Project Restart continued to be paying dividends for Nuno’s men after a 1-0 win against Aston Villa. Both teams had their own separate objectives for the match, albeit at opposite ends of the league table. Similar to Wolves’ previous two, the game was goalless at half time, but after the break, Wolves showed their cutting edge to take 3 points and a 3rd clean sheet in as many games.
Patricio continued to assert his authority in goal and commanded his area admirably. He has been one player who has really shone since the restart and his hard work has been rewarded through 3/3 clean sheets. He showed safe hands when a Grealish shot was fired at him and also took the initiative to palm away a dangerous free-kick that was launched into the box.
Doherty continued to show his confidence in both attacking and defending situations. He had some luck in the first half as the ball was deflected off a Villa leg and then ultimately found himself in a dangerous area in the box, only to hit the ball into the side netting. He performed well down the right to cause Villa problems and also neutralised any from a Villa attacking stance.
Boly defended well for the majority of the game and provided solidity at the back. Another clean sheet with him in the defence proves that this is no mere coincidence. He dealt well with the high-pressing Villa forwards, however, did have a slight scare in the second half when he fluffed his clearance, but showed real maturity to not dive in. If Wolves are to keep climbing the ladder, Boly is vital.
At times Coady struggled to deal with the physicality of Davis and Samatta, but for the most part, did well. The skipper continued to deliver his pinpoint long balls and was unlucky to not register an assist after a lovely defence-splitting pass through to Dendoncker. Coady controlled his backline superbly again and ensured that the team were well-positioned to block out any Villa danger.
A player that seems to be fitting the current Wolves narrative, starting slowly and then growing into the game. Saiss has been improving game on game and showed great discipline in his defensive performance. I’m sure he was made aware that he was on 9 yellow cards and thus did not act rash in any aspect of the game. Proving to be a solid player in the backline and forming good bonds with his defensive partners.
Vintage display from Jonny who was one of the standout players in the game. Dealt well with his defensive duties, but his attacking display was a sight to behold. Proved to be a thorn in Villa’s side and caused numerous problems down the left flank. Jonny was key in the build-up for the goal by Cruyff turning McGinn with ease and then did exceptionally well to control the venomous pass from Jimenez, to lay it off to Dendoncker for the finish. A man in real form.
An exceptional performance from Dendoncker and he justified Nuno’s decision for selecting him from the start. Busted an absolute gut during the game and was unlucky to not receive a through ball in the first half as he showed his grit and determination to make the movement. Showed his true quality after receiving the pass from Jonny to take the ball onto his left foot and finish sweetly. Even after the goal, Dendoncker was everywhere and showed a real man of the match performance. Quality.
Neves did well to help nullify the threat of the Villa danger man Grealish during the game and showed why he is such a key part of the Wolves team. Not only is he comfortable on the ball, he also does the dirty work off the ball which makes him such a complete midfielder. At times his passing was a bit off the standard he usually sets, but his overall performance was solid.
The midfield trio controlled the game in the centre of the park and who better to have in there than the stalwart Moutinho, a man who sets the bar on a weekly basis. Moutinho played his part in sounding out the marauding Grealish and showed vast experience towards the latter part of the game. He delivered some great set pieces as per usual and on another day would have been registering some assists to his name.
Jota has been one of the few Wolves players who seems to be struggling since Project Restart began, but it is not for want of trying. He is showing true signs of what he is capable of but is not delivering the results on the pitch. He spurned a great opportunity from a Nyland error but blazed his shot over the bar. Nuno’s faith in Jota does not seem to be diminishing, but with Neto and Podence waiting in the wings, the next few games will be crucial.
Jimenez showed once again why he is the complete Centre Forward. His game does not rely on just putting the ball in the back of the net as he showcased his playmaking skills. He fizzed a teasing ball across the six-yard box but unfortunately no-one was at the receiving end. He was also a key part of the goal as he provided the killer pass before the Jonny lay off to Dendoncker. He was unlucky to not score as he headed straight at the Villa keeper but his overall display for the team was vital in helping Wolves grab all 3 points.
It’s a true sign of how Traore instils fear in opposition defences, as the Villa backline were informing each other that he was coming on. Traore was allowed more freedom in his role as he directly replaced Jota and this was a masterstroke. The fact that every time he had the ball, Villa would put 2-3 men on him, allowed pockets of space to open up and was a key part of the build-up for the Wolves goal. Effective from the start and off the bench.
More of a cameo performance from Neto who came on for the last 5 minutes of the game, a few decent runs but nothing particular to note.