Raul Jimenez
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on March 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

The first season in the top flight of English football is often one of adjustments and struggles. This usually proves true for both incoming players and teams who’ve earned promotion to the Premier League. However, striker Raul Jimenez and Wolverhampton Wanderers have thrived, and continue exceeding expectations. Wolves sit at 12-10-8 in seventh place with 44 points. The Mexico international attacker has been a huge factor in the newly promoted side’s climb to the top half of the Premier League table.

Raul Jimenez; Thriving in Debut Premier League Season

Perfect Start

He arrived from Benfica in the summer, after having played sporadically for the Portuguese side over the last three seasons. The big, versatile striker netted 17 goals to pair with nine assists in 68 total appearances with the club. He represented his country over the summer, twice coming on as a substitute for Mexico during the World Cup.

Raul Jimenez didn’t wait long to make an impact for his new club. He scored a late equalizer in the season opener, as he and the club announced their intentions early. The striker scored twice and assisted three times as Wolves began the campaign on an eight-game unbeaten run.

Promising Returns

Raul Jimenez has been producing at a high rate all season. He is one of six players to rank in the Premier league’s top 11 in both goals and assists. His 12 goals top the squad, while fellow Wolves newcomer Joao Moutinho has one more assist with seven. He has not only shown to be a solid finisher at this level, but his vision, passing, and work rate without the ball has endeared him to his teammates. Jimenez quickly established himself as the leader of the front line, and someone this club can rely on in the attack.

The jump from the Championship to the Premier League is sometimes a tricky one to manage. Keeping a squad intact upon promotion could be good for chemistry, but the talent gap may be too great. Bringing in a multitude of players to account for the rising level of competition can also backfire if the squad doesn’t gel.

Wolverhampton decided to bring in new players for their promoted season, Jimenez being one of six signings to join. Nuno Espirito Santo has done a brilliant job integrating the new talent with his Championship-winning side of a season ago. They began the season strong, and have remained comfortable in the top half of the table all season. Wolves have even garnered ten points against the league’s top six.

All About the Finish

For a striker at this level, it is all about finishing. The Mexican international has been in impressive form lately, with six goals and two assists over the last eight contests. It is no coincidence that Wolves have four wins and only one defeat in that stretch.

They have only lost one match in which Raul Jimenez has scored. When their striker is finding the net, the club is usually taking home points. They are one point ahead of eighth-place Watford. It would be a remarkable achievement to move from the Championship to a European competition in one season, and Wolves are on the brink of just that.

With eight matches left, a strong finish could see the club from the West Midlands in the Europa League next season. Strong finishes are just the reason Raul Jimenez was brought in.

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