Date: 20th August 2017 at 6:50pm
Written by:

Wolves lost their 100% record for the season as they were deservedly beaten by a Cardiff team that ‘did a job’ on them at Molineux on Saturday. The visitors set their stall out early to disrupt the fluent football that Wolves have shown in their opening games and they not only succeeded but also showed plenty of ability themselves.

Nuno selected the same team as he had in the previous three games;

Miranda, Coady, Boly
Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Douglas
Enobakhare, Bonatini, Jota

Cardiff pushed Wolves on to the back foot from the word go and a long throw was scrambled away in a crowded area. When Wolves tried to break, Jota was brought down, a sign of things to come. Enobakhare was showing some promise for Wolves and he set Saiss up for a shot that was badly mishit. But the visitors were looking the more likely and Hoilet brought a save out of Ruddy before Bamba headed against the bar from close range.

Enobakhare was the best of Wolves forward players and he beat a man before curling a shot just over. But Wolves were struggling to defend corners and Zohore wasn’t far wide when he prodded a loose ball goalwards.

The cynical side of Warnock’s tactics were there for all to see as Wolves players were continually being blocked on and off the ball and the referee was looking very weak as he failed to take any action, although he seemed to be getting very little help from his linesmen. Neves was felled by a virtual rugby tackle from Ralls that earned a yellow card and then Saiss received an elbow in the neck by Damour who was also booked.

The second half started in a similar vogue with Cardiff looking more like taking the lead. Hoilet hit one into the side netting before the visitors finally went ahead. Hoilet beat Miranda on the left and picked out Ralls near the penalty spot who turned the ball in.

Cavaleiro replaced Enobakhare but it was still the visitors doing the best attacking play and the impressive Zohore twice bought saves out of Ruddy with powerful drives. But just as we were thinking there was no way back for Wolves they found an equaliser. Cavaleiro hit a powerful shot that the keeper was only able to parry out. Jota picked up the loose ball on the right of the area and clipped a ball to the far post where Douglas hammered a volley across goal and Bonatine did well to adjust his feet quickly enough to turn in a fast travelling ball.

As we hoped the goal would lift Wolves on to victory Cardiff kept on doing most of the attacking with Zohore giving Miranda a torrid time on the left. But the decisive goal came from the other side as Mendez Laing cut in from the right and drilled a shot under Ruddy. Only one more chance for Wolves to save the game when sub Dicko got through on the left but with a number of players waiting for a cross he went for a near post shot and hit the side netting.

Ruddy 5 – struggled to dominate his area and will be disappointed that the low shot for the second goal went straight through him
Miranda 3 – really struggled against Hoilet and Zohore in the second half and was too easily beaten for the first goal.
Coady 6 – probably the steadiest of the back line on the day
Boly 6 – had some very good moments but missed a clearance in the move that eventually lead to the second goal
Doherty 6 – rarely able to get forward today as Cardiff nullified the threat of the wing backs effectively
Saiss 4 – not able to maintain the standards of the first three games and his passing was often wayward
Neves 7 – stood up to the aggressive tactics of the visitors as well as anyone and found a few of his trademark long passes
Douglas 5 – his least effective game so far but did set up the Wolves goal
Enobakhare 7 – Wolves brightest attacker in the first half
Bonatini 6 – took his goal well and played his part in trying to get Wolves going from an attacking sense
Jota 6 – got some rough treatment from the visitors but had some good moments
Cavaleiro 6 – had a decent 20 minutes and his long range shot eventually lead to the goal
Dicko 4 – got through the Cardiff defence once but shot from a narrow angle when he should have crossed
Ronan was the third sub late on

A disappointing day in front of another big Molineux crowd. Cardiff used their three attackers to push up on the three Wolves defenders to stop Wolves building from the back and their ‘competitve’ tactics in the middle of the park stopped Wolves getting any fluency into their game. We have seen enough in the first three games to show that Wolves are good enough to bounce back from this, but they will need to show and ability to win games of this nature to achieve their objectives.