Wolves finally kicked off their much anticipated first game back in the Premier League, last Saturday in a deafening and vibrant Molineux. The game was of great interest to Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players as much was made of the potential of some of the Wolves players this season. So, after drawing 2-2 against Everton what did we learn?
Ruben Neves a viable 5th midfield option
The Portugal international made his Premier League debut and was undoubtedly the star of the show. Neves scored a fantastic free-kick and then set up the equalising goal later in the game. If you have been following me for a while now, you will know just how much I rate Neves, so I was not surprised to see him show the world just how good he really is. He has already gained a price rise in FPL becoming 5.1m and I have a feeling it may rise again. Before the season began I wrote about how Neves might not be the best pick if you want a midfielder to deliver consistent returns. I did make a case for him being a decent budget option and now this is looking even more viable. His biggest pull is clearly his ability on free-kicks. With Barry Douglas not at the club anymore Neves will have sole responsibility on them and is often lethal. To see him get an assist already was pleasing to see as last season he only managed one. One thing you cannot expect from owning him though like I already said is consistent returns so always keep that in mind if you are not playing five in midfield.
Wolves defence may change soon
Once the starting eleven was announced, I saw many FPL fans tweeting about how Ryan Bennett who is valued at 4.0m on the game would be one to watch. It was certainly a one off and I would be surprised to see Bennett start against Leicester on Saturday. This is because of the signing on Leander Dendonker from Anderlecht. The Belgian international can play in centre midfield but more crucially at centre-back. This is where he will most certainly play for Wolves as it is unlikely he will dislodge Neves and Joao Moutinho in midfield. We needed a new centre-back as we were looking light in quality there before he signed. Wolves looked unusually shaky at the back on Saturday and did not play to the best of their ability. Matt Doherty especially had a tough game against Richarlison and could be at threat of being dropped. This is due to Jonny Otto being naturally right footed, Nuno could switch him to the right and then start Ruben Vinagre on the left to bring more balance to the side. Personally, I think this will happen eventually. Vinagre came on against Everton and instantly provided a threat down the left. The 19-year-old will be one to watch if he does get consistent starts as his natural game should lead to him getting attacking returns.
Helder Costa looking over his shoulder
After having a great pre-season and looking back to his best, it was a real disappointment that Helder Costa produced a very uncharacteristic performance. The usually fleet footed winger seemed to lack conviction and played within himself. At 5.0m he was something of a bargain as he was always going to start the first game of the season, but his performance will have put some managers right off. The signing of Adama Traore from Middlesbrough is certainly ominous for Costa as Nuno was reported to have really wanted Traore and is now Wolves record transfer. With Traore still recovering from injury and Ivan Cavaleiro being out for over a month, Costa will get a stay of execution on Saturday against Leicester and must perform, otherwise the chop will be on the way and he will become the classic case of great pre-season but does little in the real season. He certainly has the ability but if he can realise it on the pitch remains to be seen.
Raul Jimenez viable budget striker?
Wolves’ new number nine Raul Jimenez started off his season with a well taken and deserved goal to secure his side a point. The powerful Mexican forward impressed me in our final pre-season game against Villareal and did so again here. He was a constant problem for the Everton defence as he can mix up his game and go in behind or show for the ball and bring others into the game. He is also clearly a threat from set pieces with his size and aerial ability. He constantly pressed and harassed the Everton backline and did cause mistakes from them which we should have capitalised on better which could have led to an assist for him. With all these characteristics and playing in a decent team his current value at 5.5m makes him a fantastic option for a third striker choice. He is pretty much guaranteed to start games and if he continues in the same vein should at least get a double figure tally in goals this season. I backed him to cause problems against the Everton defence and selected him in my FPL side so gracias for the goal Raul!