Since loaning out Adama Traore to his childhood club, Barcelona, Bruna Lage and Wolves have had their share of highs and lows.
While Traore has defined the Blaugranes attack, Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a rough start to the new life without their attacking winger. They have played 3 games hence, and have lost 2 of the games. One of the losses came against Norwich City, in the 4th round of their FA Cup tie.
Although, it’s not often we see one player’s move could leave such a void. But in this case, it seems inevitably true. It is not a surprise, however, seeing how Adama Traore is excelling in Xavi’s Barca. It seems as if the move is very much suiting the Spanish attacking winger. But has it helped Wolves by any chance? There was no gain for Bruno Lage and Wolverhampton Wanderers since the move commenced in January. But it has carved open the way for the likes of Trincao, or Fabio Silva to shine.
How the Wolves have been lining up, since the departure of Adama Traore
Looking at the gameplay when Traore was in the squad, it is evident that his dashing runs past the defenders. Crosses from the flanks, dribbles from one half to another, have been utterly missed. His departure has come with a change in the Wolves playing style as well.
With Adama in the squad, Bruno would mostly go with 3-4-3. The front 3 being the same, in most of the games – Adama, Jimenez, Podence. Now that the Spanish attacking winger has gone back to his native country, the Portuguese coach has looked to shake the squad with the make-do changes.
In the recent games, Wolverhampton have lined up in the 3-5-2 formation. Back 3 have remained constant since Bruno Lage’s appointment, but the test is how to cope, upfront. Podence and Raul Jiminez have been given the responsibility to take the attack to the opposition’s goal. While the former is often seen complementing his strike partner and taking up the role of the second striker.
In the first 2 games out of the 3 Wolves have played, following Traore’s loan to Barcelona, they have lacked the intent going upfront. First losing to the spirited Norwich side then were laboured to another 1-0 loss by the 10 men Gunners. However, they looked the real deal against the Spurs side in their last game. Beating the London side by 2 goals to nil. The highlight of the match was, how well the Wanderers defended. Despite taking a 2-goal lead early in the match Bruno Larga’s side showed great resistance to shrug off all the pressure from the home side, to go home as victors.
Podence and Nouri can be key if Wolves hope to end the season on the high
The last game was a great spectacle to watch if you were supporting the men in “Black & Gold”. But from the manager’s point of view, Daniel Podence and Ait Nouri were the two who played out rightly at the top of their game. While Podence was scintillating upfront, alongside his Portuguese strike partner Jiminez. The young French left-back, Nouri, was relentless on the flank. Continuously making up the ground, tracking back the Spurs’ players whenever his team was out of possession.
Rayan Ait Nour has been a player to watch this season. He has already caught the eye in his first season in the Premier League. The French youngster has the factor of age by his side to grow into one of the very best. He has pace. Has the ability to cross from the flank, and if he works on the vision he is surely right up there to be the face of the Wolves side. Bruno Lage has also shown a lot of faith in the young French international, it has helped Nouri establish his place in the starting XI.
Another player who is looking the real deal for Wolves is Daniel Podence. Podence is an attacking right-winger, himself. But, when you have someone like Adama Traore on the side you have to make way for him. Now, with his loan move comes great great opportunities for the players like Podence, Silva, Trincao – the latter being in the limelight of underperforming since his loan move from Barcelona to the Premier League.
However, the Portuguese attacking winger showcased his ability and creativity during his team’s last outing in the victory against Spurs. His movements on and off the ball caused problems in the defence for Conte’s men. Allowing Jiminez in the acres of empty space.
While the overall reactions, to losing one of their main man at the end of the season, has been somewhat mixed.
Bruno Lage and the supporters alike would be hoping that players take on the upcoming matches with the same mentality, as they did against the London side. In the hope that when Adama Traore returns in July – barring Barcelona don’t tie him to the permanent contract – the team is ready to take on the bigger sides in the league.