One team, full of experienced players, struggling to keep up with superior opposition in front of expectant full house.
Sound familiar? Thankfully the roles were reversed at Pride Park with Derby County given that same sobering slap in the face that we’ve all been used to for so many years.
So majestic and so utterly dominant were Wolves that you almost felt sorry for the Rams, such was the gulf in class and the fact we’ve been on the receiving end of countless spectacles like this ourselves.
It’s those results of yesteryear – the last three drubbings we’ve suffered at Derby for example – that keep us all grounded as things must take an inevitable turn for the worse.
But on yesterday’s evidence during large spells of our 2-0 masterclass, there’s no reason to think that they will, other than the fact that this is Wolves we’re talking about.
Nuno’s Wolves though, a subtle difference. A team that seems content to crack past millstones around our necks as they’re cracking opponents on the football pitch.
They keep the ball in tight situations, never panic and patiently wait to make the right pass at the right time – all in a new look formation that a familiar old nemesis couldn’t lay a glove on.
A matter of weeks ago, Bradley Johnson, Chris Martin and co were filling their boots in this same fixture at the iPro without seemingly breaking sweat.
Roll Fosun’s clock forward and they were blowing out of their backsides after an hour, huffing and puffing to get to where the ball had been a second before it was laid off.
The back three of Boly, Miranda and Coady were outstanding once again, with John Ruddy’s presence behind them comforting, even if he was largely untroubled (give or take a good low stop and a tip over the bar from range).
Neves and Saiss were chief architects in midfield, not only working their way out of tight spots with aplomb, but positively demanding the ball in these taxing areas to begin with.
Their vision then unfurls vast expanses of pitch as if shaking a giant rug, with Doherty and Douglas free to roam and Jota and man-of-the-match Bright benefiting further forward.
Bonatini then spearheads the attack and while not entirely convincing, he displays enough intuitive ability on the ball to tell you he’s one of Nuno’s players.
Common sense is clearly agreeing with those footballing gods too, as a giant Red Row digital advert flanked the 2-0 scoreline on the Pride Park screen. Beneath it, Conor Coady left Andreas Weimann in a heap on the floor after cleaning out the ball – and player – with customary intensity (no handshake offered or hair ruffled thereafter). Here was a broken player we’d have been watching instead of the brilliant Diego Jota, who tormented the home side to lay on the second goal for Cavaleiro, having hit the post earlier.
This performance was as progressive as it gets. As an away display, it could rarely get better, to the point in which you could scarcely believe who we were watching. Singing ‘it’s just like watching Brazil’ sounded surreal too.
As a soundtrack for the afternoon, it was surely the most fitting.