Wolves’ performance against Arsenal last night was hugely exciting.
For the second game running, Nuno Espirito Santo set up with a traditional back four as opposed to the three-man defence with wing-backs formation he has been so loyal to over the past few years.
Conor Coady pairing with Willy Boly was going to be compelling viewing; just how well would they get on without an additional body in there?
The answer? Pretty well indeed.
Arsenal did not exactly bring it at the Emirates Stadium, but Wolves looked very assured and Coady passed his test with flying colours, with much being made of whether he could perform in a back four.
And in front of that backline, Wolves looked slick and dangerous.
The electric Adama Traore, who fully justified his manager’s decision to start him again, stayed out on the right, while Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence interchanged on the left and in the middle.
Behind them, Joao Moutinho was pulling the strings and Leander Dendoncker operated from box-to-box, which is arguably his best role.
And up top, young Fabio Silva did a tremendous job after replacing the stricken Raul Jimenez after his horrific clash of heads with David Luiz.
It will take time, of course, for the team to get used to a new way, but the early signs are very positive.
4ATB surely the way to go
Wolves have enjoyed great success using wing-backs over the last few years, but sometimes in football, systems cease to be effective.
The two games against Southampton and Arsenal have shown that Wolves have the potential to create many chances and, with some better finishing, score lots of goals – something that has been a real struggle in the early parts of 2020/21.
Perhaps it will lead to a few more conceded, but surely trying to score as many goals as possible is the way to go.
Playing with 4ATB theoretically encourages Wolves to take control, rather than invite pressure by sitting back and waiting to hit teams on the counter.
While having three central defenders can still be handy in certain situations, the team have arguably shown they’re ‘better’ than that setup.