Wolves defender Ryan Bennett is in line to come back into the team for tonight’s Europa League group stage clash against Braga.
BBC reported that the 29-year-old centre-back is expected to be available for the match at Molineux, with no injury worries to report for manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
Bennett missed last weekend’s 5-2 Premier League defeat to Chelsea but, as reported by the Express & Star, that was not down to injury but rather part of a tactical reshuffle by Nuno.
Bennett has been a mainstay of the Wolves defence since coming to the club in 2017, making 80 appearances and featuring in 34 Premier League matches last season, as well as five games in their run to the FA Cup semi-finals.
He had started seven matches this season, including their first four league games, prior to being dropped for the Chelsea game last weekend, a decision that backfired as the Blues hit Wolves for five. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Some of Bennett’s defensive statistics had admittedly dipped from last season, with his passing success rate dropping from 79.6% to 76.3% and his tackles-per-game average falling from 1.7 to just one. [via WhoScored.com]
However, his interceptions-per-game average has remained at 1.3, while he has committed fewer fouls per game (0.8 v 1.1) and averaged far more clearances per match (five v 3.6) compared to 2018/19. [via WhoScored.com]
In Bennett’s seven appearances this season, Wolves have conceded six goals (0.86 per game). In four matches without him in the side, they have shipped eight goals (two per game). [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Jesus Vallejo came into the team for Bennett last Saturday and endured a difficult afternoon, with Express & Star writer Matt Maher saying that he “looked ponderous” and was “turned too easily” on “a Premier League debut to forget“.
Also, in his four Wolves appearances so far, the team have conceded eight goals, an average of two per game. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
It is probably harsh to form a definitive judgement on Vallejo based on one poor performance against Chelsea, but the difference in Wolves’ concession rate with him in the team compared to Bennett cannot be ignored.
With Bennett in defence alongside Willy Boly and Conor Coady last season, Nuno’s side shipped just 46 goals in the Premier League (1.21 per game), the joint fifth lowest in the division. Therefore, it should come as no surprise if Nuno recalls the 29-year-old for the Braga game tonight as Wolves seek to right the wrongs of last week’s hammering by Chelsea.
Wolves fans, do you think Bennett should come back into the team tonight? Have your say by commenting below!
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