How Wolves could play a pivotal part in the Premier League title raceby Andy Dillon / 15 April 2019, 12:50Tweet
Nuno Espirito Santo will be shocked and maybe a little disappointed if he ever found out he is rather like the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.
And you wouldn’t blame him in normal circumstances.
However, the one thing of note that the one-time MP for Chingford and avowed Eurosceptic ever said was “do not underestimate the determination of the quiet man.”
Now there’s a common personality trait between a grey politician who looks like an insurance salesman and the manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Nuno is about as meek and modest as they come. Straining to hear the Portuguese in a press conference can be as difficult to comprehend as voting Conservative.
He is supposed to have ‘stormed out’ of his press conference at the weekend after his team lost 3-1 to Southampton. But a full read of the transcript reveals it was anything but. And he made sure he answered the point in question first.
While the Premier League title race reaches its final chapters Nuno is the man who could become thrust into the spotlight as an unlikely player in a gripping saga.
Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday was viewed by many of those looking in from the outside as the last big obstacle between them and a first league title in 29 years.
Nearest rivals Manchester City have to go to Manchester United after all and that could prove the moment Pep Guardiola’s bid for four major trophies in one season goes kaput in a testing derby atmosphere.
But a quick trawl through the stats this season shows there are wolves lurking right at the very end of the journey for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
Wolves guarding the door to the Premier League trophy room.
Nuno’s team has proved a bloody encounter for the top six teams this season. They took a point off Manchester City back in August, did the same to Manchester United a month later before holding Arsenal and then beat Chelsea - all before Christmas.
Liverpool’s FA Cup ambitions floundered at Molineux and they followed that up by knocking out Man Utd; Tottenham got a 3-1 spanking at home in the Premier League.
Wolves remain an unpredictable beast and that is just what the title race needs to make this one among the most exciting for years.
Liverpool’s home game with Wolves on the final day of the season is every bit as treacherous as City’s trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday week.
There’s the distinct feeling Wolves will cap their own remarkable season back among the elite by stopping the red juggernaut of Liverpool.
Nuno has put together a team which never fails to entertain; it boasts spirit and style. Were Liverpool at home to a more physically imposing team such as Burnley, or an organised unit like Brighton, a home win would seem more certain.
But there’s an element of magic about Wolves this year - a sense that if they turn up in the mood at any ground in the country they are the players who can spring a surprise more than anyone else in the division.
In this way, Liverpool have a harder run in than City, who have the slight edge with the bookies to retain their title.
Beating Chelsea was a big milestone but let’s hope that the final day provides a final twist, whichever way it goes, to make this title chase a truly classic two-horse race.