Whenever Wolves have taken a step forward this season, it’s traditionally then meant they take another giant leap backwards.
Nuno Santo’s men had, up until this season, defined the very essence of consistency since he took over.
They were promoted from the Championship and have established themselves among the best of the rest in the Premier League.
This term, however, has been a complete write-off. Injuries have pillaged them severely and they lie in the bottom half of the table having shown no consistency at all.
The win over Brighton a couple of weeks ago felt like a turning point. Nuno had looked towards the future and when picking his most inexperienced XI of the campaign, his side won 2-1.
Though, since that victory, they’ve lost consecutive games to Tottenham and Everton. These are the types of matches that Nuno’s men usually thrive in but to coin an old phrase, they already look as though they’re on the beach.
That’s especially the case for Joao Moutinho, a man who will be dreaming of lifting the European Championships this summer.
He will have to perform better for Portugal than he’s done for Wolves during 2020/21 because at the moment, the midfielder looks past his best.
Towards the beginning of the year, Wolves reporter Tim Spiers commented that this could his final campaign as a regular starter at Molineux.
It was an intriguing argument but judging by his performance against Everton, he has a very valid point.
Moutinho is a player who has always oozed class but at Goodison Park on Wednesday, he endured an average display in the middle of the park as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat.
This display was anything but classy as the Portuguese surrendered possession of the ball on 21 occasions. This is an alarming number of times for a player who is usually so calm and composed.
For instance, he has only lost the ball on average 9.7 times per match. His performance was extraordinarily out of character.
The £100k-per-week earner’s passing was also slightly down on what we’ve come to expect from him. Often the creative heartbeat of this Wolves team, he completed just 82%, lower than his 88% average throughout the term.
Moutinho did provide three key passes but he showed his age when he was dribbled past on two occasions during an Everton attack.
On this evidence, Nuno can certainly find better options to fill his midfield.
After all, they do have Moutinho 2.0 lying in wait if they choose to exercise the option to buy in Vitinha’s loan contract.
Having been given a platform to earn more starts towards the end of the season, the youngster has finally demonstrated how impressive he can be at the elite level.