clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three To Watch: Wolves (H)

Here are the key men to look out for as Reading host the league leaders Wolves.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship
Will this man keep up his impressive goal-scoring record
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves is the new signing at Wolves having completed a shock £15.8 move from Porto, which was club record fee for the Midlands club.

The defensive midfielder has a few impressive numbers to his name. At 17 years-old he became Porto’s youngest ever goalscorer, during the same year he became the youngest ever Portuguese to play in the Champions League - surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo.

At 18 years old he then became the youngest ever player to captain a side in the Champions League, leading his side to victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv. For a 20-year-old that is seriously impressive and makes it even more amazing that Wolves managed to sign him.

In terms of his playing style, Neves is the type of player that is comfortable on the ball and is very able to seek out a pass, something that manager Nuno Espírito Santo values. This can be seen by the fact that he has a pass success rate of 83.9% - the ninth best in the Wolves squad.

However, it is worth noting that Neves has a lower pass success rate than the likes of Joey van den Berg and Leandro Bacuna who each have an better rate of 84.7% and 84.5% respectively. This means that Neves could be slightly vulnerable, if he is pressed by the likes of Bacuna or Dave Edwards.

Additionally, Neves isn't afraid to put a tackle in. He has an average of 2.1 tackles per game - the fifth best in the Wolves squad, meaning that whoever is tasked at providing the creativity could find it tough going against this talented midfielder.

Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota is another new signing having completed a loan move from Atletico Madrid in the summer. Since joining the winger has made an explosive start to life in England with seven goals and three assists in 16 Championship appearances.

To put that into perspective, Jota is just two away from equalling Garath McCleary’s goal tally from last season (9), thus he has already managed to equal Roy Beerens’ goal tally from the last campaign.

The 20-year-old also loves to get shots away, in fact he has average 2.9 per game, the most of anyone in the Wolves team and the sixth best in the league.

He also manages to average 2.6 dribbles per game, which suggests that he’s not afraid of taking on defenders with his pace and trickery. Furthermore, according to WhoScored Jota is rated as the third best player in the Championship this season with an average rating of 7.48. Only Joe Bryan of Bristol City and Sol Bamba of Cardiff have a better rating.

Chris Gunter will therefore have to be on high-alert, as this could be the battle what decides who comes out on top when the two sides meet.

Leo Bonatini

The final player that Reading fans will need to keep an eye on is Leo Bonatini, another new arrival having signed on loan from Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.

Like Jota, the striker has made a fantastic start to his career in England with 10 goals in 16 league appearances, making him the Championships’ leading goal-scorer.

The Brazilian demonstrated his confidence and ability a couple of weeks ago by scoring against Fulham in front of the Sky cameras at Molienux, which earned his side a 2-0 win. Interestingly, according to WhoScored, Jota has assisted three of Bonatini’s goals this season.

This suggests that Wolves’ game plan is to give Jota as much time on the ball as possible and to link up with Bonatini in order to cause opposition defences many problems. Secondly, the 23-year-old is a natural goalscorer having bagged 54 career goals in 134 appearances. Which is fantastic considering he is nowhere near his peak.

It is therefore evident that Bonatini is a brilliant striker, due to his fantastic overall record. As a result, all efforts from the Reading defence should be made at containing this talented striker and disrupting the link between him and Jota.