X-mas miracle, now only Hwang Hee-chan needs to survive

Man City, Liverpool, then Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton Wanderers are on a steep upward curve.

“From relegation candidates at the start of the season to now competing for a European spot, Wolverhampton manager Gary O’Neill has done an outstanding job in the Premier League (PL) since Christmas,” The Athletic reported on its official social media on December 1 (KST).

“Only Manchester City (8 wins) and Liverpool (7 wins) have more wins than Wolverhampton (6 wins) since Christmas Eve,” the media outlet added alongside a photo of O’Neill.

Prior to Christmas Eve, Wolverhampton’s form had been abysmal. Two consecutive defeats to open the season dropped them to 19th place, and they were 14th before their match against Chelsea in round 18. While they were surprisingly able to knock off a powerhouse like Man City, their performance against lower-ranked teams was poor.

However, Wolverhampton rebounded after their 2-1 win over Chelsea on December 24 last year. They quickly climbed up to 11th place, and then held off Brentford and Everton in back-to-back games to stay there.

There was a brief lull as they failed to pick up wins against Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United. The latter was particularly disappointing, as Pedro Neto’s dramatic late equalizer in stoppage time gave them hope of a point, but they conceded just four minutes later, leaving them with a well-deserved point.

Just when it looked like things were going downhill, Wolverhampton turned things around against Chelsea again. The Blues defeated the London giants 4-2 at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea. They followed that up with a lethargic defeat at Brentford, but then went on to defeat Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United, and now sit in ninth place in the league.

As the media has noted, they are now in the race for European qualification. The fifth and sixth places in the PL qualify for the UEFA Europa League. Currently, Man United are in sixth place with 44 points, followed by Brighton and West Ham United (over 39 points) and Wolverhampton (38 points). While it’s unlikely, it’s remarkable that a team that started the season 카지노사이트 in 19th place has risen to within five points of sixth place.

Wolverhampton is enjoying a happy post-Christmas period, but there’s one thing missing. That is the silence of Hwang Hee-chan. He hasn’t played since his multi-goal performance in the 4-1 win over Brentford last year. He was away at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar and hasn”t been in form since his return. He started the last two matches against Tottenham and Sheffield Wednesday but failed to find the back of the net.

Hwang Hee-chan needs to come alive. Nicknamed the ‘Korean Guy’ at the start of the season, he scored a string of goals and established himself as a regular starter for Wolverhampton. Despite his Asian Cup absence, he is still the team’s top scorer. With the likes of Pedro Neto and Mateusz Cunha already performing well, O’Neill will be hoping for more of the same from Hwang.

Meanwhile, Hwang suffered a hamstring injury in the 2023-24 English FA Cup round of 16 match against Brighton on May 29. However, the injury is reportedly not serious. According to PL injury specialist Premier Injury, Hwang’s expected return date is March 2. Wolverhampton will return to action on March 3 against Newcastle United in the 27th round of the PL.

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