Any final doubts from Wolves fans around the team’s promotion credentials were quickly evaporated by the boot of Ruben Neves on Wednesday night. The moment the ball from that once-in-a- career volley rippled the back of the net, it became clear that there would not be some sort of late-season collapse to open the door for Cardiff and Fulham.
Wolves will be in the Premier League next season and will win the Championship. The only question is when. Most bookmakers are no longer taking bets on Wolves going up as champions. Those that do provide odds price it as around 1/200 or so. It could, of course, have already happened if you are reading this after the home game against Birmingham on Sunday.
Three out of four of Wolves’ fixtures could impact relegation But, as for the rest of the season, Wolves’ games will have a big impact on the future of other teams, especially when it comes to relegation. That includes the game against Birmingham on Sunday.
While lifting the title after beating a local rival would be something to be cherished by Wolves fans (Cardiff will have to lose or draw to make it possible), it would also underline the fact that Birmingham are in a relegation battle.
Birmingham are currently priced at 12/5 by Paddy Power to go down. A big price with four games remaining, but they have a tough run in (Wolves, Sheff Utd, Fulham, QPR), so it might be worth backing with the latest Paddy Power free bets. By the way, Wolves are big favourites at 1/3 to win the game, but Birmingham (17/2) shouldn’t be discounted for a shock win.
Wolves could be presented with trophy at Macron
If Wolves take three points from Birmingham, they will go into the next match against Bolton (Macron Stadium, 21 st April) with the job more or less completed. But how should they treat such a game if, as is likely, the outcome will no longer impact on Wolves’ season? Bolton also are right in the relegation quagmire. They are priced at 6/5 to go down at the moment, although the odds could change after their ‘six-pointer’ with Barnsley this weekend.
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Do Wolves have a duty to the other teams to give 100% commitment against Bolton, even if the title is guaranteed? One would argue that they do. Certainly, plenty of Wolves fans would be happy enough to see Bolton stay up at the expense of Birmingham, but the players should honour the integrity of the competition by putting a big effort in at the Macron.
After, that comes to last home game of the season against Sheffield Wednesday (28 th April). This one doesn’t really matter in terms of the result, with Wednesday neither involved in the relegation battle or the race for the Playoffs. There will likely be a carnival atmosphere at Molineux for this one.
Final day opponents Sunderland need miracle to stay up
The final game of the season comes against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light (6 th May). The Black Cats are, of course, in big, big trouble. There is a chance that the game will not matter, as they could already be down by that point (current odds of relegation are around 1/100). But, once again, Wolves owe it to the other teams to put in a shift if Sunderland are still in with a chance of survival.
In the end, it won’t matter much to Wolves fans what happens as long as they lift the title and push on with ambitious plans for the Premier League next season. But there is an obligation to go for the full 46 games. Nuno Santo and the lads should remember that.