It was a tale of two halves at Villa Park for Wolves as they failed to capitalise on an excellent first-half display and conceded a late equaliser at the hands of their West Midlands rivals. Wolves started the better side and their early dominance was rewarded after only 12 minutes when Daniel Podence’s left-footed strike rounded off an excellent move to break the deadlock. Wolves could consider themselves unlucky to not be ahead by more at the break but their lack of end-product was ultimately punished as Villa were the better side in the second half and eventually broke down a stubborn Wolves defence.
An uncharacteristically erratic performance from Wolves’ number one. The Portuguese international commanded his area in predictably dominant fashion but his distribution left a lot to be desired. His unfortunate slip also meant that Danny Ings was met with little to no resistance as the Villa forward slotted home the equaliser.
A steady performance from the full-back who has yet to find any real consistency in his performances this season. He limited Emiliano Buendia’s involvement down the right-hand side and provided the width early on as Wolves dominated proceedings in the first half. His contribution dwindled in the second half as Wolves lost control of the game, but he remained reliable defensively.
One of his better performances in a Wolves shirt. Collins dealt with the aerial onslaught in the second half with ease and was composed on the ball when in possession. The 21-year-old has received some warranted criticism since his £20.5 million transfer in the summer but his performances in the last week have only reinforced the notion that Collins is an excellent young centre-half waiting to be unleashed given the right guidance.
An all-round top centre-back display was typified by an incredible headed goal-line clearance that denied Ludwig Augustinsson’s left-footed volley which seemed destined for the back of the net. According to SofaScore, the 25-year-old made 11 clearances, the most of anyone on the pitch.
Bueno continues to buck the trend that youngsters need ample first-team experience in order to provide consistent performances. The 20-year-old Spaniard has arguably been Wolves’ most consistent performer since his debut back in October and another solid performance against Villa will have done his chances of cementing his spot as the starting left back no harm at all.
It has been a difficult start to life at Molineux for the dynamic midfielder but in recent weeks the Portuguese international has started to show exactly why Wolves spent a then-club record fee to acquire his services. Under caretaker boss Steve Davis, Matheus was consistently played out of position and used almost as another forward option which made his press-resistant drives from deep completely redundant. There are few better sites in football than watching Nunes receiving the ball on the half turn before skipping past a few challenges and turning defence into attack in a heartbeat. He should have potentially added a second first-half goal but was denied by the onrushing Emi Martinez. Another fine performance.
A decent performance from the Wolves captain. A fantastic passer of the ball but his ability to stop and disrupt others often goes unnoticed. The Portuguese international did an excellent job of suffocating the Villa midfield in the first half as Wolves won the ball high up the pitch numerous times.
Moutinho has played some of his best football of the season in recent weeks and his fine form continued as he added another assist to his tally. It was the same combination of Moutinho and Podence that provided Wolves’ last goal away at Everton and the pair linked up again tonight to break the deadlock.
Provided an abundance of energy and dynamism on and off the ball. But, he did not take enough risks in the final third and even on the few occasions when he did, a lack of end product let him down.
There is no questioning Costa’s commitment to the cause. He has been, by all accounts, a welcome addition to the squad but as these games continue to pass him by without any real involvement, it is clear to see the Costa of yesteryear is simply not there anymore and I would expect the former Chelsea striker to drop out of the starting line-up once Cunha is fully integrated into the squad.
It is no secret that Podence is Wolves’ most dangerous attacking outlet, but the little maestro is as equally capable of frustrating as he is of producing a moment of magic. Fortunately for Wolves, it was the latter on this occasion and for the second time in three matches, Podence combined beautifully with his compatriot, Moutinho, to open the scoring. Wolves really struggled to replicate their build-up patterns once he has withdrawn at half time and the drop-off in quality in the final third was noticeable. Hopefully, it was only a precaution to take him off and he will be back available for the next round of fixtures.
Adama Traoré 45′ (Podence)
Simply could not replicate the work Podence had done in the first half and there was a clear drop-off in Wolves’ ability to play out from the back without Podence coming deep to link play. There is no doubt that Traore can be a real nuisance for opposition defenders, but he did not do anywhere enough tonight to warrant a place in the starting eleven moving forward.
Rayan Aït-Nouri 60′ (Hwang Hee-chan)
Another excellent cameo for the left-back. He almost won it for Wolves at the death with an incredible solo effort, but Emi Martinez denied him what would have been his third goal in four games.
Joe Hodge 60′ (Moutinho)
Lacked a bit of composure on the ball and Wolves lost a bit of control in the midfield once Moutinho went off but Hodge did provide plenty of energy to harry and close down.
Matheus Cunha 65′ (Costa)
The much-anticipated debut for Cunha did not quite live up to the lofty expectations as the versatile forward was introduced into the game at a point where Wolves had little to no control but the Brazilian international did win the ball back on multiple occasions which created a few near chances. A lot of positives to take from a short cameo appearance from the bench.