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Wolverhampton Wanderers 2022/23 season review: Lopetegui the hero as inconsistent Wolves scale through in relegation tussle

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2022/23 season review: Lopetegui the hero as inconsistent Wolves scale through in relegation tussle

A surefire candidate for relegation in the early parts of the season, Wolverhampton Wanderers turned their campaign around under the leadership of Julen Lopetegui to record a more respectable finish.

For the first time since 2014/15, the bottom-placed team on Christmas Day avoided Premier League relegation and by some distance with seven points separating them from the drop zone.

Despite achieving the primary task, Lopetegui will have some rebuilding to do. But he will be grateful to have avoided a woeful end to a season derailed by inconsistency.

Here’s the Wolverhampton Wanderers 2022/23 season review.

Player of the Year: Ruben Neves

Despite plying his trade from the base of midfield, Ruben Neves pulled all the strings for Wolves. The Portuguese midfielder netted six goals to top the club’s goalscoring chart alongside Daniel Podence.

While his contribution played a massive part in helping his side avoid the drop, it also laid bare Wolves’ need for a focal point to lead the line, with January signing Matheus Cunha bagging just two league goals.

Neves has just one year left to run on his contract, and his rollercoaster ride with Wolves could end this summer, having been repeatedly linked with clubs higher in the football pyramid.

Performance of the season

Wolves picked up some pivotal victories on their way to securing top-flight safety, but their exceptional 3-0 success over Liverpool in February stands out above the rest.


The Reds were massively underwhelming this season, but that takes nothing away from Lopetegui’s relentless pack, who comfortably outwitted Jurgen Klopp’s toothless side at Molineux.

Recording victories against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Brentford and Aston Villa also represented major scalps for Lopetegui during his first Premier League season.

Disappointment of the season

Wolves’ campaign can be summed up in one word – inconsistency. 

For all the relief of Lopetegui keeping them up, it was still a frustrating campaign, with Wolves failing to string up more than two league wins in a row.

Beyond staying afloat on troubled waters, Wolves struggled to build any real momentum, and that is a recurring theme Lopetegui will need to fix to keep his side further away from trouble next season.

However, Wolves’ financial situation could see them struggle to keep the Spanish tactician at the Molineux beyond this summer. 

Recent murmurs around the club suggest he could leave if he doesn’t receive substantial backing during the transfer window.

What do the stats say?

After flirting with despair during Bruno Lage’s ill-fated reign, Lopetegui has pulled Wolves out of trouble and steered them into a comfortable 13th placed finish in the Premier League table.

They accumulated 41 points (W11, D8, L19) – their lowest tally since they were relegated in the 2011/12 campaign (25).

Wolves’ dire lack of a creative outlet saw them create just 28 big chances (1.1 per game), which resulted in a paltry 31-goal haul (0.8 per match) – the lowest attacking return in the league and the fewest in their top-flight history.

They also conceded 58 goals (1.5 per game) – the seventh highest in the league, but their occasional solidity in defence helped them register a respectable 11 clean sheets.

Verdict

Lopetegui’s arrival inspired a revival that eventually earned Wolves a sixth consecutive campaign in the Premier League.

However, there is still plenty of work to do to maintain an upward trajectory and avoid another season of threading on the edge of the abyss.

Wolves’ financial situation could significantly hamper those plans, but it is up to the board to move the right pieces around and hand their Spanish saviour the war chest he needs to push the club forward.

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See all Premier League 2022/23: Team-by-team season reviews.

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