When you assess Wolves over the last few seasons, very rarely would you be able to fault their consistency.
However, the last few months have been torrid for Nuno Santo and his players. Following Raul Jimenez’s fractured skull, the Old Gold have won just two of their last nine outings. Clearly, change is needed.
Wolves’ performance against Everton lacked attacking threat, fluidity and most importantly, a solid defensive base.
One of the biggest reasons behind that was Nelson Semedo. A big transfer from Barcelona last summer, the Portuguese has rarely lived up to expectations.
Going forward, he is a ball of energy, but as he showed earlier this week he isn’t good enough defensively.
Semedo was given the run around by a vibrant Lucas Digne on Tuesday evening. The Wolves right-back endured a horrible night and as a result, it allowed the Everton defender to attempt as many as six crosses from the left flank.
Clearly, this wasn’t a good showing from the Wolves man because he was at fault for a goal too. He was caught out of position and thus, didn’t get tight enough to Digne. That allowed the left-back to put the ball on a plate for Alex Iwobi to score.
The sensible thing to do here is to drop Semedo. The 27-year-old may offer a lot in the final third, but Nuno’s team aren’t going to discover more consistency until they sharpen up defensively.
Consequently, young right-back Ki-Jana Hoever needs to deputise in defence on Saturday afternoon when they play West Brom.
The teenager is just 18 and only has one Premier League start under his belt, but he’s already shown in a big game this term that he has what it takes.
Hoever stood out at Old Trafford when Wolves suffered a late defeat to Manchester United, putting in an assured display next to club captain Conor Coady. Speaking at full-time, Birmingham Live reporter Alex Dicken claimed that he “didn’t put a foot wrong.”
Indeed, the Portuguese dealt with Marcus Rashford tremendously. The winger did eventually score but that was from the right-hand side, rather than the left.
Rashford was unsuccessful with five of his eight dribbles and didn’t supply a single cross. That was largely thanks to Hoever and Coady. The former won three tackles and six duels – the second most in the Wolves side for both statistics.
Described as a “fresh and potent” talent by Jeff Shi after signing from Liverpool, it’s that renewed freshness he alludes to that Wolves are longing for right now.
With Semedo putting in questionable displays defensively, Hoever simply has to start against the Baggies.