And breathe... we dissect Wolves' famous derby day win

A dramatic victory like the one Wolves pulled off at Villa can often paper over the cracks.

Bruno Lage (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Bruno Lage (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

In many ways it did, but Wolves also showed fight, passion and determination. They showed bottle – an accusation thrown at them in the past as a trait they’ve lacked.

It was far from perfect, but it was another three points secured, and as always it threw up some interesting talking points.

An unlikely victory

As the game approached the final 10 minutes of normal time, a Wolves comeback from 2-0 down looked impossible.

Although they had begun to see more of the ball, as Villa dropped deeper, Wolves had also been fairly poor all afternoon.

Some tidy play, including a wonderful pass from Ruben Neves, set up the first goal and from there Villa’s incredible collapse – and a bit of luck – helped Wolves snatch a victory.

It’s interesting how the landscape can change so dramatically, too. After the Brentford defeat, Wolves had lost four of their opening five Premier League games, with a win at Watford the only saving grace.

But including the Watford and Brentford results – and taking into account the three consecutive wins since – Wolves have now won four of their last five games.

Losing when you’re playing well, as they did in the first three games, is only redeemed when you start to pick up points and Wolves are now winning when playing below par.

A lack of impressive and complete performances is a concern in isolation, but if they continue to win supporters will hardly care.

In reality, they do need to get back to their standards of earlier in the season. If not, they will soon be punished by better teams when the luck runs out.

Tactical controversy

Despite Wolves eventually coming away with a win at Villa, it is fair to say the tactics left many confused. Matching the hosts’ 3-5-2 seemed sensible, playing away from home in a derby game, but the distinct lack of a link between midfield and attack was alarming.

Hwang Hee-chan was poor, while Adama Traore only had chances that he created completely by by himself. Leander Dendoncker, meanwhile, was almost playing as an inside forward while the wing-backs struggled to get into attacking areas. It seemed disjointed from Wolves who looked devoid of an identity.

Leaving Raul Jimenez out was brave, but understandable given his international duty exploits with Mexico.

What was odd, however, was how long it took for substitutions to come on when the team was crying out for them.

Bruno Lage has done plenty of good as Wolves boss in his short tenure and the win – alongside the team’s current good run – is huge, but it somewhat feels that he got away with this one.

Podence’s impact

When Lage finally made a change, however, Daniel Podence impressed. Alongside his quick feet and speed, he is a far more intelligent footballer than he gets credit for. He takes up great positions and has an eye for a pass.

The winger is staking a claim for a starting spot but so far, his impact off the bench has been superb.

Fabio Silva also deserves a mention as he stretched the Villa defence when he was introduced and proved to be a good foil for his team-mates.

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