It’s not often that we can find the evidence to criticise Wolves’ midfield.
Nuno Santo has some of the best depth in the Premier League in that position and houses a glittering array of international stars. From Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho to Leander Dendoncker and Romain Saiss, they are players you can traditionally rely on.
Add young American star Owen Otasowie into the equation and their options get even greater.
However, in 2020/21, we’ve seen a slight chink in the armour of Neves and now Moutinho. The former has looked a “shadow of the player we saw last season” according to reporter Alex Dicken, with the Portugal international being forced to play a cameo role from the bench in four outings this season.
Usually, Neves is one of the first names on the team sheet and the same can be said for Moutinho. Despite that, he’s also portrayed a shadow this season, specifically over the last month or so.
The Portuguese was brushed aside with relative ease when Liverpool battered Wolves 4-0 and after receiving a red card against Aston Villa, it just went from bad to worse.
The 35-year-old maestro has since struggled to find his feet after returning from suspension. He found life difficult against a physical Burnley midfield last week and lost possession 12 times. The likes of Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill rarely gave him time to settle and Moutinho was once again rather disappointing versus Spurs.
The £100k-a-week midfielder lost the ball 16 times on this occasion and also committed four fouls in what was a sloppy performance. His passing was still tidy – registering a success rate of 90% – but his lack of pace saw him caught out. Twice Moutinho was dribbled past with relative ease by Tottenham players.
With that performance in mind, should Nuno consider dropping him for the clash against United? Quite possibly. If the midfielder struggled against Spurs it’s likely he’d find like tough against the Red Devils’ energetic midfield too.
Leander Dendoncker needs to get his chance.