On the surface there wasn’t a lot to be gleaned from Wolves victory over Basel in their first pre-season outing.
But if you’re scratching around for some talking points you might consider:
- Unlike last season when nobody could have guessed what Nuno had in mind as his strongest eleven, it’s now immediately evident. There’s an established system and pecking order. The reserves played first half, the first team second. If he continues this strategy, as seems likely we’ll be able to see quite clearly which players are contenders and being worked into the starting eleven as the season approaches.
- Will Norris was given the nod to play with the first team regulars in the second half, so does this mean he’s now ahead of John Ruddy? When Rui Patricio links up with the squad this will become obvious very quickly as only two keepers are likely to see action in the friendlies.
- Similarly Ivan Cavaleiro was used in the weaker first half team, which in itself perhaps doesn’t reveal a great deal. The front three were constantly rotated last season. But when Raul Jimenez arrives, it will be interesting to see which combinations Nuno fields and how the Mexican alters the dynamic.
- Rafa Mir is a wildcard. Although it didn’t really take off for him last season, he was presumably brought to the club for a reason? He seems to have been written off as a contender, but surely a player who was reportedly on the cusp of a move to Real Madrid must have something to offer? Will his goal yesterday be the start of the something? He’s already netted more than Bonatini in 2018.
- Batth and Bennett were interchangeable towards the end of last season but Bennett was given the nod yesterday again suggesting he’s ahead in the pecking order. I’m wondering if he or even Hause might get a chance to play with the senior team in the upcoming games? While Boly and Coady seem unmovable, that right sided center back slot certainly isn’t a done deal. Tim Nash reported last week Romain Saiss is even been considered as an option in the back three. One to watch for sure.