Wolves 4-0 Pyunik
(8-0 on aggregate)
Goals: Pedro Neto (£5.0m), Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.0m), Rúben Vinagre (£4.5m), Diogo Jota (£6.5m)
Assists: Patrick Cutrone x2 (£6.0m), Neto, Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m)
Owners of the key Wolves assets were delighted by the outcome of Thursday night’s win over Pyunik.
With the first leg already won by a 4-0 score-line, Nuno Espirito Santo was able to make nine changes to the side that drew with Leicester in Gameweek 1.
The ever-present Conor Coady (£5.0m) kept his place at centre-back while Joao Moutinho (£5.5m) featured in the central midfield trio.
That meant that Diogo Jota (£6.5m) and Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) were handed all-important rests before Wolves host Manchester United on Monday night in Gameweek 2.
The fact that nine of the Nuno’s first-team players did not start against Pyunik should also dispel any suggestions that Wolves will be tired when the Red Devils arrive at Molineux.
They had an excellent record against the top six last season and with many of the key individuals getting a break of seven days they should be refreshed and ready for the big game.
“I am pleased with all the team. Everybody did a very good job. They’ve got to keep on going, keep working. We have a small squad, so all the help is good.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Admittedly, Jota, Jiménez and budget midfielder Leander Dendoncker (£4.5m) came on in the second half, the latter registering 38 minutes and the two forwards 18 each.
However, these spells on the pitch can definitely be classed as ‘effective rests’ as the tie was already over when they came on, Wolves’ 3-0 up on the night and 7-0 on aggregate.
Jota and Jiménez’s owners were also treated to a taster of what the pair are capable of in the 87th minute.
The Portuguese forward played a pass into his Mexican colleague, who lofted a chipped bass back to him over a defender. Jota then fired the ball into the net with a spectacular bicycle kick.
Simply outrageous.— Wolves (@Wolves) August 15, 2019
That was in stark contrast to his disappointing display against Leicester, where he got into good positions but couldn’t find the
However, the fact that he has looked dangerous in his last two matches should encourage his owners ahead of Gameweek 2, especially considering Wolves’ record against Manchester United.
As already mentioned, the fact that the key Wolves players were able to get welcome rests was down to Nuno’s largely second-string side taking control of the tie, especially in the second half.
His summer signings Patrick Cutrone (£6.0m), Pedro Neto (£5.0m) and Jesus Vallejo (£5.0m) demonstrated that the Wolves boss now has better strength-in-depth than he did last season.
The latter was deployed alongside Coady and youngster Max Kilman (£4.0m) in the back-three, while Rúben Vinagre (£4.5m) and Adama Traoré (£5.0m) were the wing-backs.
Moutinho was joined in the central midfield trio by the versatile Romain Saïss (£4.5m) and Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.0m) while Cutrone and FPL midfielder Neto were the two centre-forwards in the 3-5-2 system.
After a relatively tight first half, those two strikers combined for the first goal in the 54th minute.
A ball over the top unleashed Cutrone running down the right-wing, who controlled it with an excellent first touch. His cross was perfectly weighted for Neto to crash home from inside the six-yard box.
The second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first, coming from the left side of the pitch instead.
This time it was Neto who pushed out wide, after a ball from Gibbs-White. The forward then threaded a pass across goal for the promising midfielder to convert.
Traoré was the next Wolves player to cause problems down the right. Using his pace to get away from the defence on the right, his ball across the face of goal was flicked on by Cutrone, allowing Vinagre to arrive late in the box and stab home.
“It was good, but because of the shape, the boys play organised and some mistakes and some adjustments were required. After they felt this first impact, they did very good work. They’ve played many times together in training sessions, many hours together.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-5-2): Ruddy; Kilman, Coady, Vallejo; Vinagre, Saïss, Gibbs-White, Moutinho (Dendoncker 52′), Traoré; Cutrone (Jiménez 72′), Neto (D Jota 72′).
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea