Falling to their fifth defeat in six matches after taking the lead with an 18th-minute opener from Matt Doherty, Wolves were left looking clueless as Cardiff fought their way back to win the match 2-1. Friday night’s defeat marked the first time Wolves have lost a league game in which they opened the scoring since February 2017, when they lost 1-2 to Burton Albion. The match against Cardiff highlights some problems for Wolves, so let’s take a look at the statistics and discuss.
Same story different week
While Wolves looked to be in control up until the equaliser, they were thrown off when Cardiff’s first goal went in and never really recovered. Overall, Wolves kept 53% of the possession with 68% passing accuracy, and their only goal came from a set piece, which is slightly worrying considering converting efforts from open play has been an issue as of late. Then again, it doesn’t really matter where the goals are coming from at the moment just as long as they keep coming. So far this season, Wolves have had 201 shots on goal, 65 of those were on target and only 13 ended up in the net, giving a shooting accuracy of only 32%. This shows just how bad the team have been at converting chances.
What’s even scarier is that Patricio made no saves during the match and out of Cardiff’s three shots on target two were scored. With the current run of form, it’s hard not to panic as a fan, however, it’s only the first half of the season and Wolves are in 12th place, which I think we all would have been happy with at the start of the season.
Saiss makes first Premier League start
Coming in for Ryan Bennett in defence, rather than his usual midfield position, Romain Saiss made his first start for Wolves in the Premier League. He actually had a pretty good game and was the third highest rated Wolves player by SofaScore, coming out of the match with a score of 7.2.
Saiss played a big part in the defence on Friday making a total of 13 clearances, one interception and blocking three shots. He also won two out of two tackles, nine out of 17 duels and was not dispossessed or dribbled past once.
Considering his only impact on Wolves Premier League campaign before this was from two substitute performances, this was a solid effort from the Moroccan and could certainly put him back on Nuno’s radar for starting positions. Especially now that Neves is going to be out of the question serving a one-match ban.
In the middle of a rough patch with Chelsea up next, Wolves need to figure things out fast to try and avoid another defeat. With Neves out of the running for Chelsea after receiving his fifth yellow card on Friday night, there are changes to be made to the starting line-up. Who will take his place is still unclear, but Nuno has a couple of options he could utilise, from Gibbs-White to Saiss or even Dendoncker. Hopefully, whoever makes the step up will have a positive impact.
The only good thing I can see going into the match is that Wolves have actually performed better against top six sides so far this season, meaning it might not be all doom and gloom. Let’s try to stay positive and keep our fingers crossed for a midweek miracle.