Can I have my £10 back please?
I should have known that any excitement of watching new signings would have been marred by a woefully disjointed performance in the early rounds of the League Cup. This is Wolves after all.
Despite his miss, Fabio Silva is the only one to emerge with any credit. When we bothered to supply the 18-year-old with some decent service, his link-up play was more than tidy, which is a must in this side.
But the majority of Wolves’ night was spent moving the ball far too slowly, in too deep an area, with little movement to boot. Nuno’s men simply didn’t have a clue how to play between the lines or move Stoke around.
Perhaps Joao Moutinho’s game management and vision was lacking? Ruben Neves was playing as a fourth centre back, Leander Dendoncker was doing his usual Dave Edwards disappearing act, and Vitinha dropped ever deeper for the ball. That left Fabio leading the line and Adama out on the right. Wolves were unbalanced with little guile.
When we got bored of sideways and backwards passing at a snail’s pace, poor Fabio was left to starve on hopeful hoofs. That’s bread and butter for seasoned Championship defences.
You could see Stoke growing in confidence as the second half progressed. Poor defending combined with John Ruddy’s pathetic attempt of a save rather summed up our night.
There’s two individuals who particularly frustrated.
Ruben Vinagre repeatedly took the wrong option. Weak in defence and little end product in attack. If anything, the 21-year-old has regressed during his time at Molineux, and I’d snap Porto’s hand off at £10 million.
As for Dendoncker, many will disagree, but he’s not cut out to play in midfield at the top level. Anonymous for long periods, when the Belgian bothers to get on the ball, he struggles to make even the simplest of passes. Like with Dangerous, much of the fanbase laud Donk’s marathon man efforts, but why? What does he actually offer apart from leaving gaping gaps?
Tonight was a great opportunity to progress and set up a very winnable tie at home to Gillingham.
Unfortunately, we’re still at a stage as a squad where we’re oh so reliant on our Gun XI. That has to improve if we want to move to the next level.