Wolves are waiting to discover if Adama Traore will be fit enough to feature for them this weekend, following an injury picked up during the international break.
BBC reported that the 23-year-old winger faces a fitness check ahead of the trip to Bournemouth on Saturday after he was forced to withdraw from the Spain squad in recent days due to a hamstring problem.
If Traore is unable to take his place in the team for the game at the Vitality Stadium, Wolves will be deprived of one of their main creative outlets – his tally of five assists for the season is bettered only by Joao Moutinho within Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad.
It would also present the manager with a tactical and selection dilemma against the Cherries, with Nuno potentially facing a big decision on whether to stick with the 5-4-1 that he employed in the last two Premier League games or revert to the 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 setups from earlier in the season.
The 5-4-1 setup has seen Traore take up a wide attacking role and Matt Doherty playing at right full-back in the games against Arsenal and Aston Villa earlier this month, which Wolves drew 1-1 and won 2-1 respectively.
If the Spain winger isn’t fit enough to play against Bournemouth, Nuno may choose to stick with the 5-4-1 formation and bring in Pedro Neto as a right-sided winger – the young Portugal forward has only started one Premier League game this season but played on the right as a substitute against Burnley, while Nuno has no other obvious alternatives for that position if he wants to keep the 5-4-1.
He could decide to switch to 3-5-2 and go with two men up top rather than having a lone striker, while also giving Doherty a freer wing-back role. He went with that formation regularly in the earlier weeks of the season but that was partly through necessity, with Doherty often missing at the start of the campaign due to a knee injury in the summer.
The other option is to go 3-4-3, which would probably see Doherty in a wing-back role and two wingers supporting the central striker, most likely top scorer Raul Jimenez with Diogo Jota to one side of him (as evidenced in the draw at Crystal Palace in September), leaving a potential vacancy for Neto to assume the other wide attacking berth.
This could also be an ideal game to throw Neto into the team if Traore isn’t fit, with Bournemouth perhaps vulnerable after a run of form which has seen them collect just six points from as many games.
In order to accommodate both Doherty and Neto, 3-4-3 could be the way to go for Nuno if he has to plan without Traore.
Wolves fans, what would be your preferred formation and personnel for the Bournemouth game if Traore is ruled out? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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