As Wolverhampton Wanderers endured their most forgettable season since gaining promotion back to the Premier League in 2018, Nuno Espírito Santo eventually said his goodbyes. The manager has left an incredible legacy behind. He took over a mid-table Championship side before transforming them into a household name in the top flight- even taking them to two top seven finishes and a European quarter-final.
But, in truth, it was the right time to leave. He had taken the side as far as they could go, as proven by their mid-table and rather uneventful season. Without Raul Jimenez, they failed to show any sign of threat going forward. Even Adams Traore, apart from the latter stages of the season, looked completely neutralised without his partner in crime.
The duo caused havoc up against some of the best defences last season. They ran riot at the Etihad and helped Wolves to a second consecutive seventh placed finish. Without one half of the duo, however, Espírito Santo’s side limped to a 13th placed finish this season. It was a campaign with few notable highlights and one many are likely to forget.
One thing that will be forever remembered, though, is the impact Nuno Espírito Santo had at the club.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Season Review: Nuno Espírito Santo Waves Goodbye
Moment to Remember
As previously mentioned, it was a fairly uneventful season for Wolverhampton Wanderers. But, it has to be said, they still enjoyed a couple of fine performances against some of the very best sides the Premier League has to offer. Most notably, they defeated Chelsea 2-0 at Molineux before drawing at Stamford Bridge to go unbeaten against the Blues.
They turned out to be a thorn in the side of London clubs, defeating Arsenal 2-1 and drawing with Tottenham Hotspur. The win at Arsenal was when the season started to go downhill, however. Despite the three points, Raul Jimenez’ head injury would rule him out for the rest of the campaign.
There would have been concerns that the Mexican would never play football again. By some contrast, he is set to be back playing at the start of next season.
Moment to Forget
Without the injured Jimenez, Wolves struggled to replicate their exciting way of playing- hitting sides with lethal effect on the counter-attack. So, naturally, as their style of football was forced to change, their results suffered too. The most devastating loss for Wolves fans would have been in the Black Country Derby against West Bromwich Albion. The 3-2 loss in January extended their winless run to five games.
The run, which would eventually end at seven when they completed a double over Arsenal, left any hopes of a third consecutive top seven finish in complete disarray. In the end, the season never felt focused on where they would finish, but, instead, on how the progress of Jimenez was going.
Confined to mid-table, Wolves would have been delighted to see the progress the forward was making. Without him, it has to be said that Fabio Silva enjoyed quite the learning curve. Signed to watch on from the bench and learn, the young forward was thrown into the deep end after the injury. At first, he resembled that of a panicking victim of the depths of the Premier League.
By the end of the season, however, he looked far more comfortable; getting in the correct positions and slowly finding his goal scoring touch. Looking ahead to the future, this season would have done the youngster a world of good. It may even turn out to be a career-defining campaign.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Player of the Season
When it comes to the Wolverhampton Wanderers player of the season award, it’s hard to look past Pedro Neto. The 21-year-old winger was the one bright spark in a fairly dim attack at Molineux throughout the season before suffering injury himself. He’ll likely go down as another successful Portuguese talent at Wolves- following in the footsteps of the likes of Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota.
His goal against Southampton, round a couple of Saints at an angle before firing home, highlighted just how good he can be. At such a young age, too, he is only just getting stated. Under a new manager next season, Neto will be hoping to simply pick up where he left off at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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