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Half-term report: A shocking start, but Wolves have time to recover

With the World Cup break now underway, it is time to reflect on how Wolves have faired so far this season.

Ruben Neves (Getty)
Ruben Neves (Getty)

The club has played 15 Premier League games and sit bottom of the table, with just eight goals scored.

Here, we give our half-term report and predict where Wolves will finish by the end of May.

The Highs

Unfortunately, this column will be fairly short as Wolves' campaign so far has had few highs.

In terms of performances and results, the home wins over Southampton and Nottingham Forest were important in context as Wolves battled – and rode their luck – to crucial victories.

Even the 1-1 draw at Brentford, in context, was a positive. Coming off the back of a thrashing at Molineux, the team showed guts to fight back from a losing position – a character trait they were missing for the weeks prior.

One big positive, that misses out on being included in the 'star performer' column, is Hugo Bueno's emergence.

At a time when Wolves' full-backs were desperately struggling for form, Bueno brought a youthful exuberance and fresh feel to the squad. His performances, for the most part, were remarkably consistent and he grabbed the left-back position with both hands.

The Lows

Only one afternoon at Molineux tops this list – the 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Leicester.

Wolves started well and created some chances before a Youri Tielemans wondergoal began the rout. The floodgates opened and Wolves were flattened.

It was frankly embarrassing. A Leicester side that were struggling themselves before kick-off, were ruthlessly clinical as Wolves settled for shots from distance.

The crowd turned that day, Molineux was toxic and the players let themselves, the club and the supporters down. One of the few positives after the game was Nathan Collins' honest assessment of the 'shambles' the team produced.

Bruno Lage is sacked following defeat to West Ham (Getty)

The 0-0 draw away at Bournemouth, who had just come off the back of a 9-0 loss to Liverpool, was a poor evening, while the 3-0 losses to both Manchester City and Chelsea showcased Wolves' inadequacies.

Finally, the 3-2 loss at home to Brighton was typical of the season. Wolves were exceptionally poor in defence, weak in attack and threw away three points from a winning position. Nelson Semedo's mistake for the Brighton equaliser and his straight red card highlighted how severely individual errors have cost the side.

Overall, too many individuals have been consistently poor and devoid of confidence. Most new signings have not hit the ground running, too.

Star performer

Due to Wolves' poor first half of the season, the star performer is clear – Ruben Neves wins it by a landslide.

He does not have much competition, but the skipper has been excellent.

At times, he has single-handedly dragged Wolves out of the fire with his technical quality. He is Wolves' best player without a doubt.

The 25-year-old has notched key goals against Newcastle, Forest, Brentford and Brighton and has led by example in his new role as captain.

When he is able to control a game, he takes a firm grip of it and wins Wolves points. When superior teams nullify the midfield, Wolves suffer. He is as key to Wolves getting results as any other factor.

Sadly, he will almost certainly leave Wolves at some point in the next two transfer windows. The only hope is that his final farewell in a Wolves shirt is more positive in the months to come.

What needs to improve

There is a simple answer to this problem, goals.

Only one striker has scored all season and that was Raul Jimenez in the Carabao Cup against Preston on August 23. No striker has scored in the Premier League this season.

Raul Jimenez (Getty)

Julen Lopetegui's biggest task is getting more out of the forwards currently at the club, while bringing in reinforcements that are capable of scoring goals. Neves leads the goalscoring with four, and that is not good enough.

Alongside that, Lopetegui has a huge job on his hands to restore confidence. There are several very talented footballers that are struggling. His man management will be tested to the limit and he must get it right, to get a tune out of this players.

Target for the season

At this point, with Wolves bottom of the table, the target for the season has to be survival.

Some of the more positive Wolves fans will see how tight the division is and realise how important Lopetegui's appointment is, but any hopes of top half finish or making Europe should be forgotten about.

Julen Lopetegui is the new boss (Getty)

If the Spaniard does achieve that, he will have done an incredible job, but all he has to do is keep Wolves in the Premier League.

If he can do that, he then has scope to build for next season and create this team in his own image. That is when we can get excited about what he could bring.

Liam Keen's final position prediction - 16th

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