Fulham 0 Wolves 1 - The Joe Edwards debrief

A thrilling finish to a pretty underwhelming game on the whole saw Wolves come out on top at struggling Fulham.

Kenny Tete (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Willian Jose
Kenny Tete (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Willian Jose

It has been a season short of special moments for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, but Adama Traore’s 92nd-minute right-footed rocket was one worth savouring.

So, let’s go over the big talking points from the success at Craven Cottage.

Traore’s winner

Firstly, fair play to Traore. He has always been a player who has divided opinion among supporters, and this campaign has been a particularly frustrating one for the Spaniard.

For his immense speed and power, he has not scored enough goals or made enough assists in 2020/21.

But this was him at his game-changing best.

Nuno often talks about how unique and special Traore is, and this was a goal which, really, only he could have come up with.

Following up a sensational run and cross to set up Leander Dendoncker against West Ham, he put on the afterburners to latch onto Fabio Silva’s clever pass and thunder the ball beyond the gobsmacked Alphonse Areola.

Like the rest of Wolves, he was quiet for large spells of the game, but he sprung into life when it mattered.

He has created something very special, out of nowhere, in both of the last two matches.

Of course, we all know Traore’s contract situation and how he is yet to sign a new deal.

But if he carries on like this, there is a good chance he will be back in the Spain squad for the Euros, and Wolves, in the short-term at least, are set to benefit.

Offside shocker

With Traore’s strike as well, it meant the major talking point coming out of the match, thankfully, was not the ridiculous offside call which denied Willian Jose his first goal for Wolves. The decision still stings, though.

Daniel Podence’s shoulder was, somehow, found to be in an offside position – despite the images and much-maligned lines not showing him to be visibly beyond Fulham centre-half Terence Kongolo.

These decisions (Liverpool similarly being denied against Villa the next day, too) are downright insulting.

As Nuno remarked, trawling through replays and looking for such minute details is not in the spirit of the game.

You can see why they wanted to bring in VAR but, with the benefit of hindsight, they should have ended it at goal-line technology.

Every goal now comes with a caveat. Players are becoming afraid to celebrate. The game, in truth, is being destroyed.

Either bring in ‘daylight’ when it comes to offsides or just scrap the technology altogether. At this rate, many would be happy to see the back of it.

Hopefully, Jose, having been denied what seemed to be a perfectly good goal, is not too downhearted and can break his duck soon.

Defensive improvement

Creativity in open play remains a problem, but Wolves were far better defensively on Friday night.

On reflection, too, things did seem more solid once they switched back to a 3-4-3.

The move was enforced by Pedro Neto limping off early on with an injury he first sustained with Portugal last month.

And, as mentioned last week, they look more comfortable with three at the back.

Conor Coady had his best performance against Aleksandar Mitrovic to date while Nelson Semedo’s display impressed fans.

The system debate rages on with bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United coming up next.

But Wolves, at the minute, appear best-placed to stick to what they know.

Substitute showings

Lastly, a mention for the substitutes and their part in the late winner.

Morgan Gibbs-White showed good energy and enthusiasm, while Silva continues to make the most of his minutes. He appears to have a strong, positive mindset.

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