Sigh. It wasn’t so long ago that yours truly was dreaming of a time when Wolves would be relegated. Let me take you back to the days of yore. It was January. Wolves were 19th, having won just thrice from 19 matches. The November appointment of Julen Lopetegui looked unlikely to alter that fate. However, they’re comfortably mid-table, dashing your correspondent’s dreams (such is my fate…).
They’ve been a bogey side for us, reminiscent in many ways of facing Tony Pulis’s Stoke sides at their best (worst?). As the graphic above shows, they’re one of the Prem’s dirtiest sides, leading the league with fouls called and red cards issued. Somehow, it’s been us who’ve been warned and booked and punished more than they in our last five encounters:
- Fouls: Wolves committed 50, Arsenal committed 48.
- Yellow cards: Wolves saw 12, Arsenal saw 13.
- Red cards: Wolves saw none, Arsenal saw three.
What gives? One would think that the Prem’s dirtiest side would far exceed Arsenal for fouls, yellow cards, and red cards. In this season, we’re one of the Prem’s cleanest side with just 52 yellow cards. We’re one of just five sides yet to see red, which is a roundabout way of saying that at least one Gunner will get sent off (if you’re an Ivan Toney, you might put down a few on Xhaka. Along similar lines, Costa’s scored just once all seasons, so put another Toney on the
Brazliian Spaniard bagging a brace).
In the end, despite all the bad blood between us and them, this has all the marks of a dead-rubber match. Neither side has anythign much to fight for. We’ll be without Saka, Saliba, Tomiyasu, Martinelli, and Zinchenko and may even rest a few others. Wolves do have a chance at finishing above Chelsea should Newcastle put them to the sword and we fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
I might have enjoyed salting the wounds of Wolves’ relegation. At this point, however, I’d be content with any result that doesn’t result in any of our players getting maimed. I’m sure we can count on Andre Marriner to officiate in a firm but fair manner…