Wolverhampton Wanderers’ season gets underway properly after the international break.
The club have lost their opening three league matches 1-0 so far.
It’s been a disappointing start, but few would have expected much given the opposition faced.
That said, Wolves have given a great account of themselves in these opening weeks and have genuinely been a little unlucky.
Wolves have newly-promoted Watford and Brentford up next, so it’s a great chance to get off the mark.
Lage will head into those games with a fairly small squad after a relatively underwhelming summer transfer window.
It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of team he fields.
So far, he has decided to use a back three with wing-backs.
Although he has not won in the league with it yet, the system has worked well and many chances have been created.
It’d be no surprise to see him sticking with that formation for the time being, and perhaps switching to a 4-4-2 in-game.
Jose Sa is obviously going to play the bulk of the games after replacing Rui Patricio in the summer.
If it’s to be a three, then perhaps the best trio would be Max Kilman, Conor Coady and Willy Boly, who was back on the bench against Manchester United last weekend.
Romain Saiss has actually started the season well, but Boly is the better defender and a natural centre-half, unlike Saiss. Kilman has been outstanding and deserves to keep his place, and right now it’s hard to see Coady getting dropped.
The wing-backs should be Nelson Semedo and Fernando Marcal.
Marcal is something of a surprise package so far this term. He’s not the best attacking wing-back and his crossing could do with some work, but defensively he is largely solid.
In midfield, Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker are probably a better pairing than the former and Joao Moutinho.
Moutinho has started 2021/22 OK and bossed the game against Nottingham Forest, but going forwards he shouldn’t be a regular starter over the other two.
In attack, Raul Jimenez is clearly still a little rusty, but must play in order to build that momentum. His link-up play has been decent, and hopefully that first goal will soon come.
Adama Traore simply must start every game as the team’s biggest threat, and Francisco Trincao has been looking more comfortable in recent weeks.
The star on loan from Barcelona scored his first goal against Forest and performed impressively against United on Sunday.
New signing Hwang Hee-chan obviously hasn’t played yet, so he’ll be looking to stake his claim to be a starter.
Surely this XI, if picked regularly by Lage, has the best chance of picking up points.