Premier League: Wolves the giantkillers: Santo’s side have taken points off five of the big six

Premier League: Wolves the giantkillers: Santo’s side have taken points off five of the big six

Wolves the giantkillers: Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have taken points off five of the big six this season and now can hurt Manchester City again

  • Wolves travel to Manchester City in the Premier League on Monday evening 
  •  Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have an impressive record against the ‘Top Six’  
  • The promoted side have taken points off five of the league’s top sides this season
  • They have already held City, and did likewise in the Carabao Cup last campaign

Harry Slavin For Mailonline

Some believe Wolves did Liverpool a favour by knocking them out of the FA Cup last weekend. They could be about to do them another one if they can keep up their fine form against the Top Six when they face Manchester City on Monday night.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side only gained promotion to the Premier League last season after coming out on top in the Championship but already they’ve proved themselves more than capable of holding their own against the best.

In fact, if they were to be placed in a mini-league alongside City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United, the Midlands outfit would sit third.  

Nuno Espirito Santo and his side have displayed a knack of upsetting the league's 'Top Six' 

Nuno Espirito Santo and his side have displayed a knack of upsetting the league's 'Top Six' 

Nuno Espirito Santo and his side have displayed a knack of upsetting the league’s ‘Top Six’ 

TOP SIX AND WOLVES MINI LEAGUE… THEY’RE HOLDING THEIR OWN
PositionTeamGD Pts 
1Liverpool15 15 
Manchester City 14 
Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 10 
Tottenham Hotspur 13 14 -1 
Chelsea 10 10 
Arsenal 11 16 -5 
Manchester United 14 -6 

That has largely been down to their potent attacking threat, Santo’s side possessing a mix of pace and guile that even some of Europe’s top defences have struggled with.

While Ivan Cavaleiro and Raul Jiminez have found the back of the net, the impact of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves pulling the strings in the middle of the park has been just as key. 

Their ability to mix it with the best of them was in evidence from as early as August, when they held champions City at home. 

It was the first instance of the top-flight newcomers using their counter-attacking to dangerous effect, forgoing possession as they looked to hit Pep Guardiola’s side on the counter – though they had a fortunate Willy Boly goal to thank for the point after the ball clearly came off his hand.  

They went on to prove it was no fluke either, by going to Old Trafford and holding Jose Mourinho’s men to a 1-1 draw with a similar display of defensive action, Joao Moutinho’s second-half equaliser enough to help his side to a point. 

The promoted side have already held Manchester City this season thanks to a Willy Boly goal

The promoted side have already held Manchester City this season thanks to a Willy Boly goal

The promoted side have already held Manchester City this season thanks to a Willy Boly goal

Joao Moutinho struck at Old Trafford in September to help Wolves secure a point at United

Joao Moutinho struck at Old Trafford in September to help Wolves secure a point at United

Joao Moutinho struck at Old Trafford in September to help Wolves secure a point at United

The Emirates saw the first real glimpse of just how ferocious they could be on the break. Arsenal fell behind after high-pressing allowed Wolves to pounce on a mistake from Granit Xhaka, Ivan Cavaleiro finishing the move. 

Only the woodwork and Bernd Leno prevented the visitors from taking all three points with three breaks late on as Unai Emery’s side pushed for all three points. 

They have shown they can play on the front foot, too, however. Chelsea were guarding a 1-0 lead at Molineux in December when Morgan Gibbs-White created the equaliser. Once again it was the speed of their transition that caught out Chelsea for the winner after Willian was dispossessed.  

Ivan Cavaleiro wheels away after giving the away side the lead at the Emirates in November

Ivan Cavaleiro wheels away after giving the away side the lead at the Emirates in November

Ivan Cavaleiro wheels away after giving the away side the lead at the Emirates in November

Raul Jiminez was on the scoresheet when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Molineux in December

Raul Jiminez was on the scoresheet when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Molineux in December

Raul Jiminez was on the scoresheet when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Molineux in December

Santo’s side are growing in confidence however, and by far their best victory of the season so far came against a Tottenham side attempting to force their way into the title race. 

A bit of everything was on display — their threat from set pieces, their swift counter-attacking and creativity — as they came away from Wembley with a 3-1 win. 

Since then, Wolves have put Jurgen Klopp’s men to the sword in the FA Cup, their 2-0 win meaning that each of the Top Six have failed to beat them on at least one occasion this season. 

That was the case last year in the Carabao Cup at the Ethad, where Santo’s side, then leading the Championship, held Guardiola’s champions elect 0-0 at the Etihad before going out on penalties.

The Spaniard came out and blamed the matchball for their inability to puncture the Wolves defence that evening. He can have no such excuse if they fail to win this evening.  

Helder Costa runs towards the away fans after securing the win against Tottenham Hotspur

Helder Costa runs towards the away fans after securing the win against Tottenham Hotspur

Helder Costa runs towards the away fans after securing the win against Tottenham Hotspur

While they've not beaten them in the league, Wolves also knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup

While they've not beaten them in the league, Wolves also knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup

While they’ve not beaten them in the league, Wolves also knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup

  



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