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Dave Edwards: Wolves opportunity missed – but upcoming games are key

These last two games have definitely been a missed opportunity for Wolves.

Ki-Jana Hoever (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Ki-Jana Hoever (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

Both the Arsenal and West Ham games were on a knife-edge and mistakes led to goals in both – Wolves could have had four points from the those clashes and then the dream would really be on.

But, you have to look at the whole picture in perspective and they’re still in a wonderful position.

It feels like Wolves are not a million miles away. They’re close and hopefully another season of Bruno Lage and some additions in the summer, next season these are the sort of games they could be coming away with some points.

It was a surprise with some of the team changes we saw against West Ham. I could see why he did it, considering the quick turnaround and the effort that went into the Arsenal game, but I was surprised he made so many changes.

It’s hard when players come in from the cold. It would be better if Fabio Silva was dropped into a team with 10 lads who have been playing every week, but it’s difficult to have the connection and relationship with a changed team. In a game where no-one really did anything, Fabio Silva did really well. He looks stronger and fitter and his hold-up play was excellent at times.

He’s arguably offered more than Raul Jimenez in recent weeks. Not to say he should start ahead of him, but he can be really pleased with his performance. It’s important he keeps getting minutes.

In particular I thought the wing-backs were poor, which was a real shame. Ki-Jana Hoever hadn’t played this year, so it was a huge ask for him, but you could tell he was off the pace.

Fernando Marcal is a lot more reserved and more of a left-back, so you won’t get him bombing down that left side, which really restricted Wolves in the way they played.

Once Wolves allowed West Ham to get back in their shape, which we did a little bit too easily without enough pace on the pitch, they were very quick to go backwards and retain possession.

It works well at times but the goal in the win over West Ham at home came from a quick move, but Wolves wanted to control the game too much rather than be quicker in the transition. We didn’t hurt them.

West Ham are very strong through the spine of their team with Antonio, Soucek, Rice, Dawson and Zouma – Wolves had to be quicker to move it wide and get around the back. You have to give Bruno Lage credit for the way he goes for games with the number of attackers on the pitch, but it felt very hopeful and they could have been more strategic. I think Wolves are a better team than West Ham but I think Wolves are not quite at Arsenal’s level – and seventh or eighth is probably where they are this season.

Wolves have some good fixtures coming up against teams lower in the division and previously they would have worried me, as the team did tends to get up for the bigger games, but I do think Bruno Lage has put that right in recent months.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to put these last two games right, with four of the next six home. The fans will play a big part. I always say when there’s a big game at Molineux that the fans are easily the 12th man. It’s cliché, but they are, you can sense it.

But when a lesser team comes you can almost feel that the fans are waiting to be entertained. The players will need the fans as much as the fans will need the players. It’s important that Molineux is hostile and loud.

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