Wolves on a roll

We are approaching the halfway stage of a thrilling Championship season and Wolves look to be running away with after embarking on a sensational run. They were not given much of a chance before the campaign began after finished 15th in 2016/17, just seven points above the relegation zone. Aston Villa and Middlesbrough were the preseason favourites to win the title, but they have been left behind by the Midlands club. So just how did Wolves manage to improve so drastically over the summer and can they keep it going in the second half of the season?

In fairness, the resurgence began under Paul Lambert towards the end of last season, when they won five on the bounce to move clear of the relegation zone. In the summer they replaced Lambert with Nuno Espirito Santo, who had formerly managed Valencia and Porto, in a high-profile coup. The Portuguese has revolutionised the way Wolves play, instilling a slick, pass and move style that has left them far too hot for their rivals to handle. Barcelona of the Midlands, far too good for the Championship, the plaudits keep on coming for Wolves.

They have enjoyed strong financial backing from Chinese owners Fosun International, which cannot hurt. In the summer Wolves signed Ruben Neves from Porto in a £15 million deal and that sort of money goes a long way in the second tier. Neves has lit up the Championship with some superb displays in the Wolves engine room, and that has set the tone for the scintillating football that has defined their season. However, Boro spent a fortune in the summer are 15 points behind Wolves, so money cannot guarantee success.

Nuno himself has made a huge difference as he has proven himself to be an excellent man manager. He has done such a good job that Premiership outfit Everton came knocking when they axed Ronald Koeman, only to be hastily rebuffed. The Iberian tint to the team has led to some sumptuous football, and the Portuguese, Spanish and French players clearly respect him as a coach. Neves, Ivan Cavaleiro, Willy Boly, Diogo Jota, Ruben Vinagre, Roderick Miranda, Leo Bonatini and Romain Saiss have transformed Wolves into a side more likely to be seen on the continent. It is hard to remember a Championship side with so many foreign imports, and Wolves are reaping the benefits of hiring players that like the ball to feet in a league that places such a premium on lumping it up the pitch. Nuno’s friendship with super agent Jorge Mendes is a major bonus. These imports must have been sold a dream that one season in the Championship would lead to them competing in the world’s most popular league, and it is on course to come to fruition.

But the British core of John Ruddy, Barry Douglas, Conor Coady and Danny Batth is equally important, helping guide their foreign colleagues through the rigours of a Championship season. Not only are Wolves sumptuous going forwards, they are well organised at the back and strong in the middle of the park. But the attack is really something special, with Bonatini and Jota benefiting from some marvellous service. Wolves are huge favourites to win the Championship: 5 dimes will have odds, make sure to research them, and you will see they are odds-on, short-priced and expected to cruise to victory this season.

We might soon start asking whether or not they are the best team to ever grace this league? Newcastle were very impressive back in 2009-10, when they bounced straight back to the top flight, but they did not play with the same level of grace and panache, and they were not as fun to watch. If Wolves keep it up, they will run away with the league and win fans among neutrals across the country.