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Talking Tactics

Podence and Jonny give Wolves a cutting edge

Adrian Clarke 5 Apr 2022
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Adrian Clarke says Newcastle need to be wary of Wolves' diminutive and in-form duo

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 32.

Daniel Podence (WOL)

Although he has been in and out of the starting XI this season, Podence is now the player who makes Wolverhampton Wanderers tick.

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Despite making only 15 starts, skilful Podence has created more chances than anyone else at Molineux in 2021/22, with 35, including eight in his last three outings.

The 26-year-old is excellent at finding pockets of space between the lines or darting into the box with a sharp run, making him tricky to mark.

Fashioning seven big chances, four more than any of his team-mates, Podence is someone Newcastle United must keep at arm's length when they host Bruno Lage's side on Friday.

Wolves with/without Podence
2021/22 Podence starts Non-Podence starts
Matches 15 16
Goals scored 22 11
Ave. goals scored 1.5 0.7

Wolves are a relatively low-scoring side, with only five teams netting fewer goals. But they have been brighter as an attacking force in recent matches.

Netting nine times in their last four matches, they have definitely been sharper in the opposition half.

Wolves 4-0 Watford highlights

Podence has provided the spark, playing in a role where he pops up to the left or right of the main striker, using his movement to unsettle defenders.

Wolves have scored considerably more goals with him in the side in 2021/22

Podence's attacking influence 2021/22
Player Key passes in open play Mins/key pass
Daniel Podence 33 44.4
Raul Jimenez 31 69.7
Joao Moutinho 21 111.9
Nelson Semedo 16 124.6
Ruben Neves 15 151.3

While fellow attacking midfielder Trincao, on loan from Barcelona, has caught the eye in an imaginative sense, it is Podence who delivers the end product most consistently in the starting XI.

Creating a chance every 44.4 minutes, he is by some distance the man most likely to unlock Newcastle's defence at St James' Park.

Jonny

Wing-back Jonny is another on-song Wolves star who could make a big impression on Tyneside.

The Spain international has been excellent since returning from a long-term knee injury, scoring in his last two starts.

Jonny's goal v Aston Villa

Prior to that 10-month spell on the sidelines, Jonny had shone as a left wing-back under Nuno Espirito Santo, but Lage prefers him on the opposite flank.

His duel with Newcastle left-back Matt Targett could be fascinating.

Wolves' attacking stats per 90
                 Chances created                    Shots on target
Podence 2.15 Trincao 0.96
Jonny 1.42 Podence 0.92
Jimenez 1.29 Jonny 0.61
Big chances created Succ. open-play crosses
Podence 0.43 Jonny 0.81
Jonny 0.20 Podence 0.61
Ait-Nouri 0.20 Marcal 0.59

It has been a struggle for Wolves to consistently offer a goal threat this term but in-form Podence and Jonny have had a galvanising effect in recent weeks.

They are a pair of diminutive talents who can play a big part for Wolves between now and the end of the campaign.

Also in this series

Part 2: Fred relishing more advanced role under Rangnick
Part 3: Foden's pace and movement can torment Liverpool again
Part 4: Rashica ready to step up in key battle with Burnley

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