Ruben Neves has been near untouchable when it’s come to criticism after joining Wolves. The club raised eyebrows when they were able to prize the midfielder away from Porto in 2017 and he’s more than lived up to expectations.
He was regularly among the goals for the Midlands club last season and set the Championship alight as Wolves romped to the league title.
But his performance against Watford in arguably the biggest game since he’s joined the club was questionable. This time it will have been raising eyebrows for the wrong reasons as the club were dumped out of the FA Cup in the semi-finals after their opposition sparked a remarkable comeback.
In recent matches, the Portuguese midfielder has arguably been worse than his midfield partners in Joao Moutinho and Leander Dendoncker. It suggests the club shouldn’t be as concerned as losing him as they may have been in the past when he attracted the interest of Juventus and Manchester City last year.
RUBEN NEVES (Watford vs Wolves)
69% pass success
0 key passes
2 shots off target
Stats courtesy of WhoScored
However, Watford demonstrated the perfect way of nullifying the 22-year-old. Javi Gracia played a midfield diamond which allowed the Hornets to essentially man mark Neves. This is exemplified in the fact that during the 86 minutes he was on the pitch, he only touched the ball 39 times.
When he did get on the ball he was hugely ineffective, possessing a poor pass completion rate, which is a rarity for someone usually so composed on the ball.
Wolves Fan TV place the blame for Wolves’ FA Cup semi-final collapse on John Ruddy in the video below…
Going forward he had no effect on the game, failing to make any key passes whilst the fact he failed to find the target with either of his two attempts on goal sums up his performance.
Neves may have come a long way since arriving in the Midlands, but this was one of his most disappointing displays in Nuno Santo’s team. If those huge clubs come calling once more with big sums of cash, it will be very hard to turn down if Neves doesn’t recover his previous form.