stubborn defences I can't see us finishing above 8th or 9th to be honest but we should get a good run in the Europa.

    Wandering_Wolf93: United will be up and down, keeping with how they have been throughout Solksjaer time at the club. Winning streaks followed by a run of winless games. I said the day he got the permanent job he would be gone by Xmas not completely changed my mind on that yet but you were impressive against Chelsea and if he can get that consistently then he will prove me wrong.

    Us i expect the same as last year, impressive/shocks results against some of the top teams and frustrating results against some of the lower teams. Mid table finish, about 9th or 10th, and reach the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

    Skrilla: Early signs looking good for Man United. Building from the back with Maguire and Wan-Bissaka who definitely improve you. I know you won 4-0 against Chelsea, but I do think you might struggle for goals without a true number nine. By struggle, I mean not scoring at the rate Man City and Liverpool do! I think it's going to be a battle for 4th with the top three quite well established, it'll be an interesting battle to watch, if I had to pick right now I'd say Man United win that battle.

    As for Wolves, if we win against Torino, in a weird way I think it could actually benefit us. If we lose, it could knock the stuffing out of us a little bit so early into the season, and mean we finish closer to 10th-12th. We don't have as small a squad as some seem to think we do, so the challenge of managing Europe with the league is something I expect Nuno and our coaching team will thrive on after dealing with the challenges of the Championship with relative ease. It would also give our fringe players plenty of opportunities, so I'd say 7th-8th.

    Q09: Which XI would you like to see your team field against us?
    Minimalist: Our team will almost certainly be - Patricio Bennet Coady Boly Doherty Dendonker Neves Moutinho Otto Jiminez Jota .

    sc91: Our first. Rui, Doc, Coady, Boly, Bennett, Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Raul and Jota. With Cutrone, Traore and Vinagre to impact from the bench.

    John de Wolf’s hairdryer: Barring any injuries tonight or in training, we will field the same starting XI that was fielded against Leicester, which was our starting XI against Liverpool in the last match of last season IIRC.

    Keyser Söze: It'll be the usual. Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Jonny; Moutinho, Dendonker; Jimenez, Jota

    Pessimistic Wolf: Most likely XI is also the one I'd like to see:


    Doherty Bennett Coady Boly Jonny

    Neves Dendoncker


    Jota Jimenez

    SUBS: Ruddy, Vinagre, Vallejo, Traore, Cutrone, Saiss, Neto

    WarstonesWolf: Patricio boly Coady Jesus johnny doc neves Moutinho dendoncker Jimenez jota

    clivewolves: Patrico, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Jota, Jimenez.

    Cousins78: Full strength Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Bennett, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Jota and Jimenez. Cutrone to come on with 30 mins to go

    Wandering_Wolf93: Our team is pretty much a shoe in as - Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Moutinho, Neves Dendoncker, Jota & Jimenex.

    The Wolf In The North: We'll go same as always, but I'd like to see Vinagre instead of Johnny for a significant spell, as he and Jota could cause your defense massive problems down your right as AWB and Maguire are still bedding in.

    Q10: Finally, your predictions for the match?
    Alex Rae The Substitute: I tend not to do predictions, but surely Ole must be targeting this as a ‘must win’ to prove he’s progressed you since last season. He surely can’t afford to lose it.

    WolfLing: For both of the games that we won at Molineux last season, Pogba was a complete passenger. If he decides he fancies it on Monday, I think it will be a score draw, probably 2-2. If he can't be bothered, we will win 1-0 or 2-1.

    sc91: Truthfully, Wolves 2 - 0 Manchester United. Under the lights of Molineux, first home game and the crowd/players well up for it, couldn't ask for a better opponent to open up the season at home

    Keyser Söze: 1-0 to us. Pogba hasn't fancied it against us 3 times in a row now, don't see that changing and as a result you won't break us down but it'll be tight

    JohnB: To beat you twice at Molineux was amazing, particularly the Cup game where very few believed before the game. You’ll be wary of us and so I’d take a point now (1-1), but hoping for all three!

    clivewolves: Two teams at their best when counter-attacking. I can see it being 2-2, which I'd be happy with. Hopefully no injuries as we have Torino away on the following Thursday (barring a disaster for either team)

    Cousins78: Tight match, depends who wins the battles around the pitch but I’m going for a 1-1 draw. Jimenez early goal and 2nd half rashford strike to get you a point

    Yout85: 3-1 Wolves. Jota and 2 for Raul. Rashford for your lot to pull it back to 2-1 before the quick 3rd.

    Werewolf of Wombourne: I think there will be goals. Your defence has improved but both Maguire and Shaw were ripped to pieces by Jota and Jiminez last season so there are opportunities for us to exploit that. It wouldn't surprise me if it finished 2-2

    quirky_birky: I don't do predictions. I'll be putting large sums of money on United, but anyone who knows me, knows that I bet to lose (don't ask - it's a weird jinx thing I've got going. And no, I'm not seeing a psychiatrist about it).
  2. Aug 16, 2019

    Solius Bearded Scholes admirer Staff

    Dec 31, 2007
    Good read, cheers @Damien

    Maybe ask the Palace fans their thoughts on the Wan-Bissaka deal. Do they think they got a good deal for him, how do they think he will do for us?

    Also how do they feel about the whole Zaha saga? And also maybe how do they feel about his brief stint with us and the whole sell-on clause fiasco.
  3. Aug 16, 2019

    Annihilate Now! ...or later, I'm not fussy Scout

    Nov 4, 2010
    This Space Is For Sale
    Good read again, thanks for compiling Damo and thanks to the Wolves forum.

    Seems like they're keeping their feet on the ground with regards to breaking into the top 6. Depends how they cope with Europa, but I'd give them a decent chance to get in ahead of Chelsea
  4. Aug 16, 2019

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin) Staff

    Mar 4, 2010
  5. Aug 16, 2019

    Random Task Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

    Feb 7, 2010
    You're right there.
  6. Aug 16, 2019

    BeforeKeanetherewasRobson Full Member

    Jun 26, 2014
    Behind the right goal post as "Whiteside shoots!"
    Interesting, thanks. Wolves fans seem quite positive about this one.

    I'm positive given additions to defence but against Wolves (sitting), we need someone who can create something and break down the crowded defence/midfield. For me, this is the type of game where Ole needs to demonstrate he has tactical ability and can tweak tactics to suit opponents.

    I see us winning by one.
  7. Aug 16, 2019

    Random Task Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

    Feb 7, 2010
    Pogba seems to have garnered the reputation of a troublemaker. I wonder how much of that stems from Mourinho's words in the press or Pogba's attempts to engineer a move out of the club. For what it's worth, despite the dabbing, the weird hair-cuts and the ridiculous spot-kick runups, Pogba is as professional as they come and he's a popular guy in the dressing room by all accounts. He can't be all bad.
  8. Aug 16, 2019

    Solius Bearded Scholes admirer Staff

    Dec 31, 2007
    Yeah it's weird how common that impression was with them. If anybody was a bad egg this summer it was Lukaku.
  9. Aug 16, 2019

    Kush Full Member

    Mar 30, 2010
    This has been a common theme among many opposition fans. No matter what one says, the media and journalists do have an impact on how they spin a narrative around a club/player and they've been on Pogbas' back for a long time now. Doesn't surprise me that opposition fans buy into it.
  10. Aug 16, 2019

    ClaytonBlackmoorLeftPeg Full Member

    May 22, 2017
    One of the reasons is that opposition fans won’t watch that much of Utd. But they will read about us, I saw Crooks was having another go at Pogba in his team of the week - fans pick up on this, and they don’t see him week in week out.

    Some fans are well informed, of course, but most are not, and they take their cues from commentators and the media.

    @Damien - cracking thread by the way, it’s great to get the opposition fans’ perspective, thank you.
  11. Aug 16, 2019

    TheReligion Abusive

    Nov 22, 2006
    They really rate Boly! Is he THAT good?
  12. Aug 16, 2019

    MyOnlySolskjaer Creator of Player Performance threads

    Nov 27, 2014
    Player Performance Threads
    Fair play to the score predictions, Wolves fans are pretty confident unlike the Chelsea fans.
  13. Aug 16, 2019

    Pace Abuser Full Member

    Jul 25, 2016
    Damn, they're confident and I don't blame them. We really need a massive performance from our midfield.
  14. Aug 17, 2019

    sglowrider Against Oral Equality

    Dec 27, 2009
    Hell on Earth
    A side note.

    We do take for granted the commercial juggernaut (vis a vis FFP) that is United, managed by Woodward does allow us the ability to bale ourselves out of trouble as in poor performances or bad managers. No mid-table club could have survived the clusterfeck that was United since Fergie retired. We would certainly have been relegation fodder.

    Midtable or newly promoted sides just cant spend their way out of trouble or into success year after year.
  15. Aug 17, 2019

    OldTrevil Full Member

    Dec 30, 2013
    Wow, Mourinho really did a number on the league and the sickening media agenda against Pogba has a wide and receptive audience. Paul is a sulk, he downs tools, he undermines this and that, a virus (lol), etc. I will get double the joy if we beat them on Monday, and I hope their project eventually crashes, NES resigns and they get relegated all the way back to league 1 :drool:
  16. Aug 17, 2019

    AndersB New Member

    Oct 17, 2016
    They're not really talking about that, though. They're mostly referring to his performances on the pitch against them, and especially at Molineux. And you can't argue with them there, really. If Pogba looks like he can't be properly arsed on Monday, losing possession repeatedly in our half etc., it will feel really shit. Hope he proves them wrong.

    Edit: I guess they talk about both. But it's obviously based on performance as well
  17. Aug 17, 2019

    WR10 Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

    Jul 19, 2009
    It puts it into a wild perspective when you realize how much opposition rate our team based on Pogba on vs Pogba off.

    If that guy leaves...

    Truly will be challenging for 7/8th
  18. Aug 17, 2019

    UNITED ACADEMY Full Member

    Aug 14, 2018
    If that guy leaves and we don’t use the money wisely to buy top player that we needs then yes 7th or 8th. Otherwise, we will be challenging.
  19. Aug 17, 2019

    .Phil1968 Full Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    I'm just going on The Caf
    Back in the day when I was following United all over I used to knock about with a lad who was from Wolverhampton and whilst he was a red he obviously had a soft spot for his home town club. Occasionally when we couldn't get to watch United we'd go and watch Wolves at the time when Bull and Mutch were tearing the league up.
    Bull was a sensational striker fearless and clinical in front of goal. Getting picked for England at that time when he wasn't in the top division and there was a glut of English strikers around tells you how much this guy was rated.
    I went to one game at the old Vetch in Swansea where he scored 4 or 5 and they destroyed the home team.
    After the game me and my mate hung around the ground and got Bullys autograph. I did ask him if there was any chance he would sign for United. He just grinned and in that lovely accent said No I'm a wolves lad.
    Great player.
  20. Aug 17, 2019

    Mercurial Full Member

    Jun 11, 2017
    Great read, and Lovely series over a season to follow! Kinda makes you learn a lot about the other teams that's not widely covered in the big media and about fan perspectives. And how we are perceived. Keep up the good work, as it is greatly appreciated!

    As for the opposition fans view on us in the sporting and organisational sense, it's interesting that the loss of a striker in Lukaku doesn't seem to factor in so heavy whereas the publicly aired laundry drama from seasons past on Pogba still sadly lingers. As for the coach the respect for OGS has earned him some rep in the sense we are feared much more as a functioning 'happy' unit and expected to attack rather than the fear to face the Mourinho 'whipped into submission' wall of death. The first match vs Chelsea and the youth energy on display has us back in the running for top 4 to even 3 in the eyes of opponents. OGS tactical aptitude was called by them into question and perhaps rightly so, but heres hoping the structure set in place with the mix of young/experienced 'co-coaches' keep surprising in a positive way.
  21. Aug 17, 2019

    WolfInSharp'sClothing Full Member

    Aug 29, 2018
    They kind of go hand in hand. I don’t buy into negativity around a player based on what the media says alone, I judge them based on performances too.

    So when a player with all the natural ability in the world comes to Molineux twice in two months and puts in two awful performances that backup the narrative of a lazy, sulky individual that doesn’t want to be there, it’s only going to enforce that narrative.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  22. Aug 17, 2019

    stu_1992 Full Member

    May 8, 2013
    Well quite a few of them seem very confident about a result against us Monday. With good reasonbas well, we were awful against them last season. Hopefully we can put that right this season, but I honestly can't predict the result. Could see it any way.
  23. Aug 17, 2019

    Dyslexic Untied Full Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Highly appreciate these threads.
  24. Aug 17, 2019

    Lay Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

    Jan 29, 2013
    Good read. Used to lurk on that forum a few years back, they seemed like a decent and realistic bunch.
  25. Aug 17, 2019

    Wumminator The Special One!

    May 8, 2008
    Obertans #1 fan.
    Thanks for that. I like Wolves as a club, would like to see West Brom join them in the prem as well in an ideal world.
  26. Aug 18, 2019

    ValenciaRocks Full Member

    Nov 5, 2017
    I really can’t wait to see how decent Boly is then.... If he’s worth 100M as one fan says, I’d like to see why he slipped under the radar.

    Also, as many people have already said, this will be a big test for Ole and his coaching team.

    It’s clear that we are playing a more aggressive game now. But will that play into Wolves’ hands given the fact they are probably the best counter attacking team outside the top 6 (or possibly the same level as Leicester).

    We need to win that midfield battle and we need some creativity. I’d like to see Gomes and Mata play.... We aren’t going to rely on speed as much as we did against Chelsea. It’s all about controlling the game and picking them off.
  27. Aug 19, 2019

    Man of Leisure Full Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    One Big Holiday
    Great stuff as usual @Damien

    Wolves' fans seem pretty confident for tomorrow. Just like after reading last week's Chelsea ask the oppo thread, I became more optimistic... I'll be happy with a draw at their place.
  28. Aug 19, 2019

    Vault Dweller Full Member

    May 26, 2016
    Broomhoose, Glesgae
    Mint thread @Damien good read that.
  29. Aug 19, 2019

    SilentWitness ShoelessWitness Staff

    Jan 14, 2010
    Great read again. Interesting to read how confident they are regarding this game and the season ahead!
  30. Aug 19, 2019

    Yagami Full Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    @Damien , you are just the best

    Yeah, not one of the predicted a United victory. I think that's fair, too. As hopeful as I am of a win, our performances in all 3 games against them last year makes me a tad pessimistic.