Wolverhampton Wanderers swept aside an in-form Crystal Palace on Tuesday evening to condemn Roy Hodgson to his first defeat on his return to the Premier League.
The stubborn resistance of Julen Lopetegui’s men stopped an Eagles side that had scored nine goals in their past four games from finding the net.
It was another brilliant result for the Midlands club, who have won three of their last four top-flight matches and six of their previous eight games at Molineux.
A large portion of the credit must be awarded to Lopetegui, who took charge when the club dismally resided in the relegation zone. Since he has overseen eight victories in 18 Premier League encounters to provide Wolves with an excellent platform was survival.
As well as his obvious tactical acumen, the former Real Madrid coach’s recruitment has played a massive factor in this turnaround and the signing of Mario Lemina has emerged as an intelligent and astute masterclass.
Why has Mario Lemina been a good signing for Wolves?
The former Southampton ace arrived in the Midlands for an undisclosed fee in the January transfer window and has been one of Lopetegui’s most trusted options.
Upon the 29-year-old’s return to England, his new manager showered him with praise.
He said: “I think that he has the profile to be a good player for us. He has to be a very complete player, with and without the ball. I think without the ball he’s a very strong player, and he knows his job. With the ball, he has enough technically to play and to understand the play.”
The relationship between the Spanish boss and Lemina has blossomed. The Gabonese international has started 13 of Wolves’ last 15 league outings to underline his paramountcy and the important role he had undertaken in such a short space of time.
During this time, the midfielder has been an outstanding contributor to the defensive effort and has averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.3 clearances, and 0.9 interceptions per 90, according to Sofascore.
These impressive numbers contribute to a wider analysis of this dominant physical pivot as he ranks in the top 8% in Europe’s top five leagues among his positional peers for tackles and clearances.
The £45k-per-week man has formed a formidable partnership with Ruben Neves in central midfield, as the captain is often spraying mesmeric passes out to the flanks whilst Lemina effectively breaks up play.
With Lopetegui and the “unbelievable” Lemina – as per one club analyst – both presented with a pre-season and a full campaign next year, they could both be central figures once again.
#Unbelievable #Signing #Excelled #Lopetegui