May 19, 2024

Wolves have been advised not to pass judgment on one of Gary O’Neil’s stars too fast, as statistics provide significant insight into how well he has performed at Molineux.

Wolves have had a rough time recently, as their form has suffered as a result of the squad’s current injuries.

Gary O’Neil’s front line has been left agonisingly short due to the simultaneous injuries to Pedro Neto, Hwang Hee-chan, and Matheus Cunha, with the Brazilian only recently returning to action.

However, the Old Gold’s efforts to weather the challenges within their short squad were undermined last week when VAR dismissed the Midlands club’s pleas to re-enter their match against West Ham.

When Max Kilman appeared to have won a point-winning equaliser at the death of the match at Molineux, VAR ruled the goal out for a controversial reason, chalking it off for an offside judgment that did not include the striker.

O’Neil was understandably baffled by the decision, which left his team with nothing to show for the game; nonetheless, the referees’ actions were not the only item criticized following the game.

Wolves star Jose Sa was criticised for what he did against West Ham

Jose Sa: Wolves sign Portuguese goalkeeper from Olympiakos as replacement  for Rui Patricio | Football News | Sky Sports

 

 

James Ward-Prowse scored the winning goal in Wolves’ defeat to West Ham, heading in directly from a corner little over five minutes into time.

Naturally, Jose Sa was chastised for his failure to prevent the goal, as the Englishman curled the ball from an unusual angle to determine the direction of the points.

In his post-match player ratings, journalist Liam Keen gave the Wolves shot-stopper a 5/10, conceding that the £6.8 million keeper ‘had to do better’ (via Express & Star).

“The goalkeeper will have prepared for the threat of Ward-Prowse and although it was a somewhat freakish goal, Sa has to do better and be more commanding in his area.”

While the criticism is legitimate, journalist Steve Madeley has offered an interesting defense of Sa, pointing out how successful the Portugal international has been since joining the Premier League.

The numbers that show Jose Sa is one of the best in the Premier League

In a thorough editorial for The Athletic, Madeley highlighted how Sa is ‘one of the Premier League’s finest,’ citing statistics that show the 31-year-old is the highest-performing keeper, trailing only Liverpool’s Alisson Becker.

As seen in the figure below, created by Opta and shared by The Athletic, only the Brazilian has prevented more goals than Sa since his Premier League debut in 2021.

Sa’s criticism varies depending on whether he delivers moments of magic or expensive fragility, as seen against West Ham last week.

That being said, the Old Gold have a fantastic shot-stopper in the Portuguese ace, as evidenced by the statistics, which show exactly how valuable he has been at Molineux.

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