Wolves comment: Nothing to fear on fixture list
If this was a year ago Wolves have eyed up their opening couple of fixtures, or their festive schedule, with a touch of fear or trepidation.
Not any more. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team travel to Leicester City on the opening day and then welcome Manchester United to Molineux a week later. Tough assignments, of course, but Wolves beat both of those teams last season (and Manchester United twice, no less).
Indeed, they managed to beat all seven of their opening opponents – Burnley, Everton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Watford being the others – during the enormously successful 2018/19 campaign.
The fixture list can be much of a muchness to some. After all, everyone has to play everyone twice, just in a different order, so what does it matter?
Well, an opening quartet of games against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, etc offers the prospect of a slow start to the campaign, perhaps an early flirtation with the relegation zone and such starts can take a while to recover from. Just ask West Ham, who lost their opening four fixtures of last season.
But Wolves have avoided a tricky run, on paper, for the whole campaign with their toughest tests largely being spread out, save for the festive double-header against Manchester City and Liverpool on December 26 and 28 respectively.
Even that may not be the worst time to play last season’s champions and runners-up, given the fairly regular unpredictability of results around the Christmas period. City, for example, lost to Palace and Leicester on December 22 and 26 last year.
What is for certain is that the dates on the list will change. And then some.
Given Wolves’ success and popularity last year, you’d expect a big percentage of their games to be televised. But throw in the prospect of many of their pre-Christmas fixtures being moved due to a Europa League campaign and you’re looking at probably half – at least – of their matches being moved.
Their opening four fixtures will all be played on a Sunday if Wolves reach the final Europa League qualifying round.
Either way, while it’s early doors in the summer, there remains a tangible feelgood factor about the season ahead. Who knows what Wolves have in store for us next.
Wolves ace Matt Doherty has Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy's backing for crunch Euro 2020 qualifying clash with Denmark