Talking Point: How long will Wolves' promotion party last?

Wolverhampton Wanderers is starting to surpass the lofty expectations set for it, but what does history say about its hopes of maintaining the pace?

Joao Moutinho celebrates after scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford.   -  Getty Images

Pre-season predictions of a top-half finish for Wolverhampton Wanderers are beginning to look like the bare minimum following an assured start on its Premier League return.

Four victories from eight, draws against both Manchester clubs and the concession of just six goals is the form of a team well and truly comfortable in the top tier.

The question now is how high Nuno Espirito Santo, the Manager of the Month for September, and his band of impressive Portuguese imports will land at the conclusion of the campaign.

With the help of Opta data, we assess the fortunes and finishing positions of promoted teams to have made equally fast starts in the Premier League.

THE STATE OF AFFAIRS

Genuine hope of European qualification has emerged from a six-match unbeaten run compiled in the wake of August's 2-0 loss at Leicester City.

READ | Moutinho targets European qualification with Wolves

Now seventh, Wolves will be confident of continuing their run against Watford at Molineux, where victory would give them three straight top-flight home wins for the first time since November 1980.

The club's haul of 17 points in all is the best by a promoted side in a decade, and surely brings with it more promise than trepidation.

TOP FOUR FAIRYTALES

Only four promoted teams have previously collected more points at this juncture of a Premier League season; two of them finished in the top four.

Nottingham Forest's effort of 1994-95 (20 points) remains the gold standard, with Stan Collymore's collection of 22 goals spearheading a stunning surge to third.

Blackburn Rovers, champion that season, set the platform for success by ending the 1992-93 campaign in fourth, having parlayed Jack Walker's wealth into a strong return of 17 points from eight games.

The modern day 'big six' stranglehold on Champions League places makes such lofty ambitions less realistic for Wolves, but last season's Championship winner is at least better resourced than Paul Jewell's Wigan Athletic (16 points), who settled into an admirable 10th in 2005-06.

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Dennis Irwin, Gary Pallister of Manchester United and Stan Collymore of Nottingham Forest in action during an FA Carling Premiership match at Old Trafford.   -  AntonWant/Allsport

 

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Wolves' ease of adjustment, squad strength and Nuno's shrewd stewardship suggests a mid-table finish is perhaps the worst-case scenario.

The Juninho-inspired Middlesbrough side of 1995-96 that quickly accrued 15 points serves as a reasonable model for the manner in which Wolves could believably fall away, the Teessiders winning just seven of their remaining 30 matches on the way to finishing 12th.

Less likely is the kind of dramatic freefall that took Hull City to the brink of relegation in 2008-09, its maiden Premier League campaign.

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Memorable away upsets of Arsenal and Tottenham made for a feel good return of 17 points in eight games, but two victories beyond October left Phil Brown's men breathing a huge sigh of relief when they ended the campaign a solitary point above the drop zone.

It seems a remote chance that the well-organised Wolves will plummet at any stage this season, but all options are in play after an excellent beginning.