The Premier League won’t be a battle of top six teams this season as Wolverhampton Wanderers will make it a league with a strong top seven.
Wolves took 16 points off of the Premier League’s top six last term with Liverpool being the only side they were unable to take points off of.
How have Wolverhampton Wanderers become stronger?
This week saw Wolverhampton Wanderers’ purchase AC Milan striker Patrick Cutrone for £16 million. Cutrone is just 21 and played a mere two full seasons with the Rossoneri.
Last season, the striker scored three goals in 34 appearances. Despite the low number, 0.29 goals short of his expected goals tally, Cutrone accumulate just 1,408 minutes in Serie A. That’s around 41 minutes per match. Cutrone managed one goal every 469 minutes.
Cutrone’s time on the pitch was limited due to AC Milan’s loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain in the first half of the season and their permanent transfer of Krzysztof Piatek in January.
In 2017-18, Cutrone had more opportunities on the pitch for the San Siro side. He appeared in 28 matches logging 1,520 minutes. The Italian scored every 152 minutes on average. Given the time on the pitch, Cutrone could be one of the best buys of the summer transfer market.
Cutrone averaged 54.5 minutes a match and scored 10 goals exceeding his xG mark of 8.87. The 6ft tall striker will be a great alternative to first-choice No. 9 Raul Jimenez and manager Nuno Espirito Santo will be able to pair to the duo for a one-two punch.
Wolves continue to buy smart
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ purchase of Cutrone is an astute one. Jimenez carried the load last term scoring 13 Premier League goals, 1.27 fewer than his xG mark. The Mexican international did register seven assists, showing he could provide as well as finish.
Santo’s biggest issues this season will be managing the Premier League and Europa League schedules along with the expectations of a rabid group of supporters hungry for more success.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are merely in their second season in the Premier League since returning by winning the EFL Championship in 2017-18. Curbing expectations is needed in the Black Country.
Despite finishing seventh in the Premier League, nine points off of sixth-place Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers scored the eighth fewest goals in the competition. The seven teams to score fewer than 47 goals all fought relegation.
Cutrone’s addition gives Santo a proven goalscorer who can pick up the slack for Jimenez and keep defences on their toes. A two-striker attack would prevent teams from focusing their efforts completely on Jimenez.
Last season, Cutrone’s three goals all came inside the penalty area. He was far from prolific outside the 18-yard box as all of his nine shots outside the area were saved, blocked, or missed.
In Cutrone’s 10-goal season of 2017-18, his strikes all came within the 18-yard box. That season saw the Italian score twice with his head and seven times with his feet. Meanwhile, eight of the goals were from open play and the other two from corners or set pieces.
Cutrone is a fox in the box and can get on the end of defence cutting passes. With the passing abilities of Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves, and Diogo Jota, Cutrone should make a major impact at Molineux this term.