Wolves came down to earth with a bump against Huddersfield on Sunday. After going so close to winning at Arsenal in the last game, the throngs turned up at Molineux looking for Wolves to get three points against the bottom of the table team. But doing well against a good team, and putting away a lesser team are two different matters, and Wolves fell short on the day.
We need to give credit to Huddersfield who didn’t look like a struggling team in this game. Billing, Mooy and Pritchard were the best three players on the field and made some much more expensive players on the home team look very average. Getting an early goal was certainly a big help to the Yorkshire team, giving them something to hold on to. But in reality they weren’t holding on, in fact for most of the game they looked the team most likely to get the second goal, and that eventually came 15 minutes from the end.
Huddersfield closed Wolves down all over the field and the men in gold, or is it yellow, just couldn’t cope. Being rushed in possession caused so many passes to go astray it was hard to recall that this was the same team that have been playing such sparkling football for most of the last 18 months. And when we look at individual performances there were so many that gave their worst performance of the season.
Patricio 6 – mostly did ok but will have been disappointed the second goal crept in at the near post.
Bennett 6 – steadier than most but not his best game.
Coady 8 – the one Wolves player to come out of the game with credit.
Boly 4 – surely his worst game in Wolves colours. Won little in the air and looked ill at ease on the ground.
Doherty 4 – a rare lacklustre performance from the wing back who played his part in Huddersfield’s first and added little going forward.
Moutinho 5 – neat and tidy passes but many of them sidewards or backwards.
Neves 5 – gave the ball away as often as we have ever seen from him and couldn’t raise his game.
Vinagre 5 – one or two bright runs but looked a little nervy on his return to the team.
Costa 4 – made very little impact and can look lightweight when put under pressure.
Jiminez 6 – worked his socks off and very unlucky not to score with a header kicked off the line, but messed up one golden chance and doesn’t look to have many goals in him.
Cavaleiro 3 – taken off at half time having given the ball away a remarkable number of times
Gibbs White 6 – came on at halftime and did improve the midfield.
Traore 5 – his pace makes him look so dangerous but does run down many blind alleys, and goes to ground so often for a strong guy.
Jota 5 – maybe should have come on a little earlier after his confidence-boosting goals for the Portugal U21s and at least brought one save out of the keeper.
It’s been pretty much plain sailing for Nuno in his 18 months at the club, turning a championship team into one that has played with so much credit in the top flight. This was only the second time this season that Wolves have been outplayed, and maybe its more than a coincidence that the other also came after an international break. But this was a game where so many of the players that have been serving him well played below par, and having stayed loyal to a similar starting eleven all season, maybe the time has come to freshen things up. Starting positions for the likes of Gibbs White, Traore and Dendoncker have to be considered now, plus the return of Jota, who despite his lack of goals so far, is probably the most likely player at the club to hit the net on a regular basis.
With one point from the last 15 Wolves don’t just need a good performance, they need three points. And that has to be the target in the next game at Cardiff on Friday night, which has now become a game when fans and management will be looking for a positive reaction from the players that have been earning the support up to now.