Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Brighton this weekend on the back of three wins in their past four league games as they look to provide an unassailable distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
Although the Midlands outfit now sit nine points above the drop zone, scoring goals and mustering sustained periods of creativity have been their two weakest attributes, as the club has only netted 29 goals in 33 Premier League games.
It has plagued their season and who knows, if they possessed some more dynamism in forward areas, they could comfortably be a top-half side.
One player, who possesses an abundance of technique and skill is Pedro Neto, but the winger has been afforded rotten injury luck.
He has now returned to the squad and won the penalty to set up the second goal against Crystal Palace, and it is time to unleash him in the next match.
Should Pedro Neto start against Brighton?
It was the 2020/21 season when the three-cap international made himself known to English football as he delivered a stunning campaign.
Despite his young age and inexperience, he emerged as Bruno Lage’s most influential and productive player. The Portuguese registered five goals and six assists in 31 Premier League appearances to rank the highest in the squad for both these metrics, as per WhoScored.
The 23-year-old also recorded the biggest average rating of the team that season, at an impressive 7.11.
During this phenomenal breakout campaign, Alan Shearer lauded Neto’s quality and described him as a “huge talent.”
However, a dream season ended in the most unfair and excruciating manner as the youngster suffered a long-term knee injury in April 2021 that kept him out of first-team action for over nine months.
The £50k-per-week attacker eventually returned in February 2022 before a serious issue with his ankle in October that year sidelined him for another five months.
In a string of sprinkled starts and numerous cameos, the former Braga prodigy has understandably failed to pin down any noticeable consistency since his comeback, but he still retains the brilliance that projected him into stardom.
This is showcased by the fact that he ranks in the top 15% in Europe’s top five leagues among his positional peers for progressive carries per 90, as well as the top 20% for successful take-ons, according to FBref.
It has been a travesty that injury has robbed us of Neto’s exceptional development, but now he is back to full fitness after only two starts in 2023, it could be the perfect time to unleash the attacker on the south coast.
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