It was another good day at the office for Wolves on Saturday, as the team beat West Ham United 1-0 in the Premier League.
The Hammers came to Molineux as one of the division’s most in-form teams.
It was going to be a real test for Bruno Lage and his players.
But it was a really good performance, and with a result to match.
Raul Jimenez scored the only goal of the game to hand Wolves three more points and lift the club up to sixth in the table.
It was a great outing, and several stars had brilliant individual performances.
But someone else who again put in a great performance, was Rayan Ait-Nouri.
The star was starting his fourth game in a row, after coming in to replace the injured Fernando Marcal.
The Brazilian is back fit again, but will have difficulty reclaiming his starting berth.
That’s because Ait-Nouri has stood out in all four of his appearances so far, and looks to be a serious prospect.
Like Semedo on the opposite side, Ait-Nouri was a constant outlet for Wolves against West Ham.
He put in 14 crosses in total according to Sofascore data – that was twice as many as the next player Aaron Cresswell (7).
He also made four key passes, the most of anyone on the pitch.
Not content with making frequent attacking contributions, Ait-Nouri also did well defensively, making five tackles (again, the most of anybody) and winning 7/10 duels.
So another fantastic display, and there’s a genuine possibility here that Ait-Nouri could enjoy a Pedro Neto-style breakout this season.
Ait-Nouri could be Wolves’ breakout youngster for 2021/22
The Frenchman has had to bide his time for a chance, but he has come in and absolutely excelled so far.
Ait-Nouri looks tailor-made operating at left wing-back, as the position – and Lage’s desire to push the team higher up – suits his attacking style.
But defensively he seems to have improved a lot compared to last season when he was on loan.
Last season we saw Neto become a shining light for Wolves.
He was pretty much the best player week in week out until his injury ended his season.
Ait-Nouri is showing early doors that he has the potential to enjoy a similar breakout.
He’s had that first season at Molineux on loan to get a feel for things. Now, the stage is set for him to truly dazzle.