For each match week during the remainder of the Premier League season, I will pick a club and analyze their performance. This week’s club is the Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Wolves defeated West Ham United 2-0 on Saturday. In the 64th minute, winger Adama Traore was subbed on for the Wolves for midfielder Leon Dendoncker and the 0-0 stalemate was quickly broken.
Traore used his electrifying speed to sprint by the West Ham defense and crossed it to striker Raul Jimenez. Jimenez buried it to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute. Traore continued to dominate the wings for the rest of the match. However, it was his fellow right winger and right back Matt Doherty that boosted the Wolves to a comfortable 2-0 lead. Doherty perfectly placed a cross that gave left winger Pedro Neto the opportunity to smash home a brilliant volley to lead Wolverhampton to three points. They sit in a great position to qualify for the Europa League once again and sit five points behind Chelsea for UEFA Champions League qualification.
The two biggest aspects I took away from this match are drastic improvement with Traore and the strong potential the Wolves have going forward. The Wolves looked very different once Traore subbed in. Before that, the Wolves looked uninspired. They were not stretching the field and looked muddled in the midfield. There was little creativity and the offense was sluggish. Ineptitude from West Ham and solid defense kept the score 0-0 until the offense turned a new gear. The difference was night and day. With Traore, the Wolves were blazing past West Ham and looked in rhythm. The wings opened up and there was little West Ham could do to stop them. They looked as creative and explosive as any team in the Premier League.
If I am manager Nuno Espirito Santo, I would look at the film and be excited about what the Wolves have going for them the rest of the season. If they can keep up their wing play they showed on Saturday, they will be a dangerous team. As anyone who has played Liverpool in top form will attest to, having strong wing play can make a resounding difference in your attack. The schedule is also favorable for the Wolves as the only team in the top six they have left is the finale at Chelsea.
The Wolves tend to drop points to teams they should beat, evidenced with their 13 draws, which ties Arsenal for the league lead. However, if the Wolves can use their strong wing play to give them wins instead of draws, they have the potential to face Chelsea on the final day of the season for the final UCL spot.