This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Wolverhampton Wanderers face a tough week as they host two massive games at Molineux.
Up first is a Europa League test in Slovan Bratislava, where they can put one foot in the next round with a victory, before the small matter of their local rivals Aston Villa in the Premier League just weeks after being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by them.
Last time out, Nuno Santo’s men secured a point against Arsenal thanks to Raul Jimenez’s second-half goal, meaning the west Midlanders are now six games unbeaten in the top-flight.
Though, they still only occupy 12th position.
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An emerging trend continued to rumble on down in North London on Saturday as once again, Wolves needed late heroics to earn some form of result.
That’s the third time this season alone that the Mexican striker has salvaged a point for his side – against Southampton and Burnley are the two other occasions.
Wolves start games far too slow, which is only emphasised when comparing them to the rest of the league.
If matches finished at half-time, the west Midlands club would be in the relegation zone with just one win to their name – the importance of starting strongly can be seen with Liverpool, who top the charts for first-half performance with them being six points clear in the regular standings.
Recently, there was a three-game spell where Nuno set out his side in a 3-5-2 formation before changing it to a 3-4-3 at half-time, and it paid dividends, coming from behind to beat Slovan Bratislava and to clinch points against Newcastle United and as mentioned already, Southampton.
Nuno clearly has an ability to change a game when it is going wrong – for second-half performance alone, they rank inside the top four alongside Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leicester City.
That is a sheer contrast from basically relegation form to contending for the Champions League, but merely across two different halves of football.
The Portuguese boss needs to resolve this trend soon because there will become a point where his tactical magic tricks will either not pay off, or they’ll be too far behind in a game to even mount a comeback.
Maybe he should just run that second-half system from the start more often. It makes much more sense.