Wolves 2 Cardiff 0 – player ratings

Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers rates the players after a 2-0 win over Cardiff.

Wolves are unbeaten in their last six league games (© AMA / Molly Darlington)
Wolves are unbeaten in their last six league games (© AMA / Molly Darlington)

John Ruddy

After a slightly nervy start when he spilled a Gunnarsson shot, Ruddy was solid throughout. His quick distribution was a strength and his kicks were mostly on target save for a couple of stray ones. Rarely troubled in the second half. Two clean sheets in row after the Bristol City cup win. 7/10

Ryan Bennett

Didn't get the usual defensive help from Doherty in the first half and he was exposed on a couple of occasions. Having been handed one booking – which sees him suspended for the league games against Chelsea and Burnley – he was fortunate not to earn another for a late tackle. Overall he did well though – rarely gave the ball away and won a number of headers. 7/10

Conor Coady

A solid display from the skipper who wasn't unduly stretched and barely put a foot wrong. Played some really nice passes too. 7/10

Willy Boly

Showcased his brutality – by rising to the physical challenge against Zohore, winning eight headers and clearing the ball eight times – and his gracefulness by playing his part in the first goal, bringing the ball out from the back. 8/10

Adama Traore

Worst jobs in the world: 1) Sewer cleaner. 2) PR for Donald Trump. 3 Marking Adama Traore. The express train was back with a bang and boy did Cardiff know it. You can imagine Sol Bamba and Joe Bennett waking up a cold sweat tonight. Traore literally gave them the runaround, embarking on several explosive jaunts which got the crowd on their feet. On the downside his pass accuracy was down at a pretty shocking 57 per cent, but his first touch looks to have improved and you could tell he was thinking about his team-mates more than he was at the start of the season. Blazed a couple of shots wide too but he deserved his standing ovation. Meep meep. 8/10

Leander Dendoncker

Nuno made five changes but it was telling that he stuck with the now reliable Dendoncker, who won six tackles and four headers and embraced the physical battle in midfield. Almost got on the scoresheet but for the second time in seven days he couldn't convert from close range and was then denied by a superb Etheridge save. 8/10

Morgan Gibbs-White

Some good corners in the first half and he linked up beautifully with Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota for the delightful opener. Produced nice touches and plenty of positivity but did give the ball away too often, with a 70 per cent pass accuracy. 7/10

Romain Saiss

While attention of late has often focused on why Traore isn't in the team, there's a case for saying that Saiss has been far more unfortunate to be left out. Came into the side before Christmas to make a big impact and help spark a winning run, yet the form of Dendoncker has seen him frozen out. Well, performances like this make him almost undroppable. His stats were outstanding – a 90 per cent pass accuracy was the highest of anyone of the field, while 11 headers and 10 clearances were also more than anyone else on either team. Protected the defence, quelled the threat of floating Bobby Reid and ran the midfield. Exceptional. 9/10

Ruben Vinagre

His best performance in a Wolves shirt. More enthusiasm than Liam Gallagher in a swearing competition, more energy than Conor Coady after 15 Red Bulls; this was Vinagre at his bounding best. Only his sixth league start this season but he played without fear and, crucially, combined his penchant for attacking with some good defensive work. Helped stretch Cardiff with his pace and direct approach. Twice came close to scoring but was denied by the excellent Etheridge. And he's only 19 years old. 9/10

Raul Jimenez

Netted his 13th Wolves goal with a simple finish, two minutes after he teed up Diogo Jota's opener. Outstanding work for his goal, winning the ball off Bamba, striding into the box and then combining so effectively with Jota. When they click – which is pretty often – they have a fruitful and prolific partnership. Should have scored again in the second half but shot too close to Etheridge. After a poor performance at Huddersfield he banished any suggestions of fatigue. 8/10

Diogo Jota

Irresistible at times. Wonderful play for the first goal, linking lusciously with Gibbs-White and Jimenez and then netting his sixth strike in 12 games. Added an assist two minutes later. Four dribbles and two shots overall. Withdrawn a minute into the second half – Nuno said it was to add balance to the team, but protecting Jota was surely part of his thinking. 8/10

Substitutes

Matt Doherty (for Jota, 47)

Did the simple things well, particularly defensively. Almost provided an assist when setting up Jimenez for a golden chance. Even produced a Zidane-style pirouette. 7/10

Joao Moutinho (for Gibbs-White, 63)

Kept things ticking along and used the ball wisely. 6/10

Ivan Cavaleiro (for Traore, 75)

A fairly quiet cameo for Cavaleiro as the game drew to a close. 6/10

Subs not used: Norris, Otto, Neves, Costa.

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