Wolves kicked off their pre-season tour of Alicante in scintillating style as they blew away Deportivo Alavés 4-0. The Spanish heat complimented their red hot performance as they took the lead through a Raul Jimenez penalty, won excellently by Pedro Neto. Neto then combined well with standout performer Morgan Gibbs-White and finished well for the second. Podence scored an unlikely header early into the second half, and the rout was finished off by an outstanding solo goal from Max Kilman.
Let’s take a look at the key player ratings from the match.
Unfortunately for Šarkić his rating was limited simply because of how comfortable the defence were. The Montenegrin barely had a save to make except from a speculative effort in the second half which he palmed onto the post. What was encouraging was his comfort in possession. Not too dissimilarly to Jose Sa, he offered a useful outlet for Wolves to play out from the back and picked his passes well. He did all you could have asked from him and kept a clean sheet.
As consistent as ever from the Spaniard. Moreso a threat in the second half with a surprising number of central runs, similar to Joao Cancelo at Manchester City, and of course set up the third goal with a delightful floated cross. Was a calm presence in defence and showed great energy to last the majority of the game before being replaced by Dexter Lembikisa.
Like his full-back counterpart, Ait-Nouri provided some much-needed energy and direct play. His aggressive play going forward helped create constant overloads which Alaves simply could not cope with. He was not involved in the goals to the same extent as Jonny but was a beneficiary of this new attacking system. Solid defensively aswell, as he rarely got beaten.
A respectable showing from the club captain. There were a couple of shaky moments in the first half where he put Šarkić in trouble with some misplaced passes across the box, but apart from that, it was a confident and commanding performance. Did not look out of place in a back four which is a good sign for his chances this season. His comfort in possession still plays into the system well.
A performance more reminiscent of a prime Willy Boly. He won virtually every header needed and got Wolves out of some tight spots with his passing range. Some good reading of the game throughout to keep the side moving at a consistent pace. An encouraging game after injury and covid troubles for the Ivorian.
What a delight this man is. Playing in a deeper playmaker role in the starting midfield three, Neves was allowed to use his intelligence to pull off some wonderful passes to the wingers. Worked well in a defensive sense too with some important tackles for ball retention. Also set up the penalty with a sumptuous pass to Neto before the winger was hacked to the ground. A metronome that never stops ticking. Pure football joy again from the Portuguese maestro.
A more advanced role for the 36-year-old in this game, and it suited him down to the ground. His passing vision and ability to retain the ball were a breath of fresh air higher up the pitch. Almost set up Gibbs-White for a goal in the first half with an unbelievable defence-splitting pass which was slightly overhit. Still has plenty to offer at his age and his talents were well utilised here.
Was perhaps the least effective of the midfield trio in this one. Got on the ball a few times but failed to really stamp any authority on the game. Could have scored with an effort in the penalty area which was well saved. Got booked later in the half and appeared to begin to lose his cool, possibly a reason he was hooked at half-time.
Another standout performer. Gibbs-White showed why he was so successful at Sheffield United last season. Excellent movement and link-up play with Jimenez and Neto and offered Wolves an option in midfield that could find spaces and drive with the ball. He is the player fans have been crying out for. Assisted the second goal and was a constant threat throughout the game. Got a big reception when taken off and rightly so.
Like Gibbs-White, Neto’s return to the side has been a huge positive before the start of the season. He showed his quality again with constant drive on the ball and an eagerness to create chances. An excellent run before he was brought down for the penalty and of course brilliantly finished off Wolves’ second goal after combining with Gibbs-White. Those two players could be a partnership we needed. A great first game of this tour for the young winger.
A strong performance more akin to the Raul of old. Some tidy bits interchanging play with the wingers and showed more energy than he did in the latter half of last season. Not afraid to have a shot and got his goal from the penalty spot. An extra point added on for his celebration.
Came on for Dendoncker as Wolves switched to a 4-2-3-1 and was a joy to watch. Started off the half with some great touches in the central areas and looked to create something every time he got on the ball. Scored the most unlikely of headers in front of two centre-backs and could have had a second goal later in the half. His agility and directness will be crucial you feel.
Maximilian Maradona. Much has been made of Kilman’s ability on the ball and ‘many’ futsal puns later he’s truly shown off what he threatened to do last season. An outrageous solo goal running from midway inside the Wolves half, beating several defenders and placing his shot in off the post. A composed performance defensively too to round off a flawless 45 minutes. So much promise about this lad and deserving of a full match rating (the goal certainly added some extra points, it’s pre-season why not).
A mixed evening for the young Canadian. Had a slow start with some poor ball control but grew into the contest as it went on. Made some well-timed runs and showed glimpses of what he can do on the ball with some impressive dribbling runs. Maybe should have scored a good chance from around 12 yards but we’ll chalk it off to lack of experience.
Other subs: Dexter Lembikisa, Joe Hodge, Harvey Griffiths, Luke Cundle, Toti Gomes, Chem Campbell