Thursday, February 9, 2023

Wolves must get the best from Guedes

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New Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui faces a challenge of epic proportions, with the club struggling at the bottom of the Premier League table having won just twice in 15 matches so far this season.

The Old Gold’s goalscoring woes have carried on from last season – where they netted just 38 goals in 38 league matches – as they have scored a measly eight Premier League goals.

Can Lopetegui save Wolves?

Former manager Bruno Lage splashed the cash in the summer transfer window, bringing in Matheus Nunes for £38m, Sasa Kalajdzic for £15.5m, and Portuguese forward Goncalo Guedes from Valencia for £27.5m.

The first two haven’t really made much of an impression so far – although Kalajdzic has only featured once due to injury – but it is Guedes who Lopetegui will need to get the best out of in order to galvanise Wolves’ season.

Having scored 11 La Liga goals last season, chipping in with a further six assists, much was expected of the forward when he joined the Molineux side, however, his first couple of months didn’t go to plan.

In his first ten Premier League matches for Wolves, the 25-year-old had registered just one assist, and with the club dying for someone to ignite a spark and score some goals, it was a poor start.

Against Brighton and Hove Albion at the start of the month, however, he found his form, averaging a SofaScore rating of 7.5/10 and finally bagging his first goal for the club.

The Old Gold lost 3-2, but it was a sign of things to come for Guedes, with the forward again impressing in another defeat, this time to Arsenal, a week later.

He was a menace against the Gunners, taking four shots in total, having two dribble attempts, and winning five out of his eight duels throughout the encounter.

Lopetegui must utilise him in a more central role like Steve Davis did against Arsenal, and over time, he will become a force to be reckoned with for the 56-year-old.

Guedes was dubbed a “special talent” by analytics site Between the Lines previously and when the league season resumes on Boxing Day, he will have the chance to vindicate this praise and help Wolves maintain their top-flight status.

Numisteamone

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