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’ next competitive fixture isn’t for over a week, but manager Nuno Santo is left with a particular dilemma that’ll remain until that very game passes.
Willy Boly was stupidly sent off in their defeat against Everton last weekend.
With the game only having seconds remaining, the 28-year-old shoved Richarlison off the pitch and duly received his second yellow of the match, meaning he will be a guaranteed absence in nine days.
The west Midlands club have leaked eight goals in their last four matches across both domestic and European competitions, meaning whoever does come in for Boly could certainly stake a claim on why he should be playing more regularly.
Nuno has merely a few options.
Boly is one of those, and his towering 6 foot 5 presence is going to be a monumental miss at the back as he is averaging 5.5 aerial duels won per match as well as the highest rating in the squad at 7.36, per WhoScored.
One option could be Romain Saiss, who has primarily been deployed as a defensive midfielder in the old gold shirt, but he’s just as adept at dropping into defence.
He’s been a regular in the Europa League, contributing to both clean sheets against Pyunik and his first Premier League start of the season garnered a goal against Everton – making his physical presence well known.
The other option may lie in a youngster – maybe Max Kilman. Nuno has been training him in the mould of club captain Conor Coady and his only appearance of the season saw him register a clean sheet. It still may be too soon for him, however.
Jesus Vallejo could become the most likely candidate, even though he is yet to feature in the league. The 6-foot defender played the full 90 minutes in three straight Europa League matches and should be ready to come in against Chelsea.
Following his debut at the club, his manager said:
“They were brilliant. We know the quality that Max and Jesus have – Jesus has come in from Real Madrid, and you know he’s a top, top player, but I think the way they fitted into the shape and the system was the most impressive thing.”
That’s as glowing a remark as you’ll get to suggest why the 22-year-old is ready to start against Chelsea.
Also, Adama Traore has been solid proof of why form outside of the Premier League can be trusted, so it’s about time they allowed his fellow countryman to show his worth.