Wolves blog: Wide men are key to goal drought
As the last of the international breaks of 2018 draws to a close, Premier League fixtures will gain momentum as we edge towards Christmas.
Four of Wolves’ six games before Christmas take place at Molineux. Whoever visits Wolverhampton, Nuno should and will be aiming for maximum points in each fixture.
Trips to Cardiff and Newcastle also offer great opportunities for Wolves to secure a solid amount of points from this run of games.
Wolves haven’t won a match since October 6, but other than the Watford defeat they by no means deserve to be on a winless run.
Their last trip at the Emirates deserved three points based on the chances Wolves had. Ultimately, it was a great point, but it was so frustrating to watch Wolves miss numerous one-on-one opportunities.
Ivan Cavaleiro showed a killer instinct for Wolves’ goal. Raul Jimenez again played a key role in the move, and is an absolutely vital member of this team.
It is the two forwards either side of Raul who need to be putting the ball in the net more often.
Last season, Cavaleiro, Helder Costa and Diogo Jota managed 32 goals and 25 assists between them in all competitions - this is a huge proportion of the total Wolves scored.
After almost a third of the season, Costa has managed a League Cup goal and Jota has yet to manage either a goal or an assist.
Cav now has two goals and newcomer to the pack Adama Traore scored that winner at West Ham early on in the season.
In most games, Nuno tends to use all four in some capacity, with the two who didn’t make the starting XI often getting minutes from the bench.
They have all shown in parts they have something big to offer this team, but it has to click for them soon or they face further competition being signed in January.
The two with the most cause for concern are probably Costa and Jota. Cavaleiro is returning from injury and is arguably the best finisher at the club.
Traore is an enigma and although he should have scored at Arsenal, he is an absolute machine capable of creating something out of nothing.
Costa looks close to being at his best, with finishing being his biggest downfall – that miss at Spurs after being put through by Morgan Gibbs-White was poor, but he played very well against Arsenal last time out.
Jota hasn’t really looked himself this season, and has lost his place in the starting XI in recent games. He had a great chance to put Wolves 2-0 up at Arsenal and it seems strange not to see last season’s top scorer having an impact in front of goal so far.
But he is scoring regular goals for Portugal Under-21s, which shows he hasn’t lost his touch.
Nuno’s formation relies on the two wide forwards providing the bulk of the team’s goals, and the lack of goals here reflects Wolves’ low return in front of goal – but the team are creating a vast number of chances in most matches.
All four widemen are young, with Cavaleiro the oldest at 25. When one or two of them begin to add that clinical finishing, Wolves could really put an opponent to the sword – and it could be anyone in the league.