Thank goodness for Ruben Neves.
Ruben’s tackling, Ruben’s passing, Ruben’s shooting, Ruben’s leadership, Ruben’s verbal peppering of the referee to get us the best outcome.
The latter won’t be to everyone’s taste but it’s part of the whole package that is leaving everything on the pitch for this football club.
It might be the worst start the team have endured since he joined from Porto but it’s also been his best.
He raised us from the canvas again yesterday with the ultimate response to Ben Mee’s scissor kick that felt like the precursor to another Wolves collapse.
Later, there was a passage of play that perfectly summed up the imbalance between his personal efforts and the shortcomings of those around him.
He played a smart give and go before unleashing a cross field pass that took out the entire Brentford defence and left Guedes running towards goal. When you felt he was certain to come inside and shoot he instead played a scuffed reverse pass to Costa and the move fizzled out.
That disconnect between the component parts of our attack remains the biggest problem.
Traore, Podence and Costa all did some good things individually in the game but there wasn’t much in the way of combination play.
The trio will now be broken up anyway after Diego dropped the nut on that man Mee. We know he does this type of thing so little point in condemning him for the stupidity.
Some will say it doesn’t matter because he hasn’t scored anyway, but I think his presence has brought structure to the team that we’ll be poorer without in the weeks ahead.
Boubacar had an interesting afternoon, giving the ball away more times than I care to remember but cancelling that out with relentless pressing and some key interceptions. I definitely think this team gains more than it loses with his inclusion.
Hopefully the injury to Nunes doesn’t see him out for long. There’s no doubt the adjustment to the Premier League has been uncomfortable for our record signing but I still believe he can be a key differential as we look to avoid the drop.
Not as key as Ruben of course who has again been linked with a move to Barcelona in the new year.
Think hard on that one Jeff.