image source: premierleague.com
This season was one that began with promise. Two wins and a draw from the opening three games shed a bright light on what could be for Mick McCarthy’s men. By mid February, however, the wheels were well and truly off the wagon.
McCarthy was relieved as manager following a 5-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion, which seemed a strange move to many, despite the poor run of form.
While Wolves were well and truly entangled in a relegation battle, a recent victory over QPR and a handful of draws suggested Wolves might still have enough to avoid the drop. Nevertheless, the hammering at the hands of the Baggies seemed the final straw.
What followed spelled the end for Wolves. Terry Connor stepped up as interim boss and from there, Wolves picked up four points from 13 games and far too often seemed to lack the fortitude needed to survive .
Despite a draw with high-flying Newcastle offering brief hope in moving away from the foot of the table, this was soon forgotten as Wolves raced toward relegation.
To analyse Wolves' form under McCarthy and under Connor via simple averages, Wolves averaged 0.31 points per game under Connor and 0.84 points per game under McCarthy.
Applying McCarthy’s average to the 13 games that followed his dismissal would still see Wolves in a relegation position, but only by one or two points. They would have at least been in with a shot at survival.
While there is no doubt Wolves had begun to struggle under McCarthy, there is no telling how the team might have fared had he remained at the helm and offered the continuity that would have gone with it.
Wolves may still have collapsed as they did under Connor, but they may just have picked up another 10-12 points and been fighting for survival had Mick stayed in charge. We will never know.
All that can be hoped for now is keeping a hold of players like Doyle, Jarvis and Fletcher, bolstering the leakiest defense in the league and a playoff chance at a return to the top tier of English football. This, of course, is all easier said than done.