This season has been a troubling one for Wolves; one that’s more or less been a product of Nuno Santo’s desire for further numbers in attack.
On paper, he was right to urge his side to be more attacking. That being said, moving from a system that’s been so successful for the best part of three years was a brave move.
In switching to a four-man defence, it didn’t provide them with much success, something testified by their position in the table of 12th place.
They have since reverted to a three-man defence again, and it’s providing better results.
That being said, their display at Villa Park on Saturday evening lacked a cutting edge. Plenty of chances went begging as the likes of Conor Coady and Romain Saiss spurned opportunities that looked easier to score.
Yet, the burden of scoring goals should not fall on the shoulders of Wolves’ defenders as it did versus Manchester City. Instead, they need more from their front line.
Adama Traore has been the very definition of enigmatic this term. In 2019/20, he was one of the most feared players in the top-flight. The Spaniard dazzled on his way to providing 13 goal contributions and amassing a truly ridiculous five dribbles per game.
Yet, this term, very much like Wolves, he has been disappointing. Traore hasn’t scored or assisted and his threat was incredibly minimal against Villa on Saturday.
The Midlands rivals played out a 0-0 draw with their wing sensation failing to have a positive impact on proceedings. Villa’s defenders got out to him quickly and prevented Traore from ever getting up to speed.
Indeed, Wolves reporter Tim Spiers claimed during the game that the forward “offered nowt” and the statistics provide plenty of evidence.
The 25-year-old was playing as an inverted winger on the left-hand side on this occasion but despite completing four dribbles, his end product deserted him. The Spain international failed to have a single shot at goal while all four of his crosses into the area evaded an Old Gold shirt.
A player like Traore will naturally lose the ball more often than not, but surrendering it on 15 occasions, as he did on Saturday, was incredibly poor when he offered very little elsewhere.
In total, the attacker played just 23 passes, one fewer than Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez. His tally was only worse than Willian Jose and Rui Patricio’s in the Wolves team.
If anything summed up Traore’s poor campaign, this was it. He struggled to get out of second gear and provided very little goal threat. In short, he let his manager down.
How Wolves lust for Raul Jimenez’s return.