Should Wolves be wary of their great start to the season?

Molineux - Wolves - Billy Wright Stand

Wolverhampton Wanderers have started the season in incredible form, but it won’t be long until Championship teams figure them out.

Having played five games, Kenny Jackett’s recently promoted Wolves side sit in third place in the Championship table - with four wins and one defeat registered at this early stage of the season.

The Midlands team have recorded incredible victories over all three of the relegated Premier League sides, keeping clean sheets in 1-0 wins over Fulham, Cardiff and Norwich City. They have also defeated Blackburn Rovers 3-1 - the only game to see more than one goal scored - although they suffered defeat at the hands of fellow promoted side Rotherham United - whose game plan worked to perfection.

Despite the victories, and Jackett rightfully being awarded Football League Manager of the Month for August, the defeat to Rotherham could spell out the remainder of the season for Wolves, as clubs start to become aware of their style of play.

Five games into the season, Wolves average the highest possession (57.6%) and the highest pass accuracy (84.4%) of any Championship side, with their desire to set out and play attractive football rewarding them with results against clubs with similar philosophies. Whilst the teams that attempt to rival their passing style are defeated, the teams that let Wolves play have so far created trouble amongst Jackett’s men.

In the 1-0 victory over Fulham, the Cottagers held 49% of the ball, sharing the ball with Wolves at an almost equal rate. Both teams registered 13 total shots, whilst the average position of both teams was spread evenly around the field. However, Wolves still displayed their superior talent, and overcame their rivals with a one-goal victory.

Yet, it is in the games with Rotherham and Cardiff that have shown Wolves’s weakness, with the opposition team choosing to sit deep and allow the midfield to hold the ball in non-threatening positions. Both games saw Wolves hold 67% of the ball, but they managed to have just five shots on target across both games, whilst the subversive, ‘weaker’ sides registered seven across the two fixtures. Rotherham were able to convert one of their chances to record an astonishing victory, but Cardiff were defeated by an unfortunate injury time own goal - with a memorable rearguard result in sight.

Both Derby and Watford have undergone similar phases in recent seasons, with the Hornets struggling last year with their possession football figured out by the opposition, and Derby - who have registered 56.6% of the ball in games this season - struggling to find the form that took them to the Play-Off Final last season.

The Championship is known to be one of the toughest leagues in the world, with anyone able to be anyone on their day, and Wolves’s early season performances have shown this to be true. However, if they cannot figure out how to defeat the teams who do not actively attempt to play football with them, they may be sliding out of the second tier as easily as they found their way in.

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