Nuno made a bold move on Saturday by making five changes to the starting Xl that lost to Huddersfield. The decision paid off for him as Wolves cruised past a poor Cardiff side with two goals in the space of two minutes in the first half. In a beautiful display of football, they built their goals well with lots of clever passes that Cardiff couldn’t deal with. There were 17 passes leading up to Diogo Jota’s goal, which marks the most passes before a Wolves goal in the Premier League this season.
Wolves looked fresh and full of new ideas when they stepped out onto the Molineux pitch. With Ruben Vinagre and Adama Traore replacing Matt Doherty and Jonny as wing-back’s, they were able to stun Cardiff with pace. At one point, Vinagre ran as fast as 21.87MPH. They caused the opposition defence trouble all afternoon and both players will have given Nuno a lot to think about.
The football Wolves were playing was a dream to watch and in the end, the scoreline could have been much higher. Wolves created seven big chances, missing five of them, and had a total of 13 shots, six of which were on target. Cardiff were lucky to escape with just a two-goal difference.
Wolves only had 56% of the possession but they controlled the game and never looked in danger of letting Cardiff back into it once they secured their two-goal lead. They won more duels, aerials and tackles than their opponents and despite Cardiff being known for their physical way of play, Wolves dealt very well and never looked weak.
The only downside to a great game was Ryan Bennett receiving his tenth yellow card of the season, meaning he will face a two-match ban.
For me, it was a toss-up between Vinagre and Romain Saiss for the Man of the Match. Both of them had a great game but Saiss just edged it. He was really strong, constantly filling gaps and fighting to get the ball back, and I think he proved that he deserved his contract extension.
As well as averaging 90% passing accuracy, he made two key passes, created two big chances, played six accurate long balls, won 14 out of 20 duels, made two interceptions and ten clearances.
In the wake of Bennett’s suspension, I would put Leander Dendoncker in his position and keep Saiss in midfield with Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho.
Wolves had no problems seeing off Cardiff and seemed to have put their dismal Huddersfield display well behind them. While at first the changes to the starting lineup may have worried some, it turned out to be a really good decision from Nuno as the team played magnificently.
Up next, Wolves face Chelsea in the Premier League before their FA Cup quarter-final at Molineux against Manchester United. Even though Bennett will receive a two-match ban, he will not miss the FA Cup match, because his suspensions only count in league matches.