LIAM BERRY TALKS THE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM WOLVES V BRIGHTON
Wolves fell to another disappointing defeat, after what was a very action-packed game at the Molineux.
Wolves hit back from conceding early to get themselves 2-1 up after goals from Goncalo Guedes and another penalty for Ruben Neves. However this was cancelled out by a goal from Mitoma before the break.
There was still time for another piece of first half drama when Nelson Semedo was dismissed from the field after denying a goal-scoring opportunity, throwing a spanner in the works for Wolves, and it ended up costing a point as Brighton’s Pascal Gross scored the winner in the final ten minutes.
Let’s take a look at what we have learned from this fixture:
1. FULL-BACK CRISIS
Going into the season, the full-back department was thought to be fairly strong. However, so far this season, it has become clear that we have a serious problem regarding the position.
Semedo was given the nod over Jonny Otto for the Brighton game, and he was far from his best. Winger Mitoma was seeming to get the better of him every time he was on the ball, he beat him to the header for Brighton’s second goal, and Semedo’s poor performance was capped off with a red card on the stroke of half-time.
Jonny was brought on to fill the void, replacing Daniel Podence as the team regrouped down to ten men, but he was not the greatest either. It’s bizarre to look at how Jonny was last season to now in terms of a drop in form. He clearly has not adapted to this quick-paced and far more demanding system, and maybe he suits a five-at-the-back better.
You would have thought Semedo and Jonny would have been a really strong pair of options at full back, particularly with Jonny able to operate on the left, but both have been out of form. Hopefully playing again under Julen Lopetegui will make a positive difference for Jonny but, whatever the plans in the winter window, this has got to be near the top of the list of requirements.
2. GUEDES MAGNIFICENT
A positive to take from this game is Goncalo Guedes.
It was so refreshing to see a player given to ball on the wing, and drive at goal. Too many times we see a player cross it from those situations and an attack come to nothing, but Guedes saw his chance and got his goal after a fine pass from Boubacar Traore, one that reminded me a bit of Diogo Jota’s time at Molineux.
Not only this but he looked like a real threat throughout the game, and was a very exciting sight to see. That standing ovation he received as he walked around the pitch after being substituted should do his confidence a lot of good as well.
Now let’s not get carried away, as it is only one performance, but if he can produce standards like this more often, he will be a serious player under the new manager, and it gives us a glimpse of the talent that he can be.
3. JULEN LOPETEGUI
Speaking of the new manager, I think it’s fitting to mention the fact that on Saturday morning, Wolves announced that Julen Lopetegui is the new head coach after sacking Bruno Lage around a month back.
This has obviously lifted spirits, and maybe we saw a bit of a sign of things to come with how Wolves played. For example, the two centre-midfielders Traore and Joao Moutinho were playing far higher up the pitch whilst out of possession, fitting the bill of the former Real Madrid manager.
Maybe Steve Davis is prepping the team for his arrival – who knows – but it will be exciting to see what Lopetegui can do with these set of players. He’s a very experienced coach, and with the squad looking like one of the best the club has ever had on paper, hopefully he can bring a different side to the team and help bring about a climb in the table.
4. CAPTAIN STRIKES AGAIN
Neves scored Wolves’ second of the day, with a calmly taken penalty.
That is his fourth of the season, 50% of the total Wolves have scored so far in the Premier League, whilst only being two off the club’s top goalscorer of the previous campaign.
It’s clear that Neves has added goals to his game this season, and it’s good that he has, because without his contributions Wolves would lose four points to their tally, which would make them rock bottom. We can see how well he is still playing despite any disappointment about not getting a move in the summer, and how much Wolves means to him, whatever happens in the future. Being so deadly from the penalty spot is also crucial as we finally seem to be getting a few spot kicks awarded!
5. RELEGATION FORM
Now 14 games into the campaign, Wolves have won two, drawn four, and lost eight. It’s not a great record.
This is clear relegation form, which, even with the disappointing end to last season, it’s a start that very few would have been able to predict. Going back to last season we have taken 12 points from the last 21 games, which is a big downward spiral after what had gone before. And maybe some of the players have had a loss in confidence which is perhaps inevitable when you are losing so many games.
I feel like its every week I say this, but they really need to pick up this form and get some points on the table, or it will be a scrappy battle at the bottom when we return after the World Cup. Over the last few years we have done better against some of the big teams, so just maybe we can spring a shock against Arsenal after the cup tie against Leeds. Either way, Lopetegui certainly has a job on his hands and I’m not sure he will have faced a relegation battle like this in his career before. But he has a great track record and is probably the best manager we could have hoped for so we have to believe that he will bring about an improvement in the second half of the season.
ARTICLE BY LIAM BERRY
I am a life long Wolves fan that is passionate for the club. I am a sixth form student who loves writing about things I love!