After a slow start to the season, Wolves have gradually climbed up to 11th position in the table just behind Arsenal. A win over Leeds United on Saturday in the Premier League would have taken them in the top 10 but after conceding a late penalty Wolves had to settle for a draw.
They have won three of their last four matches and bagged 10 out of the possible 12 points. Bruno Lage’s men have scored nine goals which is not the best of attacks in the league, yet they do possess a very strong and stable defence which has only kept two clean sheets till now but conceded only nine.
The above image is from their 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the Molineux. It shows the average positions of the Wolves players from the match. In the implemented 3-4-3 system which plays in a very out-stretched wide manner, the back three stays really deep in their own half to always provide options for the players upfront to go back under pressure and build again while also mitigating the chances of possible counterattacks.
The 31 year old Moroccan international, Roman Saiss plays on the left side of the back three. He is the one among the three with the second most duel engagement. Saiss has engaged in a total of 59 duels so far, coming out on 58% of the time. Most of his duel winning locations have been near the left flank and central defensive midfield area, while quite a few have been inside the penalty area. He has been extremely strong in the air winning 63% of his aerial duels. Quite a threat in the air, he recently scored his first goal of the campaign in their 2-3 win over Aston Villa. Other than this, Saiss has been a flawless tackler of the ball with exquisite timing, recording 100% successful tackle rate in the league along with 47 clearances and 16 interceptions with six blocked shots. He also has registered an 81% passing accuracy.
The club captain, Conor Coady stations himself at the heart of the back three- in the centre. He has not been so active like Saiss, engaging in lesser duels. The 28-year-old has engaged in only 40 duels so far, winning 20 of them with a 50% success rate. Most of his duels have been loose ball recoveries and inside his own penalty area. The English centre-back has won 46% of his aerial duels and is an equally effective threat from set-pieces. He also scored in their 2-3 comeback win against Aston Villa. Coady has been trusted more with playing the balls out from the back. Comfortable under possession, he has carried the ball out from the danger area with a passing accuracy of 89%. He also registered 24 clearances, five blocked shots and nine interceptions.
The youngest of them all, 24-year-old Max Kilman has featured on the right side of the back three. He has engaged in the most number of duels among the three and has the highest success rate as well. Among 67 duels in total, Kilman has won 41 of them – a whopping 61%. The majority of his duel winning locations have been near the defensive third on the right-hand side and a considerable amount have been inside the penalty area. The Englishman has also won nearly 48% of his aerial duels. His success rate has dropped in terms of tackles with just 48% in 21 attempted tackles and he has been booked twice so far. Kilman has also had 32 clearances along with 11 interceptions and three blocked shots. He has also registered 86% passing accuracy.
They have definitely been the best defence in the league with the majority of the defensive metrics less than the league median. But they have complimented each other extremely well, forging a good chemistry between them and in turn helping Wolves a really stable defensive partnership on which they can build up their game plan.
As a unit, they have performed quite well so far and would be vastly important if Wolves look to push for a top-half finish in the league.