It wasn’t pretty, but another goal from Miguel Almiron, a strong defensive effort and some top saves from Martin Dubravka handed us a hard fought point at Molnieux today.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with our marks out of 10:
Dubravka – 9 – Not for the first time this season, this is a game we would’ve lost if it wasn’t for the Slovakian’s heroics in between the sticks. He made one outstanding stop in the first half to deny Jimenez’s point-blank header with an outstretched leg and bailed us out in the second half too, clawing Neto’s goal-bound effort to safety just as they looked set to make it 2-1. He was at fault when conceding late in our 1-1 draw at Wolves last season, but he was one of the key reasons we came away with a result today.
Hayden – 7 – With Manquillo, Yedlin and Krafth all missing through injury, the midfielder was drafted in at right wing-back today – and he did a solid job. Made a few well timed sliding tackles and didn’t allow Jonny or Neto to get a great deal of joy down his side.
Fernandez – 6 – A tale of two halves for the Argentine. Struggled in the first half, losing Dendonker too easily for their goal, being caught under the ball for Jimenez’s point blank header and gave away a few cynical fouls after being beaten for pace. He responded well in the second half, however, making a few key headed clearances when Wolves flung balls into the box late on. Not his best day, but a better second 45 after an iffy start.
Clark – 7 – Our best centre-back today for me. Did very little wrong, putting his body on the line when he needed to and weigheing in with a few big interventions late on to keep Jimenez quiet. They didn’t manage to throw a great deal at us, but he put in a no nonsense and committed display.
Dummett – N/A – Went off holding his hamstring just 13 minutes in. A real shame on his first start for over a month.
Willems – 7 – Made a good run and clever pass inside in the build up to Almiron’s goal, but didn’t always get tight enough to Traore in the first half, being beaten easily on occasions. That said, he stuck to his task and frustrated the ex-Barca youngster in the second half and looked after the ball well the odd time he managed to break into Wolves’ half.
M. Longstaff – 7 – A dogged performance from the local lad, who was given another chance alongside his brother today. Showed his youthful naivety at times, getting a little over excited with the odd mistimed tackle or pass which wasn’t on, but gave us great energy in the middle and cleared one goal-bound effort off line early in the second half.
S. Longstaff – 6 – A solid display, even if it’s clear the Man Utd-linked midfielder isn’t quite playing with the same confidence and grace he was when he broke onto the scene early last year. Some tidy passes and plenty effort.
Almiron – 9* – Outstanding at both ends of the pitch. Took his goal brilliantly, smashing into the top corner past Patricio, and was our best outfield player throughout. Not only wanted the ball, took players on and looked more confident, but also made some great runs into the box – something that paid dividends for his goal. He did much more than just find the back of the net too, not only being our most lively threat in attack and a constant out ball, but also doing brilliantly to get back and help Jetro Willems out against the dangerous Adama Traore. I’m convinced the lad has a limitless amount of energy. Great to see him not only scoring but putting in such a superb all round display.
Joelinton – 5 – Another frustrating watch as far as the Brazilian is concerned. He looked more comfortable out wide early on, dropping deep and linking up, but struggled to get into the game or hold the ball up when he was played as a lone striker following Gayle’s early withdrawal. In his defence, Bruce has revealed that he played with a groin injury and we did leave him too isolated at times, but he needs to do the basics better.
Gayle – 7 – A lively and productive display during the 28 minutes he managed before going off with another hamstring injury. Won the ball back from Wolves player on several occasions, showed good movement and played a key role in our goal, not only guiding the ball wide to Willems and cleverly flicking his resultant cross into Almiron’s path to bag an assist moments later. Promising signs, but yet another injury looks set to keep him on the sidelines.
Lejeune – 6 – Came on in the early stages after Dummett pulled up and played in the centre of a back three. Sliced a pass which ended up leading to the corner Wolves scored from, but recovered well with some good reading of the play and strong headers in the second half.
Atsu – 4 – He ran rings around Rochdale last weekend, but was pretty woeful today. Played over an hour, coming on for Gayle 28 minutes in, but offered so little. Misplaced passes, loose touches, gave away a few cheap free kicks and failed to use his pace effectively the odd time we had the chance to counter.
Carroll – N/A – Wasn’t really on long enough to get a rating, but immediately offered more presence and fight than Joelinton, giving us a target to hit when we went long.