Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth
- Goals: Raúl Jiménez (£8.2m)
- Assists: Adama Traoré (£5.8m)
- Bonus Points: Jiménez x3, Jonny x2 (£5.4m), Willy Boly x1 (£4.8m), Romain Saïss x1 (£4.6m)
Raúl Jiménez (£8.2m) highlighted his consistency once again as Wolves beat Bournemouth 1-0 but he was not at his usual scintillating best.
The Mexican was arguably on the periphery of Wednesday’s encounter as both sides struggled to offer much for the neutral viewers. While it was a surprisingly dull game, proceedings at Molineux were hardly out of step with other Gameweek 31+ fixtures around the country. Given the circumstances of the Premier League’s three-month lay-off, it makes sense that the midweek round of action would come too soon after Gameweek 30+ for many players to be at 100% capacity.
That said, despite Nuno Espirito Santo deploying him as the central spearhead of Wolves’ 3-4-3 formation, Jiménez found himself drifting wide on occasion at Molineux and, in the end, scored with his only shot of the game.
Will that be of huge concern to his 34.2% ownership with Aston Villa up next? Surely not. The best players in the world manage to score even when they’re having a bad game, right? Jiménez now has four goals in his last five league matches and remains one of the few undroppable options at Nuno’s disposal.
Just as we saw against West Ham, the Mexican stayed on the pitch for 90 minutes, replaced in stoppage time by Daniel Podence (£5.0m), while those around him had their minutes managed more significantly. With nobody else in the squad capable of replicating his duties, another short turnaround before Saturday’s Midlands derby is unlikely to affect Jiménez’s game-time, especially considering how well he has coped with a busy 12 months. There will also a be a full week of recovery for Wolves between their Gameweek 32+ and 33+ fixtures to sit at the back of Nuno’s mind.
Diogo Jota (£6.4m) made a second successive start and, despite another spirited run-out, was replaced by Pedro Neto (£5.0m) on the hour-mark with another blank. The fact that has happened in both Project Restart matches demonstrates how much extra value Fantasy managers get even when spending an additional £1.8m on Jiménez.
Meanwhile, Adama Traoré (£5.8m) got his first start since the resumption of the Premier League but was taken off in a shape-change to 3-5-2 in the 72nd minute. That said, the Spaniard does look a more reliable form of investment than Jota, arguably a decent option to pair with Jiménez in our FPL squads. While Wolves were not particularly incisive against Bournemouth, Traoré’s pace and delivery led to him registering a carbon copy of the assist for Jiménez he provided at the London Stadium. Until someone learns how to deal with him, or the aerial threat of Wolves’ centre-forward, Traoré is sure to get more attacking returns.
However, making the case that he should feature in FPL squads as part of a triple-up continues to be complicated by Wolves’ excellent defence, who face an Aston Villa side in Gameweek 32+ that has toiled in front of goal so far.
It has been widely reported that Nuno’s men have become exceptionally hard to break down since Willy Boly (£4.8m) returned from injury but we will wheel it out once more. They have now kept a total of six clean sheets from a possible following the defender’s Gameweek 25 comeback. For that reason, Matt Doherty (£6.4m), Romain Saïss (£4.6m) and Rui Patrício (£5.2m) remain excellent options for the foreseeable future. Moroccan defender Saïss is still persistently proving great value, picking up bonus points for the third match in succession despite earning a booking against Bournemouth. That was his ninth yellow card of the season, so owners should be conscious that one more would mean a two-match ban.
Wolves defensive credentials are firmly established at this point but they were helped on this occasion by Bournemouth’s anaemic attack. Following their toothless display against Crystal Palace, Eddie Howe went for a 4-5-1 formation with Junior Stanislas (£5.9m) and David Brooks (£6.2m) on the flanks. They could not make up for the absence of Joshua King (£6.1m) though, which left Callum Wilson (£7.4m) isolated in the lone-forward role.
Fantasy managers were probably already targeting the Bournemouth attack on their search for clean sheets, but the appeal of Newcastle, Manchester United and Spurs defenders certainly rose after Bournemouth’s latest outing, as they are set to face them in the next three Gameweeks. Backlines of the Magpies and Red Devils will be especially pleased with Wilson picking up his 10th yellow of the season, consigning him to a two-match ban.
Wolves XI (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Boly; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 90+1’), Doherty; D Jota (Neto 62’), Jiménez (Podence 90’), Traoré (Dendoncker 73’).
Bournemouth XI (4-5-1): Ramsdale; A Smith, Aké, S Cook, Stacey (L Kelly 82’); Stanislas (Danjuma 66’), Lerma (Solanke 66’), L Cook, Billing (Gosling 50’), Brooks (H Wilson 66’); C Wilson.