The Warm Down: Adama Traore fires Wolves into the fourth round of the FA Cup
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Adama Traore of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring their sides first goal with team mate Conor Coady during the FA Cup Third Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace at Molineux Stadium on January 08, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

After failing to see out a two goal lead at the AMEX Stadium last week, Wolverhampton Wanderers bounced back with a win tonight against Crystal Palace.

Adama Traore's thunderbolt beat the diving Jack Butland in the 35th minute of the match. He cut inside off the right hand side brilliantly, and unleashed a shot from the edge of the box on his less-favoured left foot. 

Nuno Espirito Santo sent out a rather full strength side for this fixture, making only two changes from the draw against Brighton and Hove Albion last week, with one of them being the goalkeeper John Ruddy, who's kit won't even need to be washed tonight as he had nothing to do all night.

The second change was Leander Dendonker coming back into the side, which is a huge boost for Wolves after going through a tough patch.

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Returning players Morgan Gibbs-White and Patrick Cutrone were introduced tonight, with both of them having to do more defending than attacking, as they were introduced towards the end of the game when Wolves were under the cosh. 

  • Traore's return to form

Traore has been criticised recently for his drop in form, and lack of goals, however tonight he proved the critics all wrong. He produced a spectacular strike that beat Butland in the Palace goal, and ended up being the winning goal.

He may have turned a corner for Wolves this season, as in the last two games he has produced one goal and one assist whilst also winning a penalty, which was converted.

Having started the season looking like a player who has been found out, recently Traore has once again started to mix up his game, by introducing his left foot.

Tonight, he looked to cut inside on his left rather than constantly going down the line on his right, which gave the Crystal Palace defenders all sorts of trouble.

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It was a strike that reminded Wolves fans of the Adama Traore of last season, especially against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, and Nuno will be hoping that he can continue to improve and offer more to this Wolves side in the coming weeks.

  • Ruben Neves looks back to his best

Ruben Neves hasn't quite been himself this season so far, and has been a huge miss for Wolves and the way that they play. However, tonight he looked like the Neves of old. Winning the ball back to stop opposition attacks, controlling the game for his side and hitting some astonishing long passes to teammates, were all part of Neves' game tonight.

Neves, who burst onto the scene of English football in the Championship with Wolves has been hot and cold recently, but after his goal against Brighton, it looks as if he has got his mojo back.

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He had the most touches of the ball out of anyone on the pitch, 104, and completed 85 passes, one being the assist for Traore's goal which was a brilliant cross-field pass.

Not only did Neves shine going forward, but he also showed his defensive capabilities as well. He made two interceptions and made six tackles including one blocked shot.

This performance from Neves in the centre of the Wolves midfield allowed his two midfield teammates to get up the pitch and cause trouble for the Palace defence. Dendonker found himself in lots of good attacking areas, which he was able to do due to Neves' solidarity in the centre.

  • Returning players boost the Wolves squad

Recently, Wolves have recalled both Gibbs-White and Cutrone back from loan to bolster the first team squad. They both made appearances from the bench and despite not shining, they both did relatively well.

Cutrone came on at a time that didn't allow him to show off his attacking abilities, as Wolves had their back's against the wall, but we did see his work ethic, which was brilliant as he didn't stop running and closing down the Eagles centre halves. 

It is reported that the Italian has a few weeks to prove himself before a decision is made on his future, but he is definitely a much-needed asset for Wolves at the moment, with Fabio Silva being the only striker at the club and seemingly being low on confidence.

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Gibbs-White was brought back in to also boost the depth of the squad, and despite not long being back from injury, he came on tonight and didn't do too badly.

He could really shine in the new system that Wolves are playing, being the link between defence and attack in the number 10 role. Nuno will be hoping he has matured whilst on loan and is now ready to come back into the side and create chances for the front line of the Wanderers.

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