Date: 20th January 2021 at 12:30pm
Written by:

Journalist Tim Spiers has spotted a rather worrying trend when it comes to how the team utilise Ruben Neves defensively.

The 23-year-old was caught out somewhat during the loss to rivals West Brom at the weekend, as he was outmuscled by Kyle Bartley in the buildup to the Baggies’ second , which led to Semi Ajayi flicking the ball home past Rui Patricio.

And speaking on the latest edition of The Molineux View podcast, Spiers noticed that there has been a pattern emerging when it comes to who the Portuguese midfielder has been picking up at defensive set-pieces:

“He’s been beaten in the air a few times recently. And I don’t blame him too much, because he’s not the tallest of lads. He was marking against Brighton for their second or third goal the other week, and I think he was marking Kurt Zouma for a chance that Chelsea had a couple of weeks ago.

“So I know they’re not blessed with height, but maybe that’s something they need to look at if this continues, because Neves is not going to beat many players in the box. He’s not in the team to win headers.”

Do you realistically believe that Ruben Neves will be at Molineux for the next ten years?

Yes, if we continue our progression trajectory

Yes, if we continue our progression trajectory

No, realistically he'll get a move to a big club

No, realistically he'll get a move to a big club

TIF Thoughts on Spiers and his take on Neves’ role…

Spiers’ words do point out a major flaw when it comes to Espirito Santo’s side. Whilst they are well known for their attractive, attacking play, that doesn’t equate to being solid at the back defensively. And when you come up against the more physical style of play that Sam Allardyce sides are known for, then you are just asking for trouble.

Perhaps this latest incident can serve as something of a wake-up call to the boss as he looks to get things back on track having slipped back a little bit this season compared to what he’s previously managed in the Premier League with this side.