The Joe Edwards debrief - Wolves 1 Crystal Palace 0

Wolves regained the winning feeling as they comfortably got past Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.

Winger Adama Traore stole the show with a superb strike as he showed he looks like returning to form for Wolves (PA)
Winger Adama Traore stole the show with a superb strike as he showed he looks like returning to form for Wolves (PA)

Nuno Espirito Santo’s pack will find out what lies ahead in tomorrow night's draw, but we already know this was a welcome victory which offered up a lot of positives.

Tremendous Traore

Where else to start but with the match-winner?

Adama Traore’s first-half strike was magnificent, and so was his performance as a whole.

The Spaniard put in a vastly encouraging display at Brighton last time out in the league – getting back to the level he was at for large parts of last season.

But Nuno, before this encounter with the Eagles, urged him to be ‘even better’, and the boss certainly got his wish.

The left-footed rocket aside, Traore showed far much more variety in his game. It was not just a case of racing to the byline and floating crosses in.

He was cutting inside to great effect, as he did for the goal, and linking up superbly with Nelson Semedo – who had his best outing in gold and black thus far.

An understanding is now forming between the two, with Semedo growing in confidence on the front foot.

It will take time to be on the same wavelength that Traore and Matt Doherty were last campaign, but this was a promising start.

Both possessing such frightening pace, hopefully they can become a real force down Wolves’ right side.

Neves masterclass

Another who excelled was Ruben Neves, with the Portuguese thoroughly enjoying himself in midfield.

As Palace sat off, the 23-year-old picked out pass after pass. It all looked so simple for him.

In fact, it was reminiscent of when Neves was playing in the Championship – clearly a cut above.

Ruben Neves pulled the strings (AMA)

Wolves have since put out a montage of all his precise passes against the Eagles, emphasising just how good he was in this game. He oozed class.

You have to think he was helped by the presence of Leander Dendoncker – back from injury – as well.

After all, the records with him starting and without him starting so far this term are quite something.

With the Belgian in from the off, Wolves have won seven, drawn two and lost four.

When he has either been on the bench or injured, Nuno’s lot have drawn two and lost four.

Everyone, but perhaps Neves the most, benefits from Dendoncker’s presence.

Clean sheet

Given the 1-0 scoreline, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a nervy, tight game at Molineux.

But while things did become slightly anxious towards the end, Palace failed to register a single shot on target – Wolves looking very solid at the back.

This clean sheet against the Eagles was the first since beating, you guessed it, Roy Hodgson’s charges at the end of October.

It was also, significantly, their first shut-out in a back four.

Having endured a tough run of results over the festive period, there was a real onus on tightening up again.

As John Ruddy – who grabbed his 32nd clean sheet in 62 matches for the club – remarked afterwards, this was a classic Wolves-under-Nuno display.

They got their goal and then effectively held onto the lead, never really looking in any danger. You cannot help but be happy for Ruddy, too.

He remains a key figure in the dressing room and has at least another game to look forward to.

Silva’s misses

The disappointing thing on the night was Fabio Silva spurning two golden opportunities.

Fabio Silva struggled in front of goal (AMA)

Putting a couple of free headers wide of the mark, there is no doubt that he should have done better with both situations.

Such incidents, to be fair, are to be expected from someone so young, but with Patrick Cutrone back in the fold and chomping at the bit, he has work to do.

All strikers miss chances and Silva must be careful not to let his frustration get the better of him.

Coming up

The focus, first and foremost, now goes back on the league and the home clash with Everton before the huge Black Country derby.

But there will also be a keen eye on the fourth and firth round draws tomorrow.

Wolves are taking the competition very seriously and want to go far. Let’s hope they do.

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