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Wolves Fans' Verdict v Nottm Forest: All hail Jota

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published: | Last Updated:

Our fans can't get enough of Diogo Jota as Wolves win at Nottingham Forest.

Clockwise from top left; Russ Cockburn, Russ Evers, Adam Virgo, Heather Large, Chris Hughes, Natalie Wood, Clive Smith and Rob Cartwright

Adam Virgo

What's your verdict on the match? Another three points away from home meaning we top the table based on away form currently. It took us until December last season to get four wins (in all competitions) on the road, Nuno has managed that by the fifth away game, what an absolute Portugeezer.

We weren't at our best by all means, especially in the first half but we won the game and showed great character and belief at 1-1 to go and win the game. I think considering the goal was out of nothing and a rare mistake from John Ruddy, it could have been quite deflating but we managed to get the second and hold on to another valuable three points.

First half was average from both sides, however we did have a couple of decent chances. Cavaleiro having one of those which he blazed over when he really should have hit the target at least. Bonatini having the other but that chance came from Miranda's exquisite outside of the foot pass which set Vinagre free on the left.

I felt we were sloppy in attacking positions in the first half yesterday. Every time we would build up some decent play and then we'd try a killer ball or the extra pass and it would be too short or misplaced. We stayed in the game at 0-0 though which is good. When you're not playing too well it's better to go into the break drawing the game at least, Nuno then delivered his masterclass of a team talk which he always seems to do.

Second half was a lot better and the link up play was on point again. Cavaleiro, after a poor first half put in a beauty of a cross and Jota with that strikers instinct was in the right place at the right time.

At 1-0 I feel as though we slowed the game down a bit too much but their goal was down to John Ruddy's poor positioning, thankfully it didn't cost us the game. The telepathic link up between Bonatini and Jota was back again for the second goal even though the Brazilian was absolutely swiped out in the process.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Like many weeks this season, Diogo Jota is again my man of the match. Not only just scored both of our goals but his all round play was just incredible to watch. You can tell he's played at Champions League level with how easy it is for him in the championship and the things he pulls off at times, it's a joke how good he is.

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There were situations yesterday where I thought the ball was lost or he was going nowhere and all of a sudden he's flicked it through a defender's legs and he's past him like a flash. Tendayi Darikwa must have been seeing stars with how confused he was because I'm sure Jota nutmegged him a couple of times and constantly got the better of him in the second half. I can't believe he's only 20 years old and if he carries on like this he's going to have damn good career. Just going to add that he took his second goal well, stayed composed and finished it well at an important time for us in the game.

Leo Bonatini doesn't get as much praise as he deserves, I've seen people slate him this season which confuses me so much. He's got three goals and three assists so far which is very good, especially that a lot of strikers don't get many assists. He's not just up top to score goals, he's so integral to how we play with his back to goal and very intelligent.

When we've got players like Cavaleiro and Jota feeding off him with Costa to come back as well, he's going to get so many more assists with how he plays. In the box he's a poacher and providing he keeps playing how he has been, he could easily hit 15 goals with around the same for assists which would be very impressive. I'm just praying he's not injured after that horrible challenge on him when he played Jota through for the second goal.

Defensively, once again I thought we were sound. No problems from open play and the goal as I said earlier was a mistake from Ruddy. I'm sure he will have got a bit of stick from the players on the way back home but he's experienced, he'll take it and he's still been great for us this season.

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Don't forget that save at 2-1 from Darikwa which was very important and he also claimed so many crosses which I like to see. No trouble from set pieces either which we all like to see and if we can keep the goals conceded to zero or one in a lot of games, I'm confident we won't lose too many.

Cavaleiro was poor yesterday, he looked majorly off the pace but he still produced a fantastic ball for the goal, typical of him. It's good that he can not be playing too well but still create something like that and I'm sure he knows himself that he's capable of far better performances, like we've seen in previous times when he's been on the pitch this season.

No problems in midfield either. Saiss and Neves are a fantastic partnership, they complement each other so much and both have a very good passing range. Neves has probably gone under the radar slightly with Jota playing so well but that's good, he's still doing what he needs to do, keeping the ball moving and isn't afraid of trying Hollywood passes to get someone in behind. N'diaye is a fantastic option to have as well if ever Nuno wants to switch it up like he did on Tuesday night.

Onto Bristol Rovers for the Carabao Cup on Tuesday now and a chance for Wolves to get into the fourth round for the first time in a long time. I'm confident we'll see a lot of changes, possibly 11 again but we've got players who can come in and do well anyway and I fully expect us to win even with the changes.

Clive Smith

What's your verdict on the match? Forest away was in many ways similar to Brentford away. The two sides both tried to keep the ball but failed to do it consistently.

Initially Wolves' efforts to go down the left failed miserably. Our diagonal passes, whether from Neves, Saiss or Coady, almost always found a red shirt. Only when Jota ran the inside channel did we offer anything there.

Thankfully our right side was more productive. Cav looked like he had a wasp up his shirt, racing around in all directions without ever seemingly being in control. The irony was not lost in the tune 'never gives the ball away'.

Doherty and Batth linked up well behind him and on the whole that was where we looked most likely to create a goal in the first half.

After about 20 minutes someone decided Cav should swap wings with Jota and try his luck over there for a while.

The end product was still frustrating. We created some half chances and did managed to get behind Forest through Vinagre and Jota. Our final shots were tame or off target however. Cav, Jota and Bonatini all guilty.

We did look tight at the back, and as in the last couple of games, we worked hard to get the ball back when we did not have it. Forest were given little time to dwell on the ball, this helped us protect Ruddy's goal.

It was no surprise to be 0-0 at the break. The second half started with a bang however when a perfect cross from Cav found Jota to give us the lead, again, from close range.

The tempo of the game was immediately raised. Forest played more long ball and Wolves looked ready to pounce on the counter attack. Our defence continued to look firm so it was to the surprise of everyone when a long range shot flew into our net. Ruddy looked totally at fault – he never even got a hand on it. Very disappointing.

Forest had their tail up but Wolves defended smartly. When we won the ball back in or around our box we passed the ball away and it was usually Jota who provided the outlet.

Even when we were under pressure we still had opportunities to break and provide our own threat. Jota really came into his own. His pace and trickery meant that he could avoid tackles and manage to beat his man.

It was from a swift breakaway that Wolves scored. Jota and Bonatini took the ball forward and a Forest defender tried to take Bonatini out. Just on impact though the ball had been flicked to Jota. The ref had a decision to make – there was a foul there for sure, with a yellow or even red card to be dished out. Thankfully he allowed Jota to do his stuff. Appearing completely calm the ball was passed into the net while a defender and advancing keeper tried to get in a challenge. The ref then showed a yellow.

The final 10 minutes saw Wolves defending in numbers yet also looking their most dangerous. Two of our substitutes were involved. One break saw Jota dance along the byline waiting for support in the box. Marshall arrived but shot tamely.

After that, N'Diaye played the ball forward towards the penalty spot where our most advanced player was Doherty. Their keeper made the save.

The sum of all the parts was greater as a few players struggled with their form. Vinagre had his quietest game so far. Neither Neves or Saiss played particularly well either. A glance at the League table suggests we are doing a lot right.

Nice to think that there looks still more to come.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Ruddy – he was clearly at fault for the goal. One error in eight games is forgivable thanks to the final result.

Doherty had another strong game. He continues to relish the freedom to attack, even away from home. He is due a goal.

Vinagre – probably needs a rest having been full-on in each of his games so far. He has filled in very well – despite being 'one for the future' when he was signed he has proved he can cope at this level.

Miranda, Coady and Batth again combined well. They had to cope with the ball over the top and a physical presence and held firm. Balls played into our box were dealt with confidently with an eye on finding a gold shirt to start a counter attack.

Batth was probably the pick of the three if only because of his good, and much improved, use of possession.

Neves – he has still not looked like the big star player signing to me. He makes short sharp passes, usually accurately and quickly but does not 'drive' forward with the ball like a Gerrard-style player would. One clean hit shot on target makes for a short highlights reel.

Saiss – often better without the ball than with it. Too many wasted passes but hard working while tackling. It will be interesting whether he or N'Diaye becomes the regular starter.

Cav – we have said this about many players, 'he works hard, you can't fault his effort but .....'. Cav often fits into this category. How often have we seen him dwell on the ball too long. He had a glorious chance first half when it looked like a goal was laid on a plate for him if he had shot immediately. When he did play the ball first time, his cross for Jota, it was perfectly placed. He does offer some good things. His strength on the ball makes it hard for defenders to get close to him. If he could just stop beating himself and overplaying.

Bonatini is probably the player still under the most scrutiny from fans. Again though he did well. Who have we had who can play so well with his back to goal? Any advance on Nathan Blake? His awareness of team mates is impressive. He linked up with Jota time and time again and got in good positions around the goal. A decent first time shot had to be tipped over by the keeper.

Again Jota was excellent and man of the match. What a find he is – well done Wolves. He is so light on his feet and can get through gaps that don't seem to be there. He looks a star in the making – and a goal scorer.

Deslandes had 30 minutes on for Vinagre and kept things simple. Row Z was as safe as anywhere when it came to easing the pressure.

Marshall also played 30 minutes, replacing Cav. He never seems to be at full speed, I am hoping he does have another gear to move into. Had a perfect chance to get on the score sheet but shot tamely at the keeper.

Onwards and upwards Wolves. Another happy away day, a decent performance with a few shining lights and a defensive setup that looks to be working well.

Rob Cartwright

What's your verdict on the match? Another fantastic away day; another challenge with a different type of game; another test 'passed' by this team of young Europeans mixed with some old school.

Don't we love a day out in the East Midlands? Steve Hodge was very critical of Wolves' Portuguese players on local BBC Radio Nottingham. According to him, they have good control, but no final ball, no end result and as such will not impact on the game.

A bit surprising, given that he was recently coaching the infamous "bomb squad" at Wolves. In fairness to him, those comments were made in the first half. Hope he enjoyed his humble pie last night.

Cavaleiro's brilliant cross for Jota's first goal was all the more enjoyable. Then I'm sure I noticed some end result when Bonatini and Jota combined well for the second. It really was a brilliant move, goal and winner, made by the best two players on the pitch. Well done too for the ref who waved 'play on'.

In all honesty the first half was a cagey affair. Forest played a little better than I expected, Wolves were working hard but did not find their usual rhythm. Poor distribution meant we were giving possession away too easily. Cavaleiro, Saiss and Batth were the main culprits. In fairness, they were all working hard to win the ball back, as was the rest of the team.

Forest had most possession but I think we looked comfortable and most likely to score.

In the second half, we went for it straight away. Clearly, Nuno had instructed them to step the pace up and play with more attacking intent. It worked, with Forest chasing shadows on a number of occasions. We were on top for most of the second half and looked increasingly likely to score.

Some of the football was brilliant, once more.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Jota was immense. Bar far the best player on the pitch. He gets fouled, but just gets up and carries on. Not fazed by having two men marking him, he took on three defenders and came out with the ball on two occasions in the second half. He can tackle, he can pass and he can score. What a signing.

Big shout out to Leo Bonatini too. He gets through a tremendous amount of work, much of it is off the ball and is not so noticed, but his contribution was top notch.

Coady and Miranda were very cool and collected.

I do think we are missing both Douglas and Boly, though both their replacements are doing well.

Ruddy had a difficult game. He appeared to misread the long distance shot for their equaliser. However, he also did make a good save, after we had retaken the lead.

All in all, a great result. Fabulous performance and a fantastic away day.

Thanks to Punjabi Wolves for a great party outside the ground after the game. Hope you can make it to Sheffield.

Russ Evers (Hatherton Wolves)

What's your verdict on the match? As Mr Human League Sid stated, this report could simply be two words..."Jota. Frightening".

Easily the best player I have ever seen in a Wolves shirt and there have been a few good ones to choose from. Like others, Forest tried to kick him off the pitch but failed.

First half was a decent away performance with our defence winning most headers and tackles and looking strong and composed.

Almost straight from the restart the otherwise hapless Cavaleiro put in his one good cross for Diego to tap in at the far post and 10 minutes from time it was Jota again after a criminal challenge on Bonatini that should have been arrestable and would surely have been a red card had we not scored.

Three big points against a decent side. Onwards and hopefully further upwards.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? Ruddy only made one save – a good one at that but would have been disappointed with their goal.

Miranda had his best game in a Wolves shirt and the wing backs impressed again despite the knock to Vinagre (who was assaulted).

Natalie Wood

What's your verdict on the match? Really disappointing first half. We could hardly string two passes together. Cav didn't seem to have a clue what he was doing. Saiss and Neves looked completely out of the game. Luckily Forest were just as poor!

Second half however was a completely different story! Cav did still look a bit off the ball but he produced when he needed and that really is all that mattered.

Vinagre was superb down the wing. We really deserved our lead and while Forest's equaliser was an excellent bit of skill you do have to question Ruddy's positioning. However he did redeem himself towards the end with an excellent save!

Conor Coady for me is a bit of an unsung hero – he has been excellent at the back, a true leader. Danny Batth and Miranda both looked a bit shaky and snapped at a few clearances which nearly led to some trouble. They both just need to work on their composure and take their time when they can.

What was great though was the team's reaction to the equaliser, I think the vast majority of fans (myself included) were still confident we would get the victory.

Who played well – and who didn't impress? There was a real stand-out player during the match and that was Jota. He read the game exceptionally, he saw what runs people were going to make before even the player themselves realised.

A true class act that I think Wolves fans are very lucky to be watching every week. I sense (and hope) a new record transfer fee is coming!

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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