Wolves got their 2020/2021 Premier League season off to the perfect start on Monday night with a 2-0 victory at Bramall Lane over Sheffield United. Two goals from Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss in the first six minutes coupled with a resolute defensive display in the second half put the game beyond the Blades.
Was relatively untroubled during the game despite Sheffield United’s second half pressure. The timing and quality of his distribution was superb and has greatly improved since his first season at Molineux two seasons ago. 7/10.
Provided good defensive cover behind Traore and always looked comfortable, as the Molineux faithful have come to expect from the Frenchman. Was part of a cohesive and well drilled defensive unit. 7/10.
The England international looked at home on his old stomping ground. Wolves’ skipper was predictably accurate with his passing and made a great first half tackle as Oli McBurnie was striding forward. Coady is in the form of his life, and long may it continue. 8/10.
A standout performance from Saiss to start his fifth Wolves season. The Moroccan started the evening by heading home Pedro Neto’s corner on six minutes to score his first goal of 2020, and finished the game by heading McBurnie’s header off the line when Patricio was stranded to preserve Wolves’ clean sheet. It’s no exaggeration to say he could have had a hat trick, with another header being glanced just wide and a shot being tipped onto the post in the second half. With plenty of solid defensive work in addition, Saiss could not have wished for a better opener. Man of the match. 9/10.
One of very few concerns for Wolves will have been how Traore adapted to his new wing back role, with the Spaniard targeted in Sheffield United attacks. He also incurred the wrath of Saiss after giving away possession by committing his second foul throw of the evening midway through the first half. However, when moved further forward in the second period, Traore looked back to his usual self, beating defenders for fun and was unlucky not to score. An external replacement for Matt Doherty now seems a must for Wolves to ensure they can get the best out of one of their best players in his natural position. 7/10.
Played a superb pass to set away Podence for Wolves’ opener and, as per usual, his creativity and passing could not be faulted. Also provided a vital defensive presence. Moutinho was Wolves’ leading tackler last campaign and was only bettered by four players in the entire league. A vital cog in both defence and attack, despite his advancing years. 8/10.
Was a surprise selection over Ruben Neves in Wolves’ midfield but impressed with his usual high work rate. Despite giving the ball away a couple of times in the early stages, his physicality in midfield was invaluable as Nuno’s men held on to their advantage in the second half. A versatile option who will become even more useful as this packed campaign goes on. 7/10.
A very impressive debut in gold and black from the Brazilian, just 30 days after playing in a Champions League win against Wolves’ next opponents Manchester City. Marcal looked comfortable playing in a left wing back berth and offered plenty of stability, something that his direct rival in that position, Ruben Vinagre, has been lacking in recent appearances. Also picked up a late booking, something that his disciplinary record suggests may become a regular occurrence. 8/10.
Put in possibly his strongest performance in Wolves colours so far. Provided a sublime assist for the opener and was a constant out ball all game, drawing fouls to relieve pressure and beating players for fun. Since getting his first league start against Everton in July, Podence has barely put a foot wrong and has established himself as one of Wolves’ key players. His £16.9m January transfer fee already looks a bargain. 9/10.
There comes a time when you run out of superlatives about the Mexican, who will undoubtedly go down as one of the best strikers in Wolves’ history. He opened his and Wolves’ Premier League account with a sublime finish on the half volley into the top corner, which most strikers would have skied into row Z. Like Saiss, he could have scored more goals, but was a constant threat to the Sheffield United backline. On form like this he looks set to rival last season’s tally of 27. 9/10.
Made a superb dummy run to help create Jimenez’s opener and picked up a deserved assist when he supplied the corner for Saiss’ header. It’s easy to forget that Neto is just 20 years old, with the Portuguese looking more and more at home with every game he plays. Looks to have cemented the left wing spot over compatriot Jota for the opening games at least. 8/10.
Oskar Buur Rasmussen
Came on for his Premier League debut just before the 70 minute mark. Looked composed on the ball and was rarely troubled defensively. Looks a shoe-in for a start against Stoke on Thursday. 6/10.
A surprise omission from the starting XI. Added some composure to the midfield while Nuno looked to shore up the game. Would expect Wolves’ vice-captain to be reintroduced for next week’s game. 6/10.
Came on for his Wolves debut with five minutes to play. Was unable to show much of his attacking intent, but showed impressive work rate. 6/10.