craven cottage

Fulham 0-1 Wolves : The Debrief

Typical Wolves. Just as you’re ready to pen a withering diatribe about system failures or thump out a tweet listing the names of players you’d gladly flog in the summer, up pops Traore with a screamer. Grimacing, you accept the three points.

Nuno and his coaching staff merged in to a familiar celebratory huddle as Alphonse Areola committed the ultimate goalkeeping crime of being beaten at his near post. In the opposite corner, Scott Parker looked like a man who could do with an arm around the shoulder himself.

 

Fulham’s tears on the Thames

 

As anyone with a pair of eyes will attest, it was far from perfect, but Wolves got the win, smashed and grabbed three points and left Fulham wallowing in literal tears of misery. It was harsh on the home team.

In fact, making a case that either side deserved maximum points would be a stretch. Silva’s through ball was divine, Traore’s thumping finish ruthless and the previous hour-and-a-half of tedium almost forgotten.

 

Conor Coady won his battle with Mitrovic

 

There were personal battles raging all over the pitch. Kongolo, Tete and Andersen toiled hard to keep Podence, Neto (briefly) and Traore honest. Back in the side to torment his old defensive foe, Conor Coady, Serbian international Aleksandar Mitrovic had spent a lot of the season warming the bench.

Enjoying good international form, when Mitrovic scored against Aston Villa on Sunday, Fulham were half an hour away from closing the gap even more on a Wolves side that lost to West Ham shortly after. Fulham opted for capitulation, Villa came back to win 3-1 and the gap remained.

 

Jose’s first Wolves goal disallowed

 

Back at Craven Cottage, in first half injury time Daniel Podence teased a dainty cross into the box and Willian Jose did what he was supposed to do. Powering a header past Areola, the Brazilian wheeled away in delight having finally broken his duck. Or so he thought.

Instead, VAR crashed the Wolves party room, flicking on the light like an angry parent. Jose and company had been cruelly foiled. This new-fangled technology, designed to remove discussion and debate over contentious decisions, once again attempted to suck away any last vestige of goal scoring enjoyment. 

 

Cavaleiro missed his opportunity for revenge

 

The sign of Ivan Cavaleiro leisurely jogging on to the turf may have filled some observers with dread. Old player coming back to bite Wolves, just as former favourite Diogo Jota had done for Liverpool. It was written. Or maybe not. As reliable as a Duncan Castles scoop, ‘Cav’ dutifully drifted into obscurity.

Time and again Adama was outnumbered and ruthlessly dumped to the ground. Time and again Daniel Podence, still sluggishly recovering from injury, found his usually reliable touch and tidy ball control strangely absent.

Despite Fulham’s apparent tooth lessness going forward, still the Wolves handbrake remained intact. Scott Parker’s urgency increased. His substitutions became more offensive. Fulham fancied it.

With 15 minutes remaining Wolves suddenly looked a little fingernail ragged, clinging on with a touch more desperation as each minute passed. The end-to-end frivolity of Monday night’s defeat to West Ham garnered little fruit while providing sporadic moments of entertainment. This was just dire.

 

Portuguese wonderkid drops an assist

 

The away side’s kit may have strongly resembled the free-flowing pleasures of a prime Portugal, but that was where the similarities ended. Wolves’ approach was stale. It lacked imagination. Nobody would’ve batted an eyelid had the camera panned pitch side to find Jose Mourinho sitting in the away dugout, pulling the tactical strings.

Bounding around the field with all the enthusiasm of a new-born puppy, snapping at the heels of the Fulham players, Fabio Silva’s endeavour was never beyond question. Even an unfortunate collision with an advertising hoarding failed to dampen his zeal. 

Unlike his impressive cameo against West Ham, Silva was unable to hit the net. No matter, VAR probably would’ve ruled it out anyway. Fabio made do with a silky slide rule assist to release the beast that is Traore and help push the Cottagers further into the relegation mire.

 

Wolves meander into mid table

 

Even the slithering killjoys at Stockley Park were unable to prevent the marauding Spaniard from ending his goal drought. Adama’s powerful strike successfully killed off any lingering doubts around Premier League survival.

The muscled Adonis had engineered a reward for months of fruitless labour and for another night the wider cracks remain glued with a few sheets of A4. 

As bubbling frustrations across Wolverhampton and beyond quickly simmered, Nuno will not sit comfortably. Those withering tweets are merely postponed. Consigned to drafts until we return.

 

Steve Wellings is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here 

villa park

Aston Villa 0-0 Wolves Player Ratings

Wolves avoided defeat to rivals Aston Villa with a 0-0 draw at Villa Park, but Nuno’s men could quite easily have left with all three points as Conor Coady and Romain Saiss spurned two excellent chances in the second half. It was certainly a game of two halves, with Villa having the better of it in the first, and they could quite easily have had two goals themselves after Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa both saw their efforts come off the crossbar. Wolves were much improved in the second half, but it was the familiar frustrating tale of the season as Wolves failed to perform for ninety minutes and suffered once again as a result. 

 

Rui Patricio

Lucky to see the ball come of the bar twice in the first half but in truth he could do little about either strike. Was largely untroubled for the remainder of the game and commanded his area well as Villa were restricted to long balls into the box with Wolves improving as the game progressed. 7/10

 

Leander Dendoncker 

Yet another poor performance from Dendoncker who would certainly benefit from playing in his more familiar midfield position with the return of Wily Boly imminent. Dendoncker was caught the wrong side of Ollie Watkins on numerous occasions in the first half, including when the Villa striker hit the woodwork from range.  4/10

 

Conor Coady

Commanding at the back and now a goalscoring presence in the area, just what has happened to Conor Coady in the past week? His first chance was perhaps unlucky as he kept his diving header down as his effort came of the post, however he really should have done better with his second effort as Willian Jose’s scuffed strike fell to the feet of Coady, but he failed to beat Emi Martinez from close range. 7/10

 

Romain Saiss

Like Coady, Saiss fulfilled his primary duty and was excellent in Wolves defending crosses from out wide and from set pieces, something that Nuno’s side have struggled with the absence of Wily Boly. However, he will be kicking himself not to have won the game for Wolves as he skied the rebound of Coady’s header from a yard out. It really did seem easier to score.  6/10

 

Nelson Semedo

Semedo’s performances reflected that of the team in that he started poorly and was caught out of position on numerous occasions, with Villa clearly targeting the Wolves right hand side. However, Semedo grew into the game and posed a threat down the right-hand side in the second half as Wolves searched for a winner. 6/10

 

Joao Moutinho

It was a poor and ineffective afternoon from Moutinho, who was far from his best at Villa Park. A number of his passes went astray, many of which were simple passes in midfield. He also wasted possession in good positions, with his usual magic on the ball not on display. 5/10

 

Ruben Neves

A solid afternoons work from Ruben Neves who helped Wolves gain a foothold in midfield after a poor start, winning the ball back on various occasions and aiming to get Wolves on the front foot. However, he did little to impact the game in the final third as he has done to great success in recent weeks. 6/10

 

Jonny Otto

Jonny’s first appearance since returning from injury without being substituted and he certainly seems to be back to his best, much to the relief of Nuno and his teammates. Jonny offered an assured presence at the back, with hardly any of Villa’s attacks coming from the Wolves left hand side. He had little impact on the game going forward but his confident and consistent defending has certainly been missed this season. 7/10

 

Pedro Neto

Yet again Wolves’ main route to goal, and in the first half especially it was very much ‘Neto or nothing’. He had little joy in front of goal but was involved in almost every dangerous attack the away side had, including a one-man counter attack where he forced a good save from Emi Martinez, getting Wolves back on the front foot. 7/10

 

Willian Jose

It was an afternoon of familiar frustrations and Willian Jose was no exception. He once again was effective at helping Wolves keep possession and was often seen extremely deep collecting the ball, but he offered nothing going forward. His movement in the area seems to be on a completely different wavelength to Neto and Traore, which goes some way to explaining why he is still yet to have a clear-cut chance in a Wolves shirt. 5/10

 

Adama Traore

Did not get into the game as much as he would have liked as Villa had clearly worked on limiting his space and time on the ball. Not for the want of trying as Traore had various moments in central areas but he was not amongst the goalmouth action during this stalemate. 6/10

 

Subs: 

Fabio Silva

Wolves’ only substitute and he once again provided energy and enthusiasm to the Wolves front line, and certainly helped Wolves press higher up the pitch, forcing mistakes from the Villa backline. He seems to have some confidence back and should be worthy of a start against Liverpool at Molineux next week. 6/10

Ciaran Barker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.