Wolves continued their strong start to the season with a hard-fought draw against Ipswich as the promotion chasing side continued their unbeaten run.
From the draw, what did we learn about Wolves?
Burnley's Sam Vokes and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Kortney Hause in action
Competition at centre-back
Wolves’ campaign has begun and there have been a number of positives to take, not least from their competition at centre-back. Kortney Hause, Danny Batth and Dominic Iorfa have all been utilised in the centre of the defence and all have shown their strength in that position.
Against Ipswich, coach Walter Zenga elected to play Hause alongside Batth in the centre with Iorfa at right-back. In the game before against Reading, it was Iorfa that partnered Batth. While both games saw two different partnerships in the middle, they did both see two clean sheets.
Zenga has brought a problem upon himself now though. Which partnership does he play? While it is of course a problem that most managers would want, Wolves will benefit hugely when a solid and consistent partnership is formed at the back.
Against Reading, Iorfa and Batth looked very good. They were both strong defensively and very competent on the ball, while the two complemented each other nicely in the middle. Reading were of course toothless in the game; however, the mark of a good centre-back is that they can deal with whatever is thrown at them and look cool and collected while doing so. This is exactly as it was against Reading.
Against Ipswich, Batth and Hause were also good as they dealt with a far more competent attacking side. Batth in particular had a good game with his aerial presence, intelligence when off the ball, and range of passing all on display. With a huge match against Birmingham to come, Zenga must decide upon his preferred partnership at the back, and fast.
Teixeira can’t do it every week
Joao Teixeira was superb against Reading. His ability on the ball was mesmerising as he caused the opposition defenders all manner of problems over the 90 minutes. His pace, quick feet and quicker mind left the Reading players making empty space, while his eye for a pass put his teammates in on goal on more than one occasion. Against Rotherham too, coming off the bench, he was very potent in attack.
He has certainly gotten many Wolves fans talking already and the season is only three games old. However, he did show in the game against Ipswich that he will not be able to be on top form every week.
At only 22-years-old, the Portuguese midfielder still has a lot to learn about football and, in particular, the Championship. With every game as competitive as the last, Teixeira will not be afforded an easy game every once in a while. Instead, he will be met with an unstoppable supply of hard-hitting 90 minute bouts, week in and week out.
Against a very well-drilled and compact Ipswich side, he struggled. Against Reading he was superb because he was allowed so much time and space and, once he got into his stride, Reading did not have the necessary tools to stop him. Ipswich on the other hand doubled up on him and suffocated his space, meaning he either had to pass the ball on or try something audacious.
While he is growing into a special talent, and one which could fire Wolves to a real promotion challenge, it must be remembered that he is still a raw talent. He needs nurturing and guidance, and not the aspirations of a city on his back. Not yet anyway.
Wolves' Joe Mason celebrates after he scores his sides first goal
Early promotion contenders?
It would take a brave man to stake his reputation on any team being a certain challenger for promotion after only three games of the season. Newcastle may have been the side most would bet on, but they languish in the lower half of the table on three points.
After three games though, Wolves do look to be a side with aspirations quietly growing. A hard fought 2-2 draw on the opening day when they went down to 10 men was followed by a 2-0 victory over Reading, before another battling draw against Ipswich. With five points on the board from a possible nine, Walter Zenga will be pleased with how his team have started the season.
There is a lot of room for optimism too. The centre-back partnership looks to be one that is challenging itself from within with three players all staking their claim to a place. Joao Teixeira has sparkled in the Wolves midfield, while other teams have struggled around them.
There is no telling what will happen between now and the end of the season. However, if Wolves can put together a run of wins and find themselves in the leading pack around Christmas, they will start believing that they have a real chance at promotion.