Not many fans knew the name Bruno Lage before he stepped foot in the Wolverhampton Wanderers technical area in the summer; nobody really knew what to expect. In all honesty, it all felt a bit ironic that once again, Wolves were turning to the Portuguese to oversee a change in fortune. It all felt a bit too similar to Nuno Espírito Santo, who had also come from a top club in the Primeira Liga like Lage, who came from Benfica. Yet, almost at the halfway point in the season, it is clear that Lage is a stark contrast to Espírito Santo – something that bookmakers wouldn’t have had many bets on.
Bruno Lage Has Reintroduced the Spark of Entertainment at Wolves
Wolves Needed to Move on
This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Espírito Santo, either. After all, there is no denying that he did an excellent job at Wolves. He took them from the depths of the Championship all the way to the Europa League Quarter-finals in the space of three years. But, sometimes things just get stale; a bit mundane.
Towards the end, it felt like a married couple still together because it just felt like the ‘norm’. Wolves needed a new spark, to thank Espírito Santo and say goodbye. By since welcoming Lage, they’ve found the exact spark they were looking for. Watching Wolves is no longer a method similar to counting sheep when attempting to go to bed on time. Instead, it is once more full of entertainment, unpredictability, and fast-football in what is a refreshing contrast.
Lage has come from the seemingly unknown – when it comes to the viewpoint of most English fans – before suddenly emerging as one of the younger managers to keep an eye on in the top flight.
Hwang Hee-Chan: A Surprise Contender for Signing of the Season
More goals than Danny Ings and Romelu Lukaku, the same amount as Diogo Jota and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hwang Hee-chan has been quite the revelation since arriving in the Midlands.
Nobody could have foreseen his sudden rise in what is considered by many to be the toughest league in the world, especially after his torrid time at RB Leipzig. Yet, in just eight games, the South Korean has already netted four goals. In some contrast, during his time at Leipzig, in 29 appearances, Hee-chan scored just three goals.
At the time of his loan-signing, not much was said about whether it would improve Wolves at all. It just felt like another deadline day deal to add to the growing list of transfers completed. Two months later, however, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to name players signed alongside him in the Premier League that are having better seasons.
Jiménez and Hee-Chan: The Perfect Partnership for Bruno Lage
Hee-chan is the perfect match for Raúl Jiménez, too. The duo compliment each other with their individual skillets. Whilst Hee-chan is more of a traditional goal poacher between the six-yard box and the edge of the area, Jiménez has taken up the role of creator so far this season, recording two assists and creating three big chances alongside playing five through balls.
In comparison, a player with a similar role to Jiménez, in perhaps a slightly deeper position in Roberto Firmino, has created one big chance, and has had under half the amount of touches as Jiménez, whilst assisting one less goal.
When comparing Hee-chan, too, Jiménez’s role becomes that much clearer. The South Korean has created just one big chance this season and played just one through ball. The roles and the different tasks of the two forwards is as clear as day, with the success of the partnership handing Bruno Lage the foundations for a new-look Wolves side.
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