The news of Bukayo Saka’s new long-term contract is a great way to step away from last weekend’s defeat to Nottingham Forest. And while the contract watch now focuses squarely on William Saliba, on the pitch there is still one match to go. Arsenal had the best road form in the Premier League this season with 12 wins out of 19 and 35 goals. But perhaps surprisingly given the improved atmosphere at the Emirates, the Gunners are third in the league home table giving up 25 goals from 18 matches. Sunday offers a chance to improve those stats and end the year on a positive.
Wolves enter the final weekend of the season in 13th place, regularly picking up points over the last two months to move them well clear of the relegation zone. Since the start of April, they’ve collected 14 points out of a possible 27, including wins over Chelsea, Brentford, Crystal Palace, & Aston Villa. However, the club has struggled on the road this season with a -21 goal differential and has just one road win since the start of 2023. Has their attention turned toward the summer business or with nothing to lose will they pose a difficult final test for the Gunners?
For the final Q&A of the season, we spoke with The Wolfpack, a Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fansite and podcast, once again.
TSF: When we last spoke before the World Cup break Wolves were 19th. Since then Julen Lopetegui took over and guided the team to safety, currently 13th. What changes did he bring to the squad and tactics that helped improve results these past few months?
The Wolfpack: He added mentality and stability to the players and club and found a winning formula.
TSF: Rúben Neves received the Player of the Year award from the team and is tied as the club’s leading goal scorer this season, despite playing as a defensive midfielder. Arsenal and Barcelona are just two of the clubs linked with a move. Do you expect him to exit this summer and how much would he be missed next season?
The Wolfpack: He’s Wolves’ best player and it would be sad to see him leave as he’s key to everything about this club. But sadly I do expect him to leave as he deserves Champions league football. Will he leave for sure? Who knows, depends if an offer meets Wolves’ expectations.
TSF: With another season in the Premier League secured, what will be Lopetegui’s top priorities in the summer transfer window?
The Wolfpack: It is unclear right now what his priorities are because Lopetegui’s future is in doubt as it is. If he stays the priorities would likely be - winger, striker, and CB/CM.
TSF: Despite the difficult start, and lack of goals this season, which young players made the biggest improvements this year and could play a larger role next season?
The Wolfpack: Hugo Bueno, he’s had a breakthrough campaign and has been superb. Also, Joao Gomes who was signed in the summer and will probably be key next season.
TSF: What is your predicted starting XI for Wolves this weekend and the final scoreline?
The Wolfpack: Hard to predict as Lopetegui may give gametime to some players who are leaving the club. But I’ll go with: Daniel Bentley | Nelson Semedo, Craig Dawson, Max Kilman & Hugo Bueno | Ruben Neves, Mario Lemina, & Matheus Nunes | Hwang Hee-chan, Diego Costa, & Matheus Cunha.
Final scoreline predictions 2-0 to Arsenal.
Thanks to The Wolfpack for their time and best of luck next season in the Premier League.