Tag Archives: Ruben Neves

Premier League Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers V Leeds United

Friday night football sees Leeds visit Molineux to face Wolves. Last time out Wolves came from a goal behind to beat Southampton 2-1. A Ruben Neves penalty and a Pedro Neto goal giving the visitor’s the win. Leeds last game found themselves three goals down at half time in their last match at Arsenal. They went four behind shortly after half time but did manage to pull two goals back – Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa scoring.

Just two points separate the sides in the table with Leeds in 11th and Wolves in 12th. Leeds do have a game in hand and could be five points clear of their opponents with a win.

Recent Meetings

Leeds have the edge on overall meetings with 42 wins to Wolves 34. Recent fixtures between the side however have gone with Wolves. Wolves have won the last four games. Leeds last victory against Wolves came in a Championship game in 2016, Kermar Roofe getting the only goal.

Team News

For Wolves Will Boly and Daniel Podence will both miss out. They have both started some rehabilitation training. Raul Jimenez has also begun training however mostly individual sessions.

Leeds have serval players out for this game, Ian Poveda, Adam Forshaw, Robin Koch and Gaetano Berardi are all out. Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa has also ruled out Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo. However there is good news for Leeds fans as Mateusz Klich and Diego Llorente will be available.

Managers Thoughts

Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo spoke about the need to improve and the unique style of Leeds:

“We are always trying to improve, trying to reach our best performances by playing good and being consistent, and working hard to achieve that. We are lacking a lot of things that we are trying to search for in games.

“We’ve been able to improve some aspects of our defensive organisation, but not yet the full perfection. There’s still a lot of mistakes that we make in games that we want to try to avoid.

“We cannot say when we’re going to reach our best because there’s never that best, always new things, things to improve, things that went bad and not so good, so our approach basically is improving match after match. That way will lead us to the higher standards we want to achieve.

“In the game at Southampton all the team, if you regard the work the boys did, was fantastic. It’s very difficult to play against Southampton, always very tight games, and the boys gave a good answer, especially in the second-half.

“The way all the team engaged in the pressing and recovery of the ball was very good, so I was pleased with the full attitude of the team.

“Special and unique the way they approach the game. We’ve been able to see they have a fantastic squad and a special manager, Marcelo Bielsa is undoubtedly one of the greatest managers, and what we realise is they are very competitive – it will require the best of us.

“The tactical approach they have, man to man all over the pitch, it’s unique in the Premier League. It’s very difficult for all the opponents because, apart from what they do that is unique, they have talent and fitness. Besides that, a very talented squad.”

Leeds Head coach Marcelo Bielsa understands that his side are in for tough game on Friday:

“They’re a team who can play in different tactical schemes,

“When they need to make changes they can bring on a substitute which doesn’t alter the quality of the team. 

“They have wingers who are very good and it’s not easy to find good wingers in football at the moment.  

“They defend well without this preventing them from attacking and when they attack they are always cautious of what they leave behind. 

“Very few times have I seen them completely dominated.”

Key Players

For Wolves Pedro Neto with five goals and four assists is Wolves highest rated player according to whoscored.com. Nuno Espirito Santo praised the commitment and effort of the 20 year old:

“I’m very pleased [with Neto] because he’s always committed to the training sessions, committed to the games, committed to the process of learning and improving. His dedication makes me very pleased.”

For Leeds Patrick Bamford’s form has been a key to their good position since gaining promotion last season. Bamford has 12 goals so far and more often than not when he scores Leeds win. He has also got five assists and has a whoscored.com rating of 7.15.

Prediction: Wolves 1 – 2 Leeds

How to solve a problem like Fernandinho? 3 possible replacements

The clock is ticking at Manchester City, not on their time as a trophy-collecting force but on their time to replace maybe the most important cog in the city machine, Fernandinho

The Brazilian Dynamo, now 33, won’t have too many seasons left at the top level and the race is on to find a successor to the defensive midfielder’s throne, City will sincerely miss what he brings to the team and a replacement search is underway.

The Premier League champions seemingly have a world-class alternative in every position apart from the defensive midfield slot occupied by Fernandinho. His part in breaking up plays and starting lightning quick attacks can’t be underestimated and is sorely missed when he is absent from the side. Manager Pep Guardiola has used Fabian Delph and even John Stones in the position to limited success.

So who could City turn to? We look at 3 possible replacements for the Brazilian

  1. Ruben Neves

The most heavily linked player and with good reason, his displays in the Championship last season were very impressive and it’s thought that City assessed Neves in the summer but was maybe hesitant to pull the trigger and needed to see how he fared in the Premier League this season. Well, his season so far wouldn’t dissuade Pep from thinking he could fit into his incredible side, his passing from midfield and also his ability to read the game and break up play is kin to Fernandinho. Neves is also not shy to shoot from outside the box to devastating effect thus adding another facet to City’s already formidable attack. The Portuguese has experience of the Premier League and also the Champions League in his time with Porto, at 21 he has time to adapt to the role if needed. Neves’ signature will no doubt come with a hefty price tag but Manchester City’s power in the transfer market should be able to make any deal happen.

2. Tanguy Ndombele

The French midfielder 22, has caught the eye of every top club in Europe with dazzling displays in Ligue 1 and the Champions League with Lyon, the latter of which saw him come face to face with Manchester City in the group stage where Guardiola had a front row seat to see a possible replacement for the defensive midfield position.

Over the two ties Ndombele was a powerful force in the Lyon midfield, handling his role excellently against the Premier League juggernauts, he moved out of midfield with power and pace, set up chances and was named man of the match by Sky Sports in the 2-2 second fixture. City has been rumoured to have made contact with the French club about a possible move but will need to fight cross-city rivals Manchester United and Italian champions Juventus for the Frenchman’s signature.

3. Douglas Luiz/Ante Palaversa

Could the heir to Fernandinho be closer to home? 2 young talents on loan at Girona and Hadjuk Split respectively have been highly rated by Guardiola and with the Spaniard’s skill at player development, it could save City a lot of money and time if they could fill the role.

Douglas Luiz 20, joined City from Brazilian Giants Vasco Da Gama last season for £10.8m and was a part of Citys pre-season squad before being sent out on loan to Girona in La Liga due to not being able to gain a work permit Much to Guardiola’s displeasure

The manager from Brazil [Tite] and myself know more than the guys who decide he is not able to play. I am so sad and disappointed for Douglas because he could help us, play with us. He has shown many good things in training sessions and the reason why we spent a lot of money to buy him [£10.7m] is because he is a player with a huge capacity to play for us.

Luiz has put in some great displays for Girona, most notably against Real Madrid, his attributes include his physicality and great technical ability along with his reading of the game which makes Douglas a good fit. Should Luiz obtain a work permit Guardiola could give the young Brazilian the chance he will be looking for.

Also in the City ranks is 18-year-old Croatian Ante Palaversa, signed on deadline day in January for £4.3m from Hadjuk Split, the youngster came through the ranks from the youth team at Hadjuk, and is also a Croatian u19 player and captain. At 6″1, size is on his side, he can play in the defensive midfield position and also further forward making him versatile. Ante also has an eye for goal and is strong in the tackle giving the Croatian familiar qualities needed to play the Fernandinho role. Upon being signed in January Palaversa was immediately loaned straight back to Hadjuk Split for the remainder of this season and all of the 2019/20 season so he may be one for the future.

Whoever Manchester City decide to succeed Fernandinho, they have very big shoes to fill, but with Guardiola’s coaching ability and City’s track record in transfers it’s likely they will make the right decision.

Wayne Edge

 

 

Could​ Wolves swoop for this England International?

After promotion to the Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers have been making big noises in the transfer market after the signing of Portugal international Rui Patricio. The club with the envy of many Championship teams last season as they were able to attract high profile players such as Ruben Neves and Leo Bonatini to name a couple, and went onto win the league title. Now in the big time, they will be looking to improve on their already talented playing squad to ensure they are playing in English footballs top flight for many years to come.

With this in mind, the club is linked with England international Jack Wilshere.

The Sun is reporting that Wolves are one of a number of clubs who are linked with the midfielder. Since announcing he is going to leave Arsenal the other week, there has been plenty of speculation as to where he will be playing his football next season with West Ham one of the early front-runners for Wilshere, but reports in the Daily Star today suggest there is a stumbling block as the ‘Hammers’ are only willing to offer him a one-year deal.

If Wilshere isn’t willing to sign a one-year contract with West Ham, then Wolves should look to advantage and make a swoop for him. Despite the club already blessed in the midfield with the likes of Ruben Neves and Romain Saiss, having a creative midfielder with Premier League experience could prove crucial next season.

Wolves fans would you like to see Jack Wilshere at Molineux next season? Let us know in the comments section…