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Wolves boss Nuno Santo’s decision to rest Joao Moutinho proved costly against Everton

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Wolves’ run without a Premier League victory this season continued on Sunday as they were defeated 3-2 at Goodison Park.

An entertaining five-goal thriller was played out which ultimately handed Nuno Santo’s side their first defeat of the season, leaving them 17th in the table.

Richarlison scored both the opener and the winner whilst Romain Saiss, and Raul Jimenez netted for the visitors – Willy Boly was also sent off deep into stoppage time for an unnecessary challenge which earned him a second yellow card.

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The Portuguese boss made four changes to the side that defeated Torino in midweek to earn a place in the Europa League group stages.

Saiss, Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker were deployed in a three-man midfield in a move that looked somewhat defensive.

On the Chalkboard

Wolves were outplayed in pretty much every facet of the game with the scoreline flattering them slightly even despite the defeat.

Everton had more possession (58.8%), recorded more shots (15) and had a better pass success rate of 80%, per WhoScored.

The problem appeared to be in attack, where Joao Moutinho proved to be a disastrous absence.

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Wolves made just 108 passes in the final third, 80 less than Everton managed whilst their entire team could only muster five key balls, three of which came from the defence.

Moutinho is one of the best passers in Nuno’s side, averaging a success rate of 82.4% per game, higher than any other midfielder in the squad – he is also just one of two players to record an assist this season in the Premier League.

The 32-year-old also averages 1.8 key passes per match which is again the best in the team – considering an international break is on the horizon, it seems like it was the wrong decision to rest him for this game, especially as the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva are likely to be favoured over the 32-year-0ld.

Moutinho registered eight assists last term so it was hardly a surprise that they lacked creativity without him. This was a baffling call from Nuno.

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Article title: Wolves boss Nuno Santo’s decision to rest Joao Moutinho proved costly against Everton

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