WOLVES 2-3 WEST BROM
- Goals: Fabio Silva (£5.2m), Willy Boly (£5.4m)| Matheus Pereira (£5.6m) x2, Semi Ajayi (£4.8m)
- Assists: Boly| Callum Robinson (£5.4m) x2, Kyle Bartley (£4.4m)
- Bonus: Pereira x3, Boly x2, Silva x1, Robinson x1
Roll of the Dyce
Wolves’ defensive credentials remain under serious scrutiny as they conceded three goals at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Despite being able to draw on Leander Dendoncker (£4.7m) and Willy Boly (£5.4m) again following injury, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are still searching for a first clean sheet since Gameweek 7.
Set pieces proved the main issue for Wolves as they gave up two spot-kicks and the Baggies’ only non-penalty goal at Molineux started with a Dara O’Shea (£4.5m) throw-in.
Kyle Bartley (£4.4m) then won the flick-on which allowed Semi Ajayi (£4.8m) to loop a header over Rui Patricio (£5.4m).
Asked if West Brom had rehearsed the dead-ball routine, Sam Allardyce revealed:
“Yeah…Wolves’ stats are not that great on set-pieces. In saying that, we weren’t very good on set-pieces ourselves! But Wolves on set-pieces do let a lot of goals in. So we felt we could exploit that area. And in open play, I’m disappointed we didn’t score the chances we created but at least we created more than I’ve seen since I’ve been here.” – Sam Allardyce
Nuno knew what the Baggies would throw at his team, though Wolves were unable to deal with it.
“We knew [the set-piece threat would come]. We knew. We knew that West Brom [would] try to do these kind of things; throw-ins, long balls, set-pieces. And we didn’t defend well. Disappointing, frustrated with the way we played and the result. The beginning of the second half, we started very poorly. Two penalties and a throw-in [were West Brom’s goals]. We knew we required better defending. We must rectify it and do better.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
The Wolves manager is clearly in a desperate search for solutions to their problems considering the decisions he made on Saturday afternoon.
He made the surprise call of taking off captain and ever-present (when fit) central defender Conor Coady (£4.9m) in the 64th minute, replacing him with Rayan Aït-Nouri (£5.0m) in a tactical change.
“Options, options. We had Romain [Saiss] and [Willy] Boly, and we decided to go with Rayan [Ait-Nouri], the left-back. Simple decision.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
New no for Nuno
Considering Wolves’ ongoing defensive problems, they have gone from a team FPL bosses looked to for shut-outs, to a side that may get targeted with opposition attacking assets.
With immediate fixtures against Chelsea (away), Crystal Palace (away) and Arsenal (home), there is further time to assess the deteriorating situation at Wolves, as players from those three teams may not be on the fantasy radar considering other fixtures.
It does seem, however, that Nuno will continue with a four-man defence. Wolves’ team-sheet graphic suggested a back three for West Brom’s visit but that did not prove to be the case. The Wolves manager said post-match:
“We think that a back four is better for us with the players we have. It is time to analyse and see what the next step forwards is.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
It was a tumultuous return to action for Willy Boly (£5.4m) at Molineux on Saturday.
The centre-back conceded the first of two penalties that Wolves gave up to West Brom.
Boly then turned a lovely pass around the corner of the West Brom defence in the opposite box, allowing Fabio Silva (£5.2m) to shoot past David Button (£4.0m).
And it was the Ivory Coast defender who put Wolves 2-1 up before half time, capitalising on a bouncing ball in the area to fire home.
Boly is unlikely to attract too many FPL investors, however, considering his price and Wolves’ aforementioned issues in defence.
Flat to the Mat
Matheus Pereira (£5.6m) twice converted from the penalty spot against Wolves, after fouls on Callum Robinson (£5.4m) by both Boly and Coady.
The West Brom winger, as with Boly, is unlikely to be a consideration for our squads at present. However, the Baggies do embark on a relatively favourable fixture run from Gameweek 25.
On the overall performance by his team, Allardyce mused:
“In the vast majority of that performance, I thought the plan and the way the lads carried out the tactics was excellent. It’s the best I’ve seen us in possession since I’ve been here. We [did] some good defending at Liverpool [in Gameweek 15] but from there on, we’ve been waiting to get the defending side right and getting the attacking side right. Apart from slipping up on a set-piece, or two set-pieces – a wide free-kick and a corner which put us on the back foot – I’d have to say the lads were excellent, [especially] in the second half. You could’ve felt that the heads would go down with the problems and the results we’ve had recently but they came bouncing back.” – Sam Allardyce
Wolves XI (4-3-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady (Ait-Nouri 63′), Boly, Semedo; Dendoncker, Neves (Gibbs-White 59′), Moutinho (Cutrone 79′); Neto, Fabio Silva, A Traoré.
West Bromwich Albion XI (4-2-3-1): Button; Gibbs, Bartley, Ajayi, O’Shea; Livermore, Sawyers; Grosicki (Robson-Kanu 69′), M Pereira, Snodgrass, (Furlong 82′); C Robinson.
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