It’s funny how much of an effect one event can have you, isn’t it? I remember back at the end of August when we had failed to sign a striker on deadline day, I was livid, angry, upset and a whole host of other emotions which I rarely experience just because of our lack of striker. Reflecting back on that, I might have been a little hasty as we had Bonatini and he’s done alright hasn’t he? That didn’t stop the same wave of emotion coming over me again this time around, though as I started to think of ‘what if’ scenarios like there was no tomorrow. What if Bonatini gets injured? What if Jota gets injured as well? What if Cavaleiro gets suspended? So on and so forth. This time though, we did sign a striker on deadline day. An old friend returned.
Two Big Signings
Before I refer to the old friend, I just want to say how happy I am that we’ve agreed a permanent deal for Diogo Jota in the summer. We thought we were lucky to have Helder Costa last season and we were, but this kid is on a completely different planet to Costa, let alone the rest of the attacking players we’ve got. He glides beyond players and the ball just sticks to him, it’s almost as if there are little magnets in the ball and some in his boots because he keeps the ball that close to him. Something which perhaps you don’t expect in the Mediterranean forward, he gets back up everytime he gets knocked down and gets on with it, which is great to see, although, he does lose his head at times, but he’s one helluva player and I can’t wait to see what he does next season.
Right, back to the old friend. Benik. Benik Afobe. It was going on all of deadline day and was done at the wire. Bournemouth played at Stamford Bridge on the same day and once he was left out of the squad, I knew there was a chance. It was finally announced after the window had shut on Sky Sports News and there was a sense of relief and elation as I knew this was all that was required to make sure we had the C next to us come the end of the season. Yes, we probably needed a RWB as well, but that was all forgotten as Benik was back and he marked his return by deleting Bournemouth off Instagram, following Wolves and uploading a video him scoring versus Bournemouth. Want to know the best bit? He’s only on loan. Yeah, I don’t give a shit about Instagram either, but it’s funny when you think about it.
The Stage Was Set
So, the stage was set. Afobe was back and we were playing in front of a full house on Sky; we were top of the league and Sheffield United lost during the week. The Wolves I’ve always known would have drawn this at best and that would have been that, not Nuno’s Wolves, though. Credit to Sheffield United, they looked handy at times, however, the goals were brilliant and all for different reasons. The first was another worldy from Neves as his effort from the edge of the box went in off the post, the second, was probably better. Costa was involved in the build-up before the ball ended up at the feet of Doherty and he pulled it back to the edge of the area to the aforementioned Jota who played a first-time one-two with Cavaleiro and then put it past the keeper. If it was in the Premier League, everyone would be saying what a good goal it was, never mind, they can wait ‘til next year.
The third goal was special for a completely different reason. Jota was about to pick the ball up but got pole-axed by the Sheffield United keeper who was rightly sent off. From the resulting free-kick, Cavaleiro’s last action on the pitch was to put it in the bottom right-hand corner, aided by a deflection from Leon Clarke. The free-kick wasn’t all that, but the smile on Nuno’s face when it went in was amazing as he looked like the cat that had well and truly got the cream. It’s an exciting time to watch Wolves, it really is and some of the stuff we played on Saturday looked like we were well and truly back to our best.
In a game of many positives, Costa was another. He looked back to his deadly self as he tore the ‘Blades’ defence a new arsehole at times and he was unlucky not to get an assist after nutmegging one of their helpless defenders and pulling it back to Cavaleiro, who just couldn’t quite make the right contact with the ball as their keeper comfortably saved. Gibbs-White looked a bit of alright as well as he made another cameo, you just know he’s going to be a star in the future. N’Diaye as well, his pass success rate was 98% and you can’t see fairer than that. Neves is just Neves, I could talk about him forever. And then there’s Afobe. He was a menace for the short amount of time he was on and looks like he will give us a different dimension moving forward, which can only be viewed as a good thing.
The Only Goal Is Winning
This weekend sees us try and right another wrong from earlier in the season as QPR travel to Molineux. When we played them at Loftus Road in what I believe was October, we struggled. The pitch was tight and compact and we couldn’t get into our rhythm, regardless of any of that, both of the goals they scored were totally unavoidable as it was down to lax defending, Boly is here this time though, so maybe we will be ok. We should be, they’re shite. Ian Holloway is a pain as well, I used to like him when he was at Blackpool but now he’s evolved into someone who I wouldn’t tire hitting in the face with a frying pan.
Finally, I just want to touch on Fosun’s conference that was hosted by Guo Guangchang, who is the companies chairman, so essentially, he is the bloke that owns Wolves. Now, Fosun is a massive Chinese company who make a gazillion pound a day or something along them lines so Wolves aren’t their biggest investment by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ve now changed their colours to gold and black to match with ours. Guo also used our last-gasp win against Bristol City in his presentation which was to do with teamwork and referred to the only goal is winning, none of that taking part bollocks. We are going places under these, I’m telling ya.
I don’t know how big we’ll be as surely there’s a ceiling to what we can do (?), but we are backed by a company who mean business and they’ve got deep, deep pockets. All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, we’ll go for the same thing we went for last week because it went so well, Wolves HT/FT @ 6/5. All aboard.