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Dave Edwards: Have Wolves ever had a better midfield pairing?

I wrote that December would be season-defining to see whether or not Wolves would finish in the top half.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ruben Neves (left) celebrates scoring his side second goal with fellow scorer Joao Moutinho
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ruben Neves (left) celebrates scoring his side second goal with fellow scorer Joao Moutinho

Well, it looks like February could also be season-defining to see if Bruno Lage’s men are going to be in the European places!

The head coach deserves so much credit. Many Wolves fans including myself were cynical when he arrived, I always said it’d take time and the transition was huge.

But he made us defensively solid early on, really hard to beat. But in the last three or four weeks we’re starting to see progress in attack, things they’re working on.

They are working on being higher up the pitch and you can see it now. Before December you hoped for the odd set-piece goal and now you’re expecting Wolves to score goals.

It’s an evolving team getting better each week. It was a massive win at Brentford. Wolves have come off the back of big results and followed it up with games like Brentford at home – where they lost 2-0 – but this felt big. You felt the second goal would come.

Wolves fans of generations gone by will be able to put me right, but has there been a better midfield partnership at Molineux?

You look back to the great eras, I’m sure there are people who witnessed the 1950s who will disagree, but in my lifetime one million per cent these are the best midfielders Wolves have had.

Ruben Neves is on course to be an absolute superstar. Joao Moutinho was willing to come to Wolves as a Champions League-level player and is still producing at his age. He’s getting better and better.

I believe Neves is arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League at the moment. The bigger clubs should be knocking Wolves’ door down. He would be a bargain at anything under £100million at the moment, he really would. He does everything you want from a holding midfielder.

There’s rightly a lot of talk about the Portuguese duo, their goals and how they controlled the game, but what I really liked about Saturday’s three-man midfield was Leander Dendoncker. He does come in for some criticism, I don’t think he’s given enough to Wolves this season, but he was pivotal to how Wolves played at Brentford.

You look at reviews and what fans think, they don’t quite see it and think ‘he did OK’ but his runs helped make the goals.

You need to make those runs with three in midfield. He ran all game but the two for the goals, he ran from centrally to the right channel and into the corner, he dragged Ethan Pinnock right out of position and the ball arrives with Moutinho with Brentford’s back three all over the place. Then for the second Pontus Jansson comes to cover Dendoncker, leaves a gaping hole and having the midfielders there on the edge of the box to finish, that shows they were there to win that game.

Both were gorgeous strikes, top finishes. The Portuguese magicians were magnificent but you can’t leave Dendoncker out of the praise.

Meanwhile, the Adama Traore exit speculation persists. I’ve been on both ends of the Traore see-saw in recent weeks – I think I’ve fallen off the see-saw now!

I don’t know what’s best for the club. Last time I wrote it was best to sell him, he looked a bit disinterested, but these last two games – you look at those celebrations – he comes across as someone who wants to be here.

If he can produce like in the last two then he’s one of the best impact players in the world. But is that enough for him? I don’t think it is. I’m sure he wants to play regularly, I still think £20m-plus is a good deal.

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