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1. We were better than expected 

There was an air of collective acceptance that this was going to be a difficult day at the office. You can lose to Aston Villa away even at full strength, with Wolves struggling to field a senior eleven, the outcome of the game felt like an inevitability rather than a genuine contest. The game however was a lot closer than many anticipated, whilst the result met with expectations, not many would have had Wolves down as having more possession, more shots and a better xg than the favoured hosts. Considering the absentee’s and makeshift look of the team, there was a lot to be pleased by despite the final outcome. 


2. Luck not on our side 

Key moments went against us. Villa rarely threatened and both goals had elements of fortune or misfortune about them depending on your perspective. Villa’s first goal was well struck but deflections in a build up happened to fall to the person with the most space in the whole of Villa Park. The ball then manages to find the smallest space possible to not be blocked, deflected or saved. Villa’s second goal was a freak. A miss-hit cross that managed to loop and spin into the far corner. A strike Ariel Ortega in his prime may have tried deliberately, but there was no doubting that this was a poorly hit attempted cross that killed the game as a contest. Villa didn’t create much else of note, sometimes you get the rub, sometimes you don’t. 


3. RAYAN AIT-NOURI  has to score 

In a game where chances were always going to be fairly few and far between, when you have a whole goal to aim it when in the six yard box, you must must score. The strike was well saved and Martinez deserves some credit, and he has made better saves in far more important circumstances. The truth here though is that he shouldn’t have been given any chance. The phrase, goal gaping has probably fewer better examples than this one. It was the culmination of a very good start to the game for Wolves which deserved a goal. You could see on the players faces that they felt this was a big moment and once spurned, belief began to drain. It was perhaps the games biggest moment, an opportunity that would probably be taken more often in reality than the 0.64 xg awarded. When you are short of strikers and chances, this simply has to go in. Rayan Ait-Nouri knew it, the players knew it, the manager knew it and the fans knew it. What a terrific season he has had though, it is hard to hold any blame to a player whose pirouettes and fast feet bring so much pleasure. 


4. Missing the X factor(s)

Wolves are a good side with good players, but that is not enough at this level. The spicy seasoning is not something that is nice to have, it is mandatory for any team wishing to win games regularly in the Premier League. Without Cunha and Neto, Wolves are solid not spectacular. Organised but predictable. A butter knife on a tough steak, it will get the job done in the end but its going to need a lot of effort. It’s not just the loss of Neto and Cunha but the lack or reasonable replacements. Young players are being thrown in (and you could argue that there is no better time to do so), but depth is a well discussed issue that continues to dominate the narrative. Wolves have been unlucky in losing their whole first choice forward line (and then some) at once, but it is hard to not at least acknowledge that this has been to an extent, by design. A risk that was known and a gamble that has not paid off. The merits of that decision can be argued, Wolves are safe, this is the improbable worst case scenario. The board’s decision to go with what they had is frustrating, but is to an extent understandable. 


5. Lemina being wasted 

The added kicker to the injuries Wolves have sustained is that they have had to move other players from their preferred position to compensate. Lemina has been one of the Premier leagues best performing centre midfielders. Moving Lemina to a quasi left-winger when in such good form is an obvious waste. Everyone understands the necessity, but it has worsened Wolves in two areas not one. With Cunha expected to return shortly, Wolves will feel like it will bring a double benefit to what has been a dual hit.


6. It felt a bit end of season already

A defeat to Burnley later in the week, would see the end to any European ambition that might still be dimly burning. The substitutions made by O’Neil and the reluctance to field an almost fit Cunha probably showed where the manager thought he was most likely to pick up points over the Easter period. Wolves will need to be careful, they need to continue to press or waste what has been a fantastic but demanding season. The players deserve more than to find themselves in an 8 game coast on auto-pilot. That would be hard to navigate should they not manage to beat Burnley at a ground that has proven problematic over previous seasons. Maybe it was the collective acceptance of defeat before the game with Villa even started, that made this one slightly easier to take than other defeats. By the end of this game though, it was hard to not start thinking of the sandy beaches. 

Dave Porter, Always Wolves Fan TV


Wolverhampton born, East Sussex based supporter. Old enough to have seen the descent to the bottom, young enough to not have experienced the days my friend. Not many Wolves fans to celebrate or commiserate with round these parts, so had to find an outlet to discuss the enormous highs, crushing lows and share the frustrations that only come with following Wolves.  

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