Wolves suffered a third defeat in four games as they disappointingly lost 2-1 to Burnley at Turf Moor. Ashley Barnes gave the Clarets the lead ten minutes before the interval with a far-post header before Chris Wood scored what proved to be the winner early in the second half. Fabio Silva’s late penalty added some gloss to the scoreline, but Wolves’ performance was way off their Lancastrian counterparts throughout.
Burnley 2-1 Wolves reaction
Nuno sprung a few surprises with his team selection, making four changes from the side that earned a 2-1 win against Chelsea six days ago.
Rayan Ait-Nouri and Max Kilman replaced Marcal and Willy Boly in straight swaps, while Joao Moutinho replaced Fabio Silva which indicated a change of shape to a 3-5-2 formation. Owen Otasowie also replaced the injured Leander Dendoncker, with the 19-year-old making his first Wolves start at Turf Moor.
Meanwhile, Sean Dyche made just one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Aston Villa on Thursday, as Ashley Barnes replaced Jay Rodriguez in the Clarets’ usual 4-4-2 formation.
As the game began it appeared Wolves would remain in their 3-4-3 shape, with usual box-to-box midfielder Otasowie strangely playing in the number nine role, with Podence and Neto either side of the USA international.
Wolves looked encouraging for the opening ten minutes of the contest, but that was as good as it got for Nuno’s side. After gradually growing more and more into the game, Burnley had restricted Wolves to half chances and had the game’s first clear cut chance midway through the first-half. Nick Pope’s hopeful clearance cleared the Wolves backline and found Ashley Barnes through on goal, but his effort was straight at Patricio.
The Clarets then deservedly took the lead on 35 minutes, as Charlie Taylor’s clipped hanging ball found Barnes at the far post, who this time made no mistake, albeit with the help of yet more shoddy Wolves defending.
After the interval, Burnley came storming out of the traps and had a great chance to double their lead. Poor play from the disappointing Ruben Neves gave Josh Brownhill a clear sight of goal from 20 yards out, but the former Bristol City man hit the crossbar.
Just one minute later Burnley did have a two-goal lead. Ashley Westwood’s free kick fell to Chris Wood two yards out via Ben Mee and Rayan Ait-Nouri, and the former West Brom striker blasted the ball past Patricio to leave Wolves with a mountain to climb.
It could easily have been worse for Wolves when Wood was put through on goal, but his effort was blocked by Patricio. The 2-0 scoreline undoubtedly flattered Nuno’s side, who had yet to create a noteworthy chance.
After introducing Fabio Silva, Adama Traore and Vitinha in the second half, Wolves saw 72% of the ball but could do little with it until the 89th minute when Silva was clumsily brought down in the area by Burnley sub Josh Benson. The 18-year-old took the penalty himself and tucked it past Nick Pope into the bottom corner to score his first Wolves goal, but the Clarets would hold on to extend their home unbeaten run against the men in gold and black to five games.
35- Barnes gives Burnley lead
Ashley Barnes gives Burnley the lead after heading home Charlie Taylor’s superb clipped cross.
50- Brownhill goes close
Burnley go close to adding a second when Josh Brownhill’s curling effort hits Patricio’s bar and goes over.
51- Wood fires home to extend Burnley’s advantage
Chris Wood adds Burnley’s second goal from close range after Ben Mee’s header hits Rayan Ait-Nouri and falls to the New Zealand international
89- Silva opens Wolves account
Fabio Silva is fouled in the area and scores the resulting penalty to become Wolves’ youngest Premier League goalscorer.
Man of the Match- Rui Patricio
Possibly the only Wolves starter who made a positive contribution at Turf Moor, making important saves from Barnes and Wood to prevent the scoreline from becoming embarrassing. Was let down by his defence for both goals, not for the first time this campaign.
Things to improve
Nuno’s team selection
It’s not a regular occurrence for the Wolves fanbase to be so united in criticising their manager, but the Molineux faithful were left understandably perplexed by Nuno’s selection and approach to the game. Dropping Fabio Silva, who looked impressive from the start against both Aston Villa and Chelsea, for an U23 midfielder in Owen Otasowie was a decision that looked strange at the start of the game and utterly baffling by the end.
Fans were also critical of Nuno’s approach. Counter-attacking is Wolves’ style, but against a Burnley team who were more than content to sit back and soak up pressure, it seemed overly negative to allow Burnley to create chance after chance. The lack of attacking intent from Wolves has been disappointing all season, but rarely before have questions been asked of Nuno after a defeat to such an extent.
Poor defensive displays
It’s now been seven games since Wolves last picked up a clean sheet, an alarming run for a team that tend to pride themselves on being defensively solid. Max Kilman had a rare off day on his return to the starting XI, Romain Saiss switched off for the first goal which again came from Nelson Semedo’s right hand side.
With Wolves looking so weak in both offensive and defensive areas at Turf Moor, there will need to be a completely different performance if Nuno’s side are to stand any chance of getting anything against Tottenham on Sunday.