Old Trafford

Manchester United 0-1 Wolves Match Report

A game, result and performance that will be etched into the Wolves history books for years to come. Wolverhampton Wanderers leave Old Trafford victorious for the first time during the Premier League era after their 0-1 win. Top class performances littered the field as Joao Moutinho turned his Manchester playground into the Theatre of Nightmares, striking home eight minutes from time, sending the travelling fans into bank holiday ecstasy.

Embed from Getty Images 

The combination of positive COVID cases and injuries have caused many a postponement during the congested winter period, as Wolves faced after a two-week layoff from fixtures. Their return was against a Manchester United side under new management, with Ralf Rangnick at the helm. The German is notoriously recognised for his aggressive Gegen-press style of football, yet the evidence of this from this performance was lacking hugely. From minute one, United were unable to keep up with the pace of Lage’s Wolves. Neves and Moutinho schooled Matic and McTominay in their own backyard, through a lesson of midfield mastery, winding the clocks back to their debut season together in the Premier League. 

Lage opted for Trincao and Daniel Podence over Adama Traore, who was perhaps left out due to the ongoing transfer speculation that surrounds him, or perhaps to be utilised as an effective substitute later in the affair. Following a string of uninspiring performances, Wolves fans may have questioned the choice of Trincao, but the loanee decided to get more physical than usual, whilst registering another handful of nutmegs doing so – hopefully a sign towards further improvements for the Barca boy. The defence remained unchanged and for good reason, another clean sheet to add to their already impressive tally this season – resolute when called upon, but the midfield prevented most of the concern, against two of the best forwards of this generation. 

However, one performance stood out to me and not in the positive sense I had initially hoped for. For me, Raul Jimenez was chasing shadows, there were a couple of moments where he linked up nicely with Trincao and Podence, but something isn’t quite clicking for the Mexican Sensation. Although his movement wasn’t particularly poor, chances on goal are few and far between, and those chances are often flagged offside. Considering the lack of game time and the reported issues with Fabio Silva’s application to warm up, he performed excellently in his late cameo, barring the silly foul, the game management for someone his age was impressive to see.

 

Key Moments

Wolves’ recent performances have been those of defensive focus, their poor eye for goal has resulted in the recognised label of: “well that’ll be last on Match of the Day.” Therefore, for Wolves to be the team to have the most shots at Old Trafford in the first half of a league game since 03/04 (@OptaJoe on Twitter), was a surprising, yet welcome spectacle. Neves had an audacious goal of the month attempt prevented by a David De Gea early on, combined with a couple of early attempts from the heavily involved Podence. A short rally from United was born after Fernandes rattled the crossbar and CR7 decided he was too good for the offside rule. But it was our own Portuguese veteran that stunned the Theatre of Dreams into a sea of insomnia, as Moutinho fired Wolves ahead late in the game.

 

Man of the match –  Joao Moutinho

Daniel Podence is quickly becoming a fan favourite amongst Wolves fans, another electric performance from the little wizard, intricate passing and his low centre of gravity caused trouble all night long. However, another little genius gets my man of the match. Last season, many wrote Joao “no legs” Moutinho off, including myself. Lage must be promising some quality vino for our midfield mastermind, Joao is playing like a man possessed. Exquisite passing, strong in the tackle, progressive ball carrying, and a goal to top off an easy night at the office for this god amongst men. Truly football heaven.  

 

Things to improve on

For the first time this season, I collectively couldn’t have wished for more from Wolves. Tactical astuteness from Lage, effective substitutions, immense work rate and the quality to comfortably beat the second most expensive squad in Europe. Of course, we can hope for more goals, but if my manager says the goals will come, I will believe every word that he says. Differently, outside of the pitch, there are improvements to be made. Upon evaluation of the board’s current intentions, Lage will almost certainly be frustrated. There are the foundations to really achieve with Bruno in charge, three quality additions are all we need. The transfer strategy will not dampen this result in the slightest though. Thank you, lads. We’ll remember this one for a while.

 

Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here

Amex Stadium

Brighton 0-1 Wolves Match Report

3000 fans made the gruelling five-hour trip to the south coast, to see their beloved Wolves both score a football goal and win the football game. Wolves came out victors over a Brighton team, ravaged by injuries, COVID isolations and suspensions. The win came as great relief for fans who hadn’t seen a goal in over 400 minutes of action, with Romain Saiss, the ‘Moroccan Maldini’ coming in clutch for the boys in old gold.

Reaction

Disappointingly, the in-from Rayan Ait Nouri sustained a groin injury in the warm-up, so Marcal entered the fray, alongside Podence and Trincao due to Raul Jimenez’ suspension. The three in midfield was sacrificed from Saturday’s game in Manchester, to provide more threat up top, with Hwang Hee-Chan spearheading the attack, until the 15th minute after pulling up with a hamstring issue. 30 minutes of some honestly dire football from both sides was to come, with Brighton having a couple of half chances but nothing to worry Sa in the slightest. Wolves were unable to impose their style on the game, lacking strong moments of possession, with no chances on goal to write home about. The back line three were brilliantly stubborn once again, and typically, it was a defender to provide the accomplished finish, finally giving Wolves’ fans something to cheer about. It is widely understood that a key time to score a goal is just before the break, a sucker-punch goal that changes the opposition’s team talks. All that was needed was that one goal, the second half confidence was levels above those seen in the first. The press was re-born, and the pack caught some unsuspecting seagulls truly lacking. Premier League debutant referee: Tony Harrington, had a night to forget with a multitude of technical difficulties, but entertainment was sharply delivered by a keepy-up fest during the hold up, under the noses of the adoring away support.

Rather unfairly, Adama Traore has fallen victim to some harsh criticism this season, regarding the decision making and effort levels produced, Brighton was the night he truly shut the critics up. Neutrals will see zero goal involvements all season and will go to town with the ‘pace merchant’ slander, but true Wolves fans recognise that it could be so different providing the rest of the team had finishing ability. Moreover, Podence provided some much-needed energy going forward, again just missing the golden touch in front of goal. Trincao was anonymous unfortunately, seeming to struggle with the physicality of the Premier League, there’s something there with Francisco though, Wolves are just yet to see it.

Key moments

Until a shockingly poor corner from Marcal found its way to the magician that is Ruben Neves, the game was severely lacking quality – not a game for the neutral. Neves then clipped a sumptuous pass over the top of Yves Bissouma, taking eight Brighton players out of the game as Romain Saiss calmly places the ball past Sanchez with his weak foot. The second-phase work behind the scenes, conducted by Tony Roberts seems to be paying dividends for Wolves, with the goals against Brighton and Aston Villa acting as perfect case studies. Backs against the wall for the final ten is something us fans have become accustomed to over the past couple of years, last night was different though, Brighton would not find a way through, Lage is working defensive wonders.

Man of the match

Not only for scoring the first goal in five games, but a stellar defensive performance to match, Romain Saiss deserves all the credit coming his way recently. Alongside Coady and Kilman, the back three have made Wolves fans reconsider where the money should be spent in the upcoming transfer windows. Saiss took his goal brilliantly, and I’m convinced there aren’t many better ball strikers at the club than the Moroccan Maldini – being extremely close to a second, rocketing one off the inside of the post. Safe to say, if AFCON goes ahead, we’re going to miss Romain. Give him another year on his deal already.

Improvements

Despite scoring, it should have been two or three, our finishing still needs a lot of work. One on ones, as I doubt there are many more clubs who have missed more of them than Wolves this season, then chances can be created, the chances just aren’t being converted. Additionally, there were many moments in the first half where too many touches are being taken on the ball before the next pass. Effective link-up play requires quick decision making, to draw the opposition out of their shape, instead, we gave too much time for Brighton in this instance to regain theirs. However, a win’s a win, onto the European champions.

Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here

Steve Bull Stand

Wolves 0-0 Burnley Match Report

Cold, Wednesday night football against notoriously ‘anti-footballing’ sides have become somewhat of a hallmark within Premier League culture. Wolves discovered this as they played out a 0-0 draw against a struggling Burnley side, following a disappointing display against Norwich over the weekend. A game that provided an opportunity for Wolves to gather points with a difficult Christmas period looming; resulted in another disappointing result for the home side, failing to capitalise upon their chances. 

Burnley, as well as Wolves, were missing key players such as Tarkowski and Westwood as suspensions were carried from their postponement vs Tottenham. COVID isolation for Podence and a poor performance from Trincao created space in the starting eleven for Adama Traore. An addition that was welcomed by many after a game against Norwich lacking offensive creativity.

An attritional first period saw Wolves have a couple of half chances, but nothing that tested Pope of note. Until the ball broke for Traore and Jimenez, a two-on-one situation with only Charlie Taylor to beat. The Spaniard managed to generate an angle and blast his shot onto the underside of the crossbar – rippling the net, but not in the way the deceived South Bank had thought. In hindsight, Raul was in acres of space, and was one square ball from sending us in front, but a Traore determined to prove his worth was understandably hungry for a solo attempt. Chris Wood succeeded in finding himself between Wolves’ centre-halves, sending the Molineux faithful into a claret-coloured nightmare after his last display in Wolverhampton, but nothing came to fruition.

The second half story followed from the first, Wolves holding lots of the possession and working it well into key areas, whilst Burnley sat back and waited for a mistake. The narrative of the game was centred around the defences, as any of Burnley’s threats were cut off at source. Unfortunately, Dyche’s men stood firm too, with many of our attacking moves lacking final product, or blocked come the final ball. Personally, Ait Nouri and Semedo looked fatigued, every time an opportunity to take Taylor or (previously carded) Lowton on, the safer option was favoured, returning responsibility to the midfield duo.

 

Key moments

Bar Adama’s crossbar rocket and two lame attempts on goal from Dendoncker and Hwang, Pope had an easy day at the office, occasionally warming himself up by catching a lazy cross. Since Burnley had two defenders on yellow cards before the break, I was surprised not to see more pressure put on them, either to force a mistake or another foul. Not exactly one for the neutral on Amazon Prime, it was a game lacking key moments, instead, the stadium happened to be praying for one from Traore.

 

Man of the match  – Adama Traore

Considering the contract speculation that Adama has been subject to recently, it would be easy for him to become a passenger in this game and almost force Lage’s hand into a January exit for the winger. Additionally, many fans have their questions for Adama, and they have the right to question background affairs such as wage demands and contract negotiations, but his dedication on the pitch cannot be questioned. We were never going to score today, but he gives the team opportunities, and he gets you off your seat – every single game. He missed our only decent chance, but with every attacking move having him involved, only Podence can keep him out of the starting eleven right now.

 

Improvements 

Onto the nightmare before Christmas. Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all before the 25th. Liverpool’s press will be relentless on Saturday, which is why having Neves back will be crucial. Wolves kept the ball well against Burnley, but this is no challenge against a side employing time-wasting tactics from the 55th minute. The same must be done against Liverpool, by developing any possession we have into chances on goal, as two shots on target out of 16 isn’t good enough. Our toughest challenge so far, but knowing Wolves like I know I do; we’ll turn them over easily.

 

Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here

 

Selhurst park

Crystal Palace 2-0 Wolves Match Review

A frustrating afternoon in South London saw Wolves fall 2-0 to Crystal Palace, and a display that demonstrated tactical similarities to the second half of the game on Monday evening. Goals from Wilfried Zaha and Chelsea loanee, Conor Gallagher, sunk Lage’s men in Croydon. Wolves lacked drive, determination and cutting edge, ultimately coming second best to the better side on the day, with no argument over who deserved the victory. 

There’s something about Selhurst Park that causes an uneasiness within me. Over the years, the mixture of the Palace atmosphere and what seems like a smaller pitch never fills me with confidence. An unchanged side was named following the confident first half against Everton, leaving Wolves fans with little room for qualms regarding player selection. From the moment Wolves gained possession though, the floods of blue and red began the swarm, and this was the moment I realised Vieira’s men were not going to roll over, these Eagles came to hunt. 

One key problem many are noticing week in week out (despite the positive results recently), is Wolves’ panic when teams initiate a press. Somehow, even with the abundance of technical ability that our players possess, firing the ball into the channels becomes the adopted tactic. I can accept this if you have payers with the physicality to combat Premier League centre halves, but Francisco Trincao vs Joachim Andersen is a prime example of why weight classes exist in combat sports; it’s simply not a fair matchup. Raul was placed on the graveyard shift, feeding off scraps and praying for an error from Palace’s defensive unit.

Furthermore, an inspired performance from Kouyate prevented many an attempt to progress through the middle of the pitch, highlighting that we need urgent reinforcement in January, particularly someone with energy and dynamism to partner Neves. It’s a must.

Bar Jose Sa with some decent distribution and Kilman shutting out Zaha for much of the game, no one gave a standout performance. Conor Coady and Romain Saiss had a torrid time dealing with Christian Benteke, a pattern that has been reoccurring for four years now. Opposition teams know that pinning a physical striker on Conor will lead to results, and for all his leadership qualities, he will continue to lose important defensive duels in key moments.

 

Key moments  

 

A cagey first half affair saw Joao Moutinho booked after only nine minutes; after Odsonne Edouard dived ahead of him. Similarly, to the Leeds contest, this detracted from our midfield tenacity for the remainder of the afternoon, as Joao would be in no position to make ‘clever’ fouls, or your typical ‘cynical’ challenge in order to break up opposition threat. After half time, it was evident that the home team were keen to stamp their authority upon the contest, and Wilfried Zaha achieved this, slotting home to put the hosts ahead (after a VAR overturn). Wolves had the possibility of a penalty through a rash Joel Ward decision just beyond the penalty box, but again, VAR overturned the decision. One was not enough for the Eagles, as Conor Gallagher’s deflected effort wrongfoots Sa to double Wolves’ troubles.

 

Man of the Match – Max Kilman

 

Kilman’s impressive performances in recent weeks were rewarded midweek with an improved contract for the 24-year-old. Once again though, Wolves’ player of the season (now undeniably) proved exactly why this was his just reward. For the majority of the game, Kilman suppressed Zaha’s threat, and even if Wolves had lost the war at Selhurst Park, Max won his battles (which cannot be said for the rest of the squad). Confidence in tackling the tricky winger, combined with impressive bursts of recovery pace earned Kilman my Man of the Match.

 

Improvements

It’s beyond clear that Bruno will not be satisfied with the performance, with a real lack of intensity throughout, Wolves got exactly what they deserved. The international break will provide time for the management team to find ‘solutions’ to resist pressing teams. We need to be much more confident in our ability to keep the ball under pressure, instead of resorting to route one football. It was a bad day at the office to say the least, but there’s a pattern to the poorer performances, that being against teams with aggressive pressing tactics.

 

Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here

Stan Cullis

Wolves 2-1 Everton Match Report

 

Following an eight-day lay-off for Wolves, we hosted Everton back at Molineux on a windy Monday evening. After the overall feeling of disappointment from the Leeds result, Wolves rectified the lack of intensity with an onslaught of attacking movement, partnered with some of the classiest individual performances to date. This resulted in a 2-1 victory over Rafa Benitez’s men, taking a fourth win from five games, firing us up the table into seventh spot.

 

Once again, with the injury to Marcal, Rayan Ait-Nouri had another opportunity to make the left wing-back position his own, and Trincao was chosen ahead of Adama Traore. Additionally, Ruben Neves entered the fray, replacing Leander Dendoncker after his below par performance against Leeds. A first half of dominance was to come, demonstrating fluidity and threat in attacking portions of the pitch, possibly a product of the high line that Lage opted for. The midfield two oozed class from the first minute, highlighting shades of season 18/19, Neves in particular paying homage to a prime Andrea Pirlo, and not just by his hair. Balance has well and truly been restored with Ait-Nouri’s return, if anyone doubted the Algerian before, best believe they’re hiding now. Another top class display from the 20 year-old, combining progressive runs with stubborn defensive work, utilised perfectly by Bruno Lage, with Semedo to transform our back five into a midfield four within seconds. Hwang and Francisco ran relentlessly during the first 45 minutes, pressing effectively and forcing countless mistakes from the Everton back line. The link up between the front three was sublime, every backheel found a man in old gold, with enough of them to create a five-minute compilation quite comfortably. 

 

However, there is an evident reason as to why there was a stark difference in performance when comparing Everton to Leeds. That difference being pressure, Benitez’s Everton looked like Wolves last season, sitting back, and waiting on a mistake, but built off the foundations of stability and compactness. Compare this to the ‘all guns blazing’ approach that Bielsa drills into his Leeds side, it’s evident that Lage is yet to discover a method to combat a relentless press. Therefore, Everton played into our hands last night, allowing our technically gifted players to place their stamp on the game, pegging the Toffees back for 45 minutes. Despite this, credit must be given to Lage, as Wolves finally look like a team that can break opposition defences, after three great performances to start the season and no goals to show for it, we truly have our tails up now.

 

Key moments

 

Hwang Hee-Chan was denied his fifth goal of the season after a tight VAR call after 15 minutes, but a dominant Wolves remained on top. Ait-Nouri was the one chosen to deliver the corner shortly afterward, and the influential decision to change the style of delivery paid dividends as Kilman netted his first for the Wanderers. No one deserved it more than the player of the season so far (arguably). Five minutes later, a back pass from Godfrey was pounced on by Jimenez, who sumptuously dinked the England number 1, Jordan Pickford, placing Bruno’s men into a commanding position going into half time. The second half saw Iwobi grab an equaliser for Everton following an initial block from Godfrey’s effort, though it wouldn’t be enough to stop Wolves taking all three points. 

 

Man of the match – Raul Jimenez

Possibly the hardest game to choose a man of the match from this season, every player gave 100% and no one made any noticeable errors apart from Sa’s heart attack moment in the second half. He won’t get the plaudits but I thought Romain Saiss was brilliant, when others shy away from 50/50’s, he will fight for the badge every week, without fail. A special mention should go to Ait-Nouri, who was immense too, really cementing his spot in the starting eleven for weeks to come. But my man of the match is Raul Jimenez, his work rate off the ball, delicious link-up play and his first goal back at Molineux is too much to be overlooked. The perfect number 9 performance, Si Senor still has it. 

 

Improvements

It’s impossible to expect any side to sustain the press displayed in the first half, which is why energy levels fell during the second half. Players became tired, and Everton managed to find spaces and opportunities that weren’t available for the first 45 minutes. To battle this problem, the substitutions from Lage must come earlier, making the first change after 79 minutes was too late, and against better sides, we would have been punished. But the first half tactics were perfect and provided a safe cushion. Overall, a cracking night under the lights, more of the same, please.

 

Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here

 

Webp.net-resizeimage (4) (1)

Wolves 1-2 Man Utd Match Report

Wolves were overcome by a youthful Manchester United side as they bid farewell to their departing manager Nuno Espirito Santo. 

Antony Elanga gave the visitors the lead with a bullet header from 12 yards, but the lead was cancelled out by Nelson Semedo who poked home from Fabio Silva’s pass. 

United retook the lead on the brink of half-time as Juan Mata converted a controversial penalty, and it proved to be the decisive goal. 

 

Match Report

This match was always going to be the backdrop to what was an emotional farewell to a coach who has transformed the club over his four year tenure. Nuno was greeted by hundreds of fans as he said goodbye to the city that has welcomed him with open arms, and it proved to be as emotional as we thought it would be. 

However, there was a game to be played, and Nuno went with his tried and trusted five at the back with a midfield trio and two up top. Underperforming players Joao Moutinho and Leander Dendoncker started with Ruben Neves, whilst the usual back three of Conor Coady, Romain Saiss and Willy Boly kept their places. Rayan Ait-Nouri played what could be his last game for Wolves should they decide not to take up their permanent option to buy. 

Fabio Silva and Adama Traore were tasked with providing the creative output, and the latter did what he needed. Traore opened up the game only four minutes in when he burst past several United defenders before putting his shot wide of the post. Young Brandon Williams, who has previously performed well against the Spaniard, couldn’t get close to him and this allowed Wolves to create space in behind and look dangerous. 

The danger wasn’t able yield results however, as Wolves fell behind early on yet again this season on 13 minutes. A cross from the right-hand side beat the back three, and 19-year-old Elanga peeled off Ait-Nouri to power home a header for his first ever Premier League goal. The goal was indicative of the issues Wolves have had aerially this season and it was again frustrating to see a lack of learning from their mistakes as the centre-backs were sluggish to close out any chance of an effort on goal. 

Soon after going behind, things went from bad to worse as Traore had to be taken off with what looked like a hamstring issue – not the first injury woe Wolves have had this season. Willian Jose came on to replace him and it looked drab for a team that has struggled in front of goal this season. 

Fortunately for the side, there was still some good football left in the tank as they were able to combine the midfield and forward lines effectively to draw level. Dendoncker made rare use of his physical stature to burst through midfield after a lovely Moutinho flick, he then played the ball on for Fabio Silva who placed an excellent ball across the box and Nelson Semedo was there to side foot home his first of the season 39 minutes in.

The game ended up being an even contest after the equaliser, but Rui Patricio still had to stay alive as he made a sharp save at his near post to deny United a second. The goal wasn’t to be denied though as Mike Dean controversially awarded a penalty to the away side in added time of the first half after Saiss was adjudged to have tripped Donny Van De Beek. Juan Mata confidently dispatched the spot kick and it was back to the drawing board for Wolves at the break. 

The second half proved to be a real stalemate yet again as Wolves found it difficult to break down United’s defence, either through the wide/inside channels and centrally. Willian Jose was proving to be as ineffective as ever and Silva couldn’t find much service to play off. The Red Devils could and should have added a third when Dan James was sent clean through on goal, but his poor attempt at a chipped finish bounced well wide of the net. 

United’s young side were able to hold on to all three points despite some late pressure from Wolves which saw the midfield push up and Morgan Gibbs-White added centrally to add some creative flair. 

It wasn’t the way Nuno would have wanted to bow out, but it’s a result which summarises the season and shows why Fosun have been looking for a new direction heading into next season. 

The scenes at full-time were incredible, as Nuno was given a true lap of honour with fans belting out the famous ‘Nuno had a dream’ and lauding him with the loudest cheers and applause heard at Molineux in over a year. It showed how he is a manager that has connected an entire city and has been a stellar person and gentleman throughout his whole tenure. The eloquence of his quotes, the memories of Europe and off the field connections were all symbolised in what was a magical moment for him and his coaching staff. 

He was given a guard of honour by his players and looked on with teary eyes as he left the pitch for the final time. A fitting farewell for the best Wolves manager of a generation. 

The club now look on to an enormous summer which will show what Fosun have outlined for next season. The next managerial appointment is expected to be swift, but no matter who they are, they will be backed by a full house at Molineux next season, with fans ready to see a rejuvenated squad that can push up the league and build on from the foundations built by Nuno. 

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

Stan Cullis

Wolves 2-1 Brighton Match Report

Wolves produced a fine second half display to come back from a goal down and see off Brighton at Molineux. Lewis Dunk had given Brighton the lead and could quite easily have added to it with Wolves unable to deal with the away side’s physicality at set pieces. But Wolves came on strong in the second half with goals from Adama Traore and a Premier League first for Morgan Gibbs-White sealing all three points. 

 

Reaction 

 

Wolves (4-2-3-1): Patricio, Hoever, Coady, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Moutinho, Neves, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Podence, Silva (Subs Used: Traore, Jose, Dendoncker) 

 

Brighton (3-5-2): Sanchez, White, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Jahanbaksh, Gross, Bissouma, Trossard, Maupay, Webeck (Subs Used: Mac Alister, Moder, Zeqiri) 

 

Nuno once again put his trust in youth after a promising outing in tough conditions at West Brom. One of the youngsters who impressed in the Black Country derby, Owen Otasowie, missed out through injury. Ki-Jana Hoever replaced Nelson Semedo, while Max Kilman came into the back four in place of the out-of-form Romain Saiss. Joao Moutinho returned from injury while Daniel Podence was also back in the starting line-up. Morgan Gibbs-White adopted the wide right position that Otasowie played at West Brom, with Vitinha starting centrally behind Fabio Silva. Wolves started the game brightly and managed to get in behind Brighton early on, Vitinha forcing a good save from Sanchez. However, following a promising opening to the game Wolves lost control and fell behind due to their inability to defend corners. This worrying trait continued throughout the first half, with Rui Patricio forced into one excellent save to deny Dunk a second form a corner. 

 

Having gone in level at the break it was clear Wolves needed to inject some energy, and they did so with Adama Traore coming on with half an hour to go. Wolves were now also up against ten men after an excellent interchange between Fabio Silva and Vitinha which saw Lewis Dunk bring the Portuguese striker down when he was in on goal, dually shown the red card by Jon Moss. Traore immediately stretched the game, with Gibbs-White now moving into a more central position, looking to support Fabio Silva. And after a number of good situations which Wolves failed to capitalise on, Traore finally had his goal after a neat one-two with Silva in a crowded penalty area, he fired beyond Sanchez with ten minutes to play. Gibbs-White continued to flourish and was having an even greater impact in the centre of the park. Traore chased Sanchez down and stole the ball wide of the goal. He cut back into the area with the keeper stranded but teed up Gibbs-White who fired over. It looked like that elusive Premier League goal was still to come for Gibbs-White, but as the clock struck 90, he redeemed himself as the ball fell nicely in the penalty area after good work from Ait-Nouri. Gibbs-White’s fine finish ensured the win for Nuno’s men, much to the youngster’s delight. 

 

Key Moments 

Dunk Goal

Pascal Gross’ fine delivery was met by the head of Lewis Dunk whose firm header into the ground went beyond Patricio to give the Seagulls the lead. Dunk was marked by Ruben Neves and Morgan Gibbs-White, a poor mismatch which ultimately cost the goal and could quite easily have cost more. 

 

Dunk Red Card

A smart piece of play from Fabio Silva who took the ball down in midfield before finding Vitinha. Silva continued his run beyond Dunk and Vitinha’s perfectly timed ball had Silva through on goal. Dunk took no chances and pulled Silva back, denying a goalscoring opportunity and was given his marching orders. 

 

Traore Goal

Entering a crowded penalty area Traore played a neat one-two with Silva and managed to fire the ball home between a cluster of Brighton defenders. The power and accuracy of the shot gave Sanchez no chance and set up a frantic final ten minutes. 

 

Gibbs-White Goal

Patient build up play around the edge of the box before the ball made its way out wide to Ait-Nouri. He took on Ben White and got the better of him too. The deflected cross fell to the feet of Gibbs-White and at the second time of asking, he curled a beauty into the top corner to seal the win. The delight on his face was there for all to see. 

 

Man of the Match – Morgan Gibbs-White 

The Stafford born midfielder has come in for much criticism in recent seasons having burst onto the scene aged just 16. His progress stagnated, and he had terrible luck early in the season with injury hampering his impressive start to a loan spell at Championship side Swansea City. But in 4-2-3-1 Gibbs-White certainly has his place, having been somewhat of a square peg when used in a 3-4-3/3-5-2. Gibbs-White’s energy and enthusiasm injected belief into the Wolves side that they could come back and win the game. In the second half he linked well with Hoever on the right-hand side, before enjoying the freedom to roam between the lines in a central area following the departure of Vitinha. This seems to be where he is most effective. His goal was superbly taken, made even more impressive by his ability to pick himself up after missing a guilt-edge chance just minutes before. 

 

Final Thoughts 

It was certainly an enjoyable watch in the second half, far more entertaining than most games we have been served up this season. But it was also a poignant moment as the win is likely (hopefully) the final game at Molineux behind closed doors. I have goosebumps just writing that. There will be a small crowd in attendance for the home fixture with Manchester United on the final day, with the hope that Molineux will be packed to the rafters once more in time for next season. The side have struggled for various reasons this season, some are excuses, others are situations that should have been handled better by the club/manager/players. But all in all, the effort is still there, and the younger lads have come in, injecting a newfound energy and for the most part have been relatively enjoyable to watch. Let’s hope they are continued to allow to showcase their talents and develop in these final three games of the season. The standard of opposition gradually increases, and they will be important learning curves ahead of next season. A great win, an enjoyable moment, and hopefully a sign of the future.

 

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