Wolverhampton Wanderers slipped to their third Premier League defeat of the season as Manchester City emerged from Molineux with all three points on Saturday.
The writing was on the wall the moment Jack Grealish put the visitors ahead before a minute was even on the clock and it means Wolves have scored just three goals in the league this term.
Despite their goalscoring woes continuing, Bruno Lage might have to make a decision regarding his midfield, with Joao Moutinho failing to have the same level of influence on matches this season.
Following the defeat, Ian Whittell from the Daily Mail gave the £100k-per-week Wolves midfielder a rating of just 6/10 following the encounter, stating the following of his below-par display:
“Wasted a couple of free-kicks just outside the City area and while there was no questioning his work rate, he only occasionally posed a threat.”
The international break means there will be no Premier League football for nearly two weeks, but Lage must surely unleash a new signing in the first match back.
On the chalkboard
Malian midfielder Boubacar Traore arrived at Wolves in the summer on a season-long loan from French club Metz, with Lage holding the option to make the move permanent if specific clauses are activated.
The 21-year-old has been a largely peripheral figure until Saturday when he came off the bench and played the remaining 20 minutes against Man City.
This brief spell on the pitch proved why Lage brought him to England in the first place. He received a rating of 7/10 on SofaScore, the second highest on the Wolves’ side behind Ruben Neves (7.2).
Should Traore start in Wolves next game?
Furthermore, Traore won both of his ground duels, made two tackles and one interception, as well blocking one shot.
The youngster appeared as though he didn’t let the occasion get to him and looked comfortable alongside Matheus Nunes and Neves in the midfield three.
With Moutinho just turning 36, it’s clear he might not have long left at the highest level, and blooding Traore in sooner rather than later could make Lage’s life a lot easier.
The Mali international offers a lot more than defensive protection, however, with Liam Henshaw previously describing Traore as a “dribbling machine”. Indeed, with the player ranking in the 88th percentile for dribbles completed (1.29 per match) compared to positional peers in Europe’s big five leagues, the praise is justified.
Lage’s experiment worked on Saturday by introducing the player when there was no pressure, perhaps it’s time to unleash him from the start and nurture his true potential in place of Moutinho.