Every Wolves Player Who Made An Appearance in 2017/18 Ranked By Contribution On The Pitch

Actually, to clarify the point, ranked by my personal opinion about their contribution on the pitch. I’ve tried to mesh that together with appearance stats and some other info to give it more credibility.

#33 Harry Burgoyne – Handed a solitary token appearance at Sunderland after the game was already lost.

#32 Michal Zyro – One start in the League Cup and that was that for the big Polish striker. Got a few goals for Charlton.

#31 Sylvain Deslandes  1 sub appearance in the league and 2 starts in the League Cup before leaving for Pompey on loan.

#30 Jordan Graham – Same appearance stats as Deslandes and couldn’t get a game at Fulham or on his return to the club in January.

#29 Dave Edwards – Another with 1 sub appearance in the league and 2 starts in the League Cup before ending his near decade-long association with the club.

#28 Rafa Mir – Just 1 start in the FA Cup and 3 sub appearances for the striker since arriving in January. No goals and no real chance to make an impact after the arrival of Afobe.

#27 Donovan Wilson – Came off the bench at Southampton in the cup and scored his first goal for the club. A memorable moment in a morale boosting win early doors.

#26 Oskar Buur – Played for 20 minutes in the league and netted a crucial equaliser against Hull. What was he even doing up there? More importantly, who cares? Also got a start in the League Cup.

#25 Connor Ronan – Got a look-in for a short time but once the squad was beefed out, struggled for minutes. Like a few others, impressed against Man City and left with De Bruyne’s shirt before heading to Portsmouth on loan.

#24 Kortney Hause – Not a single league start for Kortney and just 4 appearances in total, which must be a source of immense frustration. Somewhat surprised he was given a contract extension, but at 22 there’s still significant room for development.

#23 Jack Price – 5 appearances off the bench in the league and some game time in the League Cup. Played very well at The Etihad before bringing the curtain down on his Wolves career.

#22 Ben Marshall – Soon became obvious he was down the pecking order so no surprise he eventually left to get some games. Did manage one league start in his 5 appearances before impressing at Millwall.

#21 Nouha Dicko – Scored what proved to be the winning goal against Hull (ironically) so must rank higher than all the other also-rans. Also got one in the cup before being shipped out.

#20 Morgan Gibbs-White – Came into fashion after Christmas and was regularly involved. But only 1 league start and 3 in total from his 15 appearances. Still just 18 though and everyone at the club seems to think he’s going to the very top.

#19 Will Norris – Didn’t concede a goal in his League Cup campaign and was solid enough against Swansea in the FA Cup, but had a game to forget in his only league start at Sunderland.

#18 Ruben Vinagre – Had Douglas not been so effective, Vinagre would have made a lot more than the 13 appearances he mustered because whenever he did play, he looked motivated and capable. Scored a great goal at Burton.

#17 Bright Enobakhare – 26 appearances in total but just 2 goals and 1 assist for Bright. If he can beef up those numbers, he’ll be a Premier League player. You don’t make 26 appearances in a side this good if you’re not up to scratch.

#16 Roderick Miranda – Much like Danny Batth, looked pretty decent in the early games. I particularly liked his touch-tight, Italian-esque defending. Lost rhythm once Boly and Bennett became the preferred duo flanking Coady and looked vulnerable in subsequent cameos.

#15 Danny Batth – Started the season well enough, but once he lost his place to Bennett, he struggled on the rare occasions he was called upon. 21 appearances in total and an important headed equaliser against Bristol City for his only goal.

#14 Benik Afobe – Just 7 starts for Benik and a further 9 appearances from the bench. 6 goals was a decent return, but if I’m being hypercritical all his strikes came in games I felt we’d have won anyway.

#13 Alfred N’Diaye – Essential squad player. Only 17 starts but 20 more appearances from the bench. 3 goals and 2 assists. His physicality came in handy on several occasions.

#12 Helder Costa – 39 appearances in total but only 24 starts. Took him a long time to get up to speed. In fact it was only really down the home stretch he looked anything like the player we’ve come to know and love. 5 goals and 6 assists is still a decent contribution.

#11 Ryan Bennett – It didn’t look like he’d get a sniff at the start of the season, but ended up a key performer. 33 appearances in total and one special goal at Ashton Gate. That was his moment to savour, but overall he can feel very pleased with his efforts.

#10 Leo Bonatini – 47 appearances in total (31 starts) but it felt like he checked out at Christmas. Couldn’t muster a goal in 2018, but the 12 he registered early doors really helped get us up and running. 5 assists too for the Brazilian.

#9 John Ruddy – Would have been an ever-present in the league had Nuno not rested him on the final day. Won the Golden Glove for most shut-outs in the division but that owes as much to the defence in front of him. Made some big saves, most notably at Cardiff, but also let in a few soft goals and occasionally juggled crosses. Solid rather than spectacular.

#8 Romain Saiss – Major unsung hero. Immediately struck up a good understanding with Neves and connected the dots between defence and attack. 44 appearances in total and 4 important goals.

#7 Willy Boly – The centre-half of my dreams. Missed 10 games with injury and that’s the only reason he isn’t higher up the list. 3 goals and 2 assists to go with countless blocks, interceptions and carefree jaunts downfield.

#6 Ivan Cavaleiro – Rarely grabbed the headlines, but one of the big heroes of the campaign. 32 starts and 46 appearances in total. 9 goals and 12 assists.

#5 Matt Doherty

Only missed one league game all season and that was after getting sent off at Middlesbroguh. 47 appearances in total, 4 goals and 4 assists. A high ranking for sheer consistency. Not as explosive going forward as some previous seasons, but then again, he didn’t need to be.

#4 Barry Douglas

39 starts and 42 appearances in total. 5 goals scored and 14 assists. Yes, 14 assists. Nobody in the entire league managed more. Effective from open play but spectacular from dead ball situations.

#3 Diogo Jota

Quickly identified as the league’s most dangerous attacker and subsequently targeted for heavy treatment. 43 starts and 46 appearances in total is an incredible achievement. He was brought in to score and create and with 18 goals and 5 assists it was definitely mission accomplished.

#2 Conor Coady

Can count himself unfortunate not to be sitting at the top of the pile. 48 appearances in all competitions and barely a single mistake all season. A revelation. Factor in his character, his leadership and all those diagonal cross field passes and you’ve got one hell of a season. Made playing three at the back possible, which was essential to Nuno’s ‘idea’.

#1 Ruben Neves

42 appearances, 6 screamers and the best passer of a football we’ve ever had – certainly in my lifetime. Mick McCarthy was flabagasted Wolves spent £15 million on a ‘holding midfielder’ back in August. I suspect even he’s got on board by now. I wanted to give the number 1 slot to Coady, I really did, but I can probably count on one hand the number of seasons where we’ve actually had a midfield and this guy is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Disagree with my list? I’ll paste the names into a comment below if anyone fancies having a crack themselves.

Sunderland 3 Wolves 0

I probably wasn’t the only one thinking about Sir Alex Ferguson over the weekend following news of his ill health.

Safe to say the greatest manager in British history wouldn’t have tolerated this lethargic, baggy, can’t be bothered sign-off from the league winners.

Harsh words in the context of a wonderful season but like it not, this was the performance of a team who’ve won a title and not one befitting of champions.

Sure, we can shrug it off, file it away and look back with a smile when it’s invariably trotted out at a pub quiz in the years to come, but what a truly abysmal effort against the worst side in the division.

The fans that made that long slog to Wearside deserved much, much better.

Nuno rang the changes and it would be easy to lay the blame at the feet of the reserves, but it’s really the established stars who should carry the can.

There was simply no appetite to compete, to establish a rhythm or even just exit first gear. Doherty, Douglas and Neves were three operating in cruise control and the game completely passed them by.

With broken cogs in the mechanism it was fanciful to think the likes of Miranda or Gibbs-White were going to ride to the rescue. They did not.

Poor old Will Norris certainly had an afternoon forget as his goal was repeatedly peppered and two farcical errors were extracted to gift Sunderland the win.

Nothing stuck at the other end either with our Portuguese contingent ironically wilting in the sun after tolerating the coldest winter in 50 years. You couldn’t make it up.

No, this was a complete write-off and the worst possible way to sign off the best possible season.

And with thoughts invariably drifting towards a manager who built a dynasty on playing to the end, I’m loathe to forgive an early check out.

Sunderland Vs Wolves Preview

I remember walking to Molineux for the final game of last season and hoping we wouldn’t be contesting another dead rubber in a year’s time.

Well, I didn’t quite get my wish but mustn’t grumble.

Seriously though, you almost had to remind yourself there was still a game left to play with all the talk of bus parades and players we might be signing for next season.

There’s still the matter of getting 100 points and equalling the record for most wins in a Championship campaign, so hopefully the lads can rouse themselves one final time.

Sunderland

The Black Cats just want the season to be over. Two consecutive relegations (we know how that tastes), another manager sacked and big question marks over when the slide will be halted.

Wolves did a good job of getting their act together when they dropped into League One and Sunderland will be following that blueprint to the letter if common sense prevails.

Get rid of the expensive senior players, unless they’re fired up and committed to the cause. Give talented youngsters (of which Sunderland have a few) the platform to shine and use your clout as a big fish in a small pond to cherry pick some of the best players in the league.

And above all of that – get a good manager who knows what’s required. Chris Wilder would be a massive coup if they could lure him away from Sheffield United, while a return for Mick McCarthy wouldn’t be a bad option either in my view.

I’ll be watching with interest to see how their summer unfolds.

Wolves

While we’re all salivating over the possibility of mega bucks signings, I’m intrigued to see what the verdict is on several fringe players who may or may not be involved in August.

Bright Enobakhare is one. Even in his short cameo last weekend, it was clear he’s a colossal talent, but one who continues to frustrate by faltering in front of goal. If Nuno could somehow encourage that final few per cent out of him, we would have some player on our hands. Alternatively, this might be the moment to see how he fares playing regularly somewhere on loan.

I’m convinced Leo Bonatini will leave, but as my old man commented last week, there’s still a sense Nuno prefers the Brazilian to Afobe, backed up by the fact he played him through the middle in all the big games against Fulham, Villa and Cardiff. So maybe that’s not so straightforward?

Alfred N’Diaye would be a player I’d definitely sign. We will need reinforcements in midfield regardless of whether the big Senegalise international stays or goes but I think his physicality is an option worth retaining.

Danny Batth, Roderick Miranda, Kortney Hause, Phil Ofosu-Ayah and Rafa Mir are others who must be points of discussion when the head coach, Kevin Thelwell and the rest of the team sit down to outline the makeup of next season’s squad.

As for this game, no idea who’ll make it onto the pitch, but there’s been little sign of rotation from Nuno thus far, so every chance of our first choice eleven.

Predictions

If Wolves win this game, they’ll not only get a century of points and complete a clean-sweep of victories over every team in the Championship, but they’ll also have exactly three times as many points as Sunderland.

I’m not trying to stick the boot in there, I’m just making the point that this is very much a top versus bottom clash and if the Champions player to their maximum it should be comfortable.

They somehow managed a cleansheet at Molineux in December, but I can’t seem them shutting us out again.

A more robust performance at Fulham last time out still failed to yield any points and that’s just how it tends to go for teams at the bottom.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!