After a sickening last-minute equaliser from Burnley in the previous game and increasing pressure from teams below in the league, Nuno’s men were tasked with obtaining a vital win against Crystal Palace. Thanks to goals from Podence and Jonny, Wolves duly delivered on this with a 2-0 victory, in the final home game of the season.
Patricio, like previous games, did not have a great amount to deal with, courtesy of his own good work and the help from his defenders. He kept Palace at bay with any half-chances they had at his goal and also almost played provider with an absolute peach of a ball to Jimenez to launch a quick Wolves counter. Another clean sheet added, after an overall impressive season.
I was very impressed with Doherty, who had a solid performance from both a defending and attacking perspective. He did well to nullify the threat from Zaha with help from his new right-sided partner Dendoncker and also registered another assist (after a lovely give and go with Moutinho) with a deft ball across the box for Podence to nod in.
Dendoncker was a surprise draft back into the defence, but did not show any signs of losing his positional duties. He provided a very solid performance and also frustrated Zaha throughout the game. A player who has been in great form since the restart and has given Nuno a lot to think about for the final league game against Chelsea.
As normal, Coady was composing his backline effortlessly and helped keep the usually tricky Palace front line quiet. His awareness and reading of the game is something that is so impressive and after such a successful season, one could only hope that an England call up is imminent. His distribution was back to being on the money again, but this may be thanks to Doherty returning to the starting lineup.
Over the past few games, Boly has had a few hiccups and he almost allowed Palace a breakthrough after giving the ball away cheaply, but fortunately, this chance was not converted. He did not allow that to dictate his performance and improved as the tie went on and helped keep the game under control before Wolves solidified their lead.
There must have been something in the air on that left side of the pitch because like Boly, Jonny gave away possession needlessly in the first half. After the break, his performance took a drastic U-turn and he provided a real threat down that left side and showed a strikers instincts in the box to sweetly finish into the bottom right corner. His attacking abilities have significantly improved this season, another testament to Nuno and his coaching staff.
If Project Restart has shown anything, it’s that Neves can kick it with the bully-boy midfielders in the league. Another game where he got stuck in and showed good transition from defensive positions to attacking build-up. He and Moutinho struggled to get a foothold of the game in the first half, but as soon as the second half began, they dictated the tempo.
The vision of this man is just impeccable. Wolves were considerably off the boil in the first half, with Moutinho and Neves struggling to control the flow of the game, but the midfield stalwart decided to take matters into his own hands, by playing an absolutely delightful chipped ball to Doherty in the build up for the first goal. After this, he and Neves controlled the game and helped Wolves get one step closer to European qualification.
The impact Traore has on a game is just remarkable, the space he opens up when carrying the ball is worth just as much as the assists he also provides. He was a constant threat all game and when he has the ball, the opposition often puts 2 or 3 men on him, which was the case for the second goal when he steamrolled the Palace defenders (who tried to have a nibble at him in the process) and played the assist for the assist. One thing I’d like to see more from him though, is his composure in front of goal, but he really has come on leaps and bounds this season, long may it continue.
Very often the goal scorer, Jimenez played provider and overall link up man throughout the game. As he has done so well in the goalscoring department this season, it’s important to not overlook his general contributions to the team through this hard work and determination, which was shown when he chased lost causes throughout the game and made something out of nothing. He does this game after game and is integral to Wolves’ success.
Since he came into the team, it’s hard to find a reason why he was not introduced earlier, but all things happen for a reason (a la Dendoncker). Podence is electric and makes things happen, he was very good on the ball and was direct with it. He contributed enormously and registered his first goal (a header, oh the irony). He is not afraid to go toe to toe with bigger, more physical players. His vision and passing is also very impressive and gives food for thought for him being tried out in the centre attacking midfield position.
Showed brief glimpses of directness and desire, but it’s hard to see him coming back into the team at the moment, due to the good form of the other players around him. He may want to stay ready as there is a chance he could be drafted in should Jimenez’s partner give birth in close proximity to the Chelsea game.
Showed his normal desire to be on the ball and run at the Palace defence. Another great option to either start or bring off the bench.