Which three players are likely to shine in Wolves' crunch match against Birmingham City?
Wolves have enjoyed a very solid start to their season so far and go into their derby with Birmingham knowing a win will keep them in the leading pack of the Championship.
Walter Zenga has so far experimented with his team and, as he looks to find his best team, we take a look at which players could shine in their game against Birmingham.
The Portugese winger came on for Jon Bodvarsson in the draw against Ipswich and sparkled. He was one of the very few offensive bright spots in a game in which both defences were on top.
Costa is only 22-years-old and of course will not be able to shine on every single appearance. His lack of experience in a league like the Championship will hamper him as the season goes on, therefore, while he is showing good form, he must be played.
He gave the Ipswich defence a lot of problems on the flanks as his pace and trickery really caught the eye. He added a lot of creativity to a Wolves side that was tiring, and he almost scored an audacious volley which produced a smart saved. While he was slightly careless in possession at times, Costa is likely to be the type of player that will carry a degree of risk in possession with his ability on the ball not always coming off.
Costa is a very promising prospect for Wolves and they need to make the most of him while they can. Wolves’ fans can be very optimistic about their future with so many talented youngsters; however, they should be reminded that, unfortunately, Costa is only on loan from Benfica.
The midfielder seems like the anchor of the team. He did not start the game against Ipswich and the midfield struggled, which culminated in a lack of clear-cut chances. Conor Coady, who played at right-back against Reading, was preferred in midfield and he did not look as comfortable as Saville did, while he also lacked a real threat when going forward.
Saville is a willing runner and he is full of energy, while he is also very adept at doing both the defensive and offensive role for the team. He is not one to shy away from a robust tackle and he is willing to chase lost causes whilst he is also willing to drop into the hole in front of the defence to provide cover. He is also a player that can link up with the attack, using his non-stop style and intelligence on the ball to set Wolves on the front foot.
Zenga may elect to reinstate Saville in midfield for their derby game against Birmingham on the weekend. Saville added a real balance to Wolves once he was brought on and he could prove to be the difference in their next game.
The centre-back has been one of Wolves’ stand-out players this season. In every game Batth has started, he has been the focal point of the defence. In particular, his ability shone in what was a game in which the defences were on top of the attack throughout. It is testament to his ability then, that he was one of the best players on the pitch.
It is also interesting to note then, that there has not been a settled centre-back partnership under Walter Zenga yet. Dominic Iorfa and Kortney Hause have been used in the centre and both have played very well.
In the game against a toothless Reading side, Batth played alongside Iorfa and the two were very solid together. In the match against Ipswich, Batth played in the centre with Hause and Iorfa was pushed onto the flank. For what was a far more difficult game against Ipswich, Zenga utilised Hause and Batth, and it seems like Hause will continue against Birmingham City on the weekend.
Whatever Zenga decides to do though, he already has an outstanding centre-back already playing in the first team. Batth was fantastic in possession, his aerial ability meant that he cleared most balls played into the box, while his leadership and intelligence were clear for all to see.