This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Wolverhampton Wanderers are currently making the most of the international break as they recharge their batteries ahead of a hectic festive period.
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The west Midlanders have already played 24 competitive games this season on top of a pre-season trip to China, so this gives the side a chance to prepare for what is to come – more and more matches.
They have one foot in the knockout stages of the Europa League, holding a five-point cushion in Group K, and the FA Cup will soon begin in the New Year.
Aside from keeping everyone fit and healthy, manager Nuno Santo can aid his team’s chances of enjoying a successful season by sticking to his guns in one key area.
Wolves have often been torn between two systems, a 3-5-2, which has been the most used formation in the Premier League, and the 3-4-3 that won them the Championship title in 2018.
Figures from Understat per WolvesAnalytics are quite damning on which has paid more dividends so far this campaign.
The 3-4-3 formation has mainly been used in five of their 12 Premier League matches this term – against Crystal Palace, Watford, Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Newcastle United.
Yet, their performances have been considerably improved in doing so as they are, in short, scoring more and conceding fewer goals.
The table above shows that there is an increase in goals per 90 minutes from 1.2 in the 3-5-2 system to 1.56 when playing a 3-4-3 and likewise with xG (expected goals) where there is a rise from 1.27 to 1.48.
In defence is where the most growth has been made as the club concede nearly one goal less per 90 minutes while their xG against is drastically reduced too.
This could be down to the fact that the three in attack formation allows Raul Jimenez some much-needed support, whereas the three in midfield system leaves the Mexican striker with far too much to do as there’s such a massive gap behind him.
Nuno should look to play a 3-4-3 from here on out, after all, it did bring them their most recent major success.