The weekend started with Wolves holding a 12 point lead at the top. They had no pressure to go into the weekend to win at any cost with the next side Derby County stuck at 49 points. However, the Wanderers were expected not to have much of a difficulty this weekend in disposing of a side who are 19th in the table currently and were 35 points behind the league leaders prior to kick off.
As the match progressed, it turned out to be a frustrating night for the league leaders who were held to an unlikely 0-0 draw. Their weekend frustration has grown even bigger, with Derby County securing a solid 3-0 win against Birmingham City to cut down the lead at the top to just 10 points.
The expensively assembled Wolves side, who are now being linked with names of great stature in this January window are expected to qualify for the riches of the English Premier League come May 2018. With the Championship trophy as well expected to head their way, Wolves are busy in the market with their owners ready to splash the cash to bring in quality players to their squad.
Although they can continue to buy players next season as well after qualifying for the English Premier League, one legal loophole which the Wolves side will be keen to take advantage of is the absence of the Financial Fair Play rules in the Championships. It means they can buy any player they want now without having to worry about their balancing their books, something they will not find easy if they qualify for England’s premier league competition next season, especially given the teams they will be competing against.
It is this essential factor that makes this January transfer window absolutely crucial for Wolves and in order to attract the biggest players from bigger leagues, their side can show no sign of weakness or mediocrity, something that was found in plenty in tonight’s performance against Barnsley.
Wolverhampton Wanderers now stand on 62 points from their 27 matches but more importantly, they have their monstrous 12 point lead at the top cut down to 10 and thereby given second placed team Derby County standing on 52 points a slight sniff of the peak.
On a disappointing night for the Wolves, here is how the players performed.
John Ruddy – 6.5
It was another comfortable evening for Ruddy as he had nothing much to do to secure his 15th clean sheet of the season.
Ryan Bennett – 6.5
No heroics needed this time from him with Barnsley providing little attacking threat.
Conor Coady – 6.5
Led the defensive organization well for his team.
Willy Boly – 7.5
Defensively he was the best player for his team on the night.
Matt Doherty – 6.5
A rather insipid display from Doherty as he had a decent attempt blocked.
Romain Saiss – 7
Was perhaps the least poor of all the Wolves players on the night.
Ruben Neves – 6.5
A rather dry performance from the Portuguese.
Barry Douglas – 6.5
Needed more from him on the flanks to help his team out
Helder Costa – 6
Ineffective in attack
Leo Bonatini – 6
The 12 goal Brazilian had a disappointing night up front
Diogo Jota – 6.5
Frustrating night for the talented youngster as he hit the bar with a good effort
Ivan Cavaleiro – 6
Could not do much to break the deadlock
Rafa Mir: N/A
Alfred N’Diyae: N/A
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