Wolverhampton Wanderers made it three wins out of three since the season restart to move up to 5th place in the Premier League. The win over Villa had a lot in common with the previous Wolves win against Bournemouth, with the team in Old Gold not playing as dynamically as they can, but nevertheless controlling the game against opposition that never seriously looked like scoring.
Writer: DJ Wolves
Wolves hardly got out of second gear but didn’t need to as they showed again that one goal can be enough to win a game quite comfortably.
There was just one change to the starting line up with Traore left on the bench and Dendoncker restored to the starting 11. The opening phases of the game were typical of what we have become accustomed to under Nuno with Wolves committing little to attack and just being content to gain control of the game and frustrate the opposition. But as the half wore on there was more threat on the Villa goal and Jota missed a golden chance to open the scoring. Villa keeper Nyland bizarrely let an attempted throw upfield slip out of his hands straight to the Wolves striker who blasted a shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
There was no great change to the pattern of the game in the early stages of the second half until Traore replaced Jota on the hour mark and he immediately posed new problems for the home team. And it was soon to lead to the crucial opening goal. Jonny started off a move that went through Traore and Jimenez who played an excellent ball into the area where Jonny had continued his run. The Spanish wing back turned and laid the ball back to Dendoncker whose left foot shot found the corner of the net. Despite making many substitutions Villa were unable to create a single chance in the remainder of the game and Wolves were able to hold on to their three points quite comfortably.
Patricio 7 – no difficult saves to make but some good handling from crosses.
Boly 7 – not pressured and looked comfortable.
Coady 7 – another untroubled day for the skipper.
Saiss 7 – steady game and crucially avoided his 10th booking of the season so his points are wiped clean for the remainder of the season.
Doherty 8 – had a good game defensively and on the overlap.
Neves 7 – fairly quiet game with most of his work in deep areas.
Moutinho 7 – as reliable as ever in the middle of the park.
Dendoncker 8 – fully justified his recall with a non-stop box to box performance capped by the winning goal.
Jonny 8 – excellent down the left and probably man of the match.
Jimenez 7 – had some good runs and a fine pass to help set up the goal.
Jota 6 – missed a sitter in the first half and not at his best here.
Traore, Neto the subs used replacing Jota and Jimenez.
All the teams around them now have a game in hand but as things stand they are 5th, 2 behind Chelsea, 3 ahead of Man Utd and, 7 clear of the rest. European football looks close to being secured for another season and it could yet be Champions League rather than Europa.
There’s a welcome one week break until the next game which sees Arsenal come to Molineux next Saturday at 17:30.