Just a few weeks ago you’d be forgiven for earmarking this fixture as a battle between two of the division’s unknown quantities.
And though four points from a possible nine would suggest that moniker still applies to Leonid Slutsky’s team, our own is beginning to look a serious prospect.
Granted, Nuno’s side avoided plenty of scares in a second half dominated by the home side but few would bemoan a dip in standards after the two stellar league performances that preceded this fixture. Aside from Nuno himself, whose press conferences continue to give the impression he is quite the taskmaster.
Certainly, his methods have looked that of a genius in these opening weeks. Wolves are producing football that millennials such as myself have never had the pleasure of associating with old gold and black, and long may it continue.
Whilst the influence of our new Head Coach and his team cannot be underestimated, its important to acknowledge the work done by his paymasters who, let it not be forgotten, had become figures of derision in the eyes of many after a turbulent first season in English football.
Jeff Shi and Fosun have learnt from their mistakes and created an environment in which quality is favoured over quantity, recognising that the blood and thunder brand of football their first two managerial recruits favoured is unlikely to cut the mustard in an increasingly difficult division.
Much has been made by the national media of the way they have gone about doing this but the team already seems to have found a way of harbouring the animosity offered by opposition supporters into a winning incentive. I guess that’s not so difficult to do when you have players of Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota’s ilk to call upon.
Both were on the score sheet tonight, with the former likely to win much of the plaudits for the sheer audacity of his 30 yard screamer. Football purists may, however, give greater credence to our second goal which was the result of some sumptuous build-up play that was once again centred by the prodigious and increasingly effective Bright Enobakahre. Either way, it’s nice to have the dilemma of picking a favourite winning goal given that they have been in such scant supply over the last two seasons.
Equally as important as our attacking play is the new defensive resolve that has been instilled within the team, which saw them withstand plenty of pressure in the second period. John Ruddy and Willy Boly were the names doing the rounds on social media come full time but all of our new look back five are doing their bit at present, as are the midfield duo of Neves and a rejuvenated Roman Saiss.
History will tell you that a water tight defence and clinical attack – terms which have been used to describe us in these opening round of fixtures – is a recipe for success in the Championship so its hard to temper this feverish early season enthusiasm with memories of previous false dawns, despite logic suggesting this as the best course of action.
Another win on Saturday against a Cardiff City team also riding the crest of a wave would surely see logic put on the back burner for the foreseeable, which would be a most welcome state of affairs for Wolves fan to find ourselves in after the mundanity of seasons gone by.