After a busy international break, Wolves returned to Premier League action well as they fought hard to get a 1-0 win over Leeds to climb to sixth in the table. After another insipid first half where Leeds dominated the game, Wolves had a superb Romain Saiss goal disallowed on 52 minutes. They were not to be denied the lead though as Raul Jimenez saw a shot deflect heavily off Kalvin Phillips past Ivan Meslier. Despite late pressure, they managed to hold on for another much-needed win.
Leeds United 0-1 Wolves match review
The 1-0 win against Fulham was a good stopgap after the dreadful result at West Ham, and despite this Wolves came into this one with the fanbase split. Leeds have taken the league by storm and produced some marvellous football, and with Wolves showing some worrying defensive frailties, there was some sense this could be another banana skin.
Another point of discussion was the lack of forward threat, which again reared its ugly head in another shocking first-half display, in fact, it was that bad Tim Spiers of The Athletic tweeted out asking what dinners people were having.
Leeds were a constant threat as Patrick Bamford and former Wolves man Helder Costa caused the backline numerous issues. Bamford had a goal disallowed for a blatant offside (some solid offside trap play by the defence in fairness) and Costa saw an effort drag just wide. Record-signing Rodrigo also had some efforts at goal, but Rui Patricio was never fully tested.
Whilst Patricio did not have much to do, neither did his goalkeeping counterpart in Ivan Meslier, the Leeds goalkeeper had an easy first half where all he needed to do was save a good Daniel Podence effort right before half-time. In reality, it wasn’t an entertaining half of football for either side.
The second half is always the most anticipated with Wolves fans, in accordance with the typical matchday theme the trend continued. Their performance was much improved, and they attacked with much more vigour, Joao Moutinho found himself on the ball more often and Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto were getting in behind the fullbacks with increasing ease.
The two were almost like prima ballerinas gliding along the dance floor, weaving in-between defenders with ease. The apparent breakthrough then came in the 52nd minute when Romain Saiss fired in a superb volley from just outside the box after a deflected Podence cross, the diminutive Portuguese winger would’ve seen his weaving dribbling rewarded if it wasn’t for the fact his leg was offside as Conor Coady played his diagonal ball towards him.
VAR ruled off the goal, with no real complaints about the decision. It did, however, represent a shift in the balance of play as Wolves began to push further for a leading goal. They were not to be denied however as Raul Jimenez saw a tame effort deflect horribly of England international Kalvin Phillips into the net. None other than Max Kilman getting the assist – deserving of his recent solid performances. The lead was deserved with the momentum, but Leeds came back.
Wolves faced a few hairy moments at the back as they struggled to clear their lines at times and relied on some fortunate deflections. You do make your own luck in this game, however, and with their defensive nous and a blessing from the footballing god’s Wolves held on well to a vital three points.
Their relief at full-time was clear to see, and most fans would have maybe taken a point let alone all three. With the win, Wolves have won three of their first five games – the first time they have done that in 41 years.
Man of the Match – Max Kilman
Maybe a surprise pick, but I was thoroughly impressed with the centre-back in this one. He looked composed on the ball and didn’t put much of a foot wrong defensively. He has had two solid displays now and has certainly put himself into genuine first-team contention. The assist he got just added the cherry on top of what was a very encouraging performance for the former futsal player just in case you didn’t know that he once played the game.
Leeds United 0-1 Wolves Final Thoughts
After a hot and cold start, this gives the team two clean sheets in a row and a crucial six points in what is a very close Premier League table. Any bit of form could see the side shoot up the table and this could be a good sign in what is a team in transition. The first half performances must improve if they are to win or compete in games more convincingly, but this was a very solid and professional performance.