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TEAM WOLF

Jose Sa close to overtaking AFCON-bound Edouard Mendy to become Dream Team’s top goalkeeper

Big-club bias dictates that the focus of Man United’s 1-0 defeat to Wolves at Old Trafford on Monday night is the lacklustre hosts.

But while most observers are ribbing Ralf Rangnick or lamenting the usual scapegoat players, we have chosen to highlight the efforts of Bruno Lage’s troops instead.

Wolves’ games generally haven’t been easy on the eye this season.

If you were being generous you’d describe their fixtures as ‘cagey’ and ‘low-scoring’ but if you were being harsh you’d say ‘boring’ and ‘uneventful’.

The Molineux club have the second-best defensive record in the Premier League at this stage of the campaign, having conceded 14 goals, just one more than Man City.

However, only Norwich (8) have scored fewer goals than Wolves (14) in 2021/22.

A curious record

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A curious record

To put it another way, they are less threatening than Newcastle and Burnley going forward but are better at the back than Chelsea and Liverpool.

In fairness, it’s more accurate to say that they are considerably more threatening than Newcastle, Burnley and practically all bottom-half clubs but have had problems converting their ascendancy into goals.

From a Dream Team perspective, this is obviously worrying news for the gaffers backing the likes of Raul Jimenez (£3.0m) and Hwang Hee-chan (£2.2m) – not that many are these days – but very encouraging for those keen on the defensive assets.

Romain Saiss (£3.8m) is the seventh-best defender in the game at the time of writing but he’s set to join up with Morocco this week ahead of the Africa Cup of nations.

A clean sheet at Old Trafford allowed Max Kilman (£3.4m) to enter the top ten defenders for the first time this season – he’s now got 86 points to his name.

Conor Coady (£3.1m) is a little further back on 57 points but has returned 39 of them in the last six Game Weeks.

Drum roll please…

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Drum roll please…

Naturally, the main beneficiary of Wolves’ parsimonious defence is first-choice goalkeeper, Jose Sa (£3.1m).

We highlighted the Portuguese custodian’s attributes earlier in the season but where before he was an alternative choice for Dream Team bosses he’s very much a mainstream option now.

Having repelled Cristiano Ronaldo (£8.6m) and co, the 28-year-old is now the second-best asset in his position.

Not only that, his tally of 76 points is just four shy of Edouard Mendy’s (£4.0m) and with Chelsea’s keeper set to represent Senegal at AFCON, Sa has an excellent opportunity to become Dream Team’s outright best stopper in the coming weeks.

At £3.1m, Sa is the cheapest player among the top six points scorers in his position and he currently features in just 1.2% of teams.

Wolves may not get top billing on Match of the Day very much this season (or at all) but their superb defensive record represents a significant opportunity for Dream Team gaffers to gain ground on their rivals.