This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Wolverhampton Wanderers have shown no signs of letting up as they have had to endure a whirlwind start to their 2019/20 season.
But that is merely a by-product of their impressive exploits which secured a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last term.
On Thursday night, Wolves played their fifth Europa League game of the season – and it isn’t even the group stages yet, not to mention it’s still August. In that time, they’ve had just two Premier League fixtures.
A 3-2 victory over quality opposition in Serie A side Torino, on their patch, shows just how well Nuno Santo’s men have adapted to such a quick flurry of matches to open their account.
The very same game saw Adama Traore keep hold of the right wing-back spot ahead of the injured Matt Doherty and after his last 100 minutes or so in that position it could be his to keep – even more so having been withdrawn with just under half an hour to go, possibly with Nuno having an eye on this weekend.
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Traore has undergone some sort of makeover during the offseason with the Portuguese boss seeing him as a wing-back rather than a winger, which he was at Middlesborough, or as a right-sided striker as he played last season for Wolves.
The fans have been raving about the change, the 23-year-old himself has embraced the role and we’re starting to see results because of it.
Against United, he performed three dribbles, had one shot and played a key pass, per WhoScored.
He assisted another goal on Thursday night and probably left Cristian Ansaldi, who has had a respectable career playing with Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, with a few recurring nightmares after his electric pace and trickery helped put in a scintillating showing.
He earned an 8/10 in Express & Star’s match ratings, as Tim Spiers hailed his football brain and end product.
The Spaniard has looked impressive further back and must surely have their regular long-serving stalwart Doherty under pressure. Having been at the club since 2010, he started 35 of their 38 Premier League games last season as his place was rarely threatened.
However, by performing as good as he has in the Europa League against their strongest opposition yet, Traore proved that the 45-minute cameo against Manchester United on Monday wasn’t a fluke or a one-off.
Instead, it can go down as the result of the hard work put in by the player himself as well as Nuno.
It’s a masterstroke that we must see more of.