Wolves and Fulham Have Shown They Can Pose a Threat Further Up the Table This Season6 min read
As we have seen over the last few seasons, promoted clubs coming up from the Championship into the Premier League are more competitive than ever. Huddersfield, Brighton and Newcastle all managed to stay afloat and avoid the dreaded drop, while seasoned veterans Stoke, Swansea and West Brom occupied the bottom three positions.
Now, more than ever, it seems that those promoted sides can pose a threat to other teams’ chance of survival. With the extra cash flow from an unprecedented Premier League TV deal, those teams have money to be able to spend in the transfer market. Of course, having billionaire owners, who are not afraid to delve deep into their pockets just as Fulham and Wolves’ owners aren’t, goes a long way in assuring safety.
Wolves and Fulham appear to be in a different category this season than just making their priority to avoid the relegation drop. Both clubs have gone down the path of wanting more and truly contending for a top 10 finish.
The midlands-based club spent an initial £66 million on player transfers over the summer, bringing in 11 brand new players into the first team. An overhaul that is going to take time to gel together, but will also enable them to move swiftly up the table and out of danger.
This type of lucrative recruitment started two summers previous, with the likes of Hélder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro coming in from Benfica and Monaco respectively, as well as the arrival of FC Porto’s Rúben Neves last year. A sizeable downpayment was made by Wolves’ owners to ensure their promotion into England’s top flight, with the risk certainly paying off and the financial rewards easing the blow of the initial outlay.
In Wolves’ opening three games, they have drawn two and lost one. Although they are yet to pick up three points, their performances against Everton and Manchester City suggest that they will be more than capable in upsetting the order of the Premier League and putting a few teams in their places this season. Especially against Pep Guardiola’s men, Wolves had plenty of chances to put City to the sword and kept their defensive organisation and diligence when coming up against one of the most potent attacks in Europe.
They might have suffered a defeat to Leicester City away from home, but Nuno Espírito Santo’s players will feel a great injustice in not leaving the King Power stadium without points to show for their positive performance. With players still coming to terms with one another, it will always take some time for everyone to settle, but the encouraging signs are there for fans to see.
Fulham, similarly, brought in a wide range of players from around Europe. Having brought in 12 new players and spent just under £100 million on transfer fees, the West London club will expect nothing less than a top 10 finish. Their owner, Tony Khan, has been very productive and efficient in recruiting players this summer, with some shock arrivals coming through the door at Craven Cottage.
Jean Michaël Seri, formerly of Nice, was one of those. The Ivory Coast midfielder looked destined to join a club who qualified for the Champions League, but Fulham offered what the French club desired and a deal was quickly concluded. Seri will provide a great sense of balance in Fulham’s midfield, as he has already shown in the three games he’s featured in. It looks as if he’s had no trouble settling to life in England and the Premier League style, which is exactly what the Cottagers would have wanted.
Jean Michaël Seri's ? has been nominated for the @premierleague's August Goal of the Month.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) August 31, 2018
Slaviša Jokanović is a manager that boasts attacking football and will ensure that Fulham will follow that same blueprint now in England’s top flight. As seen in their 4-2 win over Burnley last weekend, Fulham’s players excelled at home and managed to take 22 shots throughout the 90 minutes with 12 of those being on target, compared to Burnley’s two.
Fulham are certainly going to be a team, once settled, that are difficult to beat at home, but the Serbian manager will also want to make sure that his players are picking up points away from home. If they are to challenge for a top 10 finish, Fulham must be able to get valuable results on the road.
Both clubs are going to provide immense excitement for their supporters this season due to who they have brought in over the summer as well as the managers they possess. The Premier League season is a long and tricky road, but with deep squads to tackle the testing times in the winter months, both are equipped far better than the majority of their rivals.