On one of the coldest afternoon’s of the season Wolves ran out comfortable winners against relegation threatened Burton Albion with a 3-1 victory.
Nuno made only a single change from the mid-week win against Reading, with Ivan Cavaleiro coming in for the injured Diogo Jota
Wolves went six points clear at the top of the Championship with Cardiff not playing until Sunday against Derby. The key statistic though is the thirteen point gap to Aston Villa in third place who lost to Bolton, 1-0, thanks to goal from ex-Wolves striker Adam Le Fondre.
Helder Costa is back to the kind of form that won him the player of the season award last season with the confidence to glide past defenders, and run directly at them with pace and skill.
He opened the scoring on the fifteenth minute with a smart finish breaking free from the Burton Albion high defensive line. Connor Coady, for not the first time this season, produced an exquisite pass to break through the Burton defence.
Wolves went two-nil up with Benik Afobe scored on the 41st minute for the second time in the same week, smashing a ball through the hands of Burton Albion keeper, Stephen Bywater.
Ruben Neves who has one of his best games in a Wolves shirt pierced the Burton back four with a pass in between the centre-half and full-back.
Surprisingly Burton pulled one back just before half-time in unfortunate style for Wolves. Following a Burton corner the ball fell to Lloyd Dyer whose shot deflected several times, and all Ruddy could do was help it into his own goal.
John Ruddy has been consistently criticised this season, and it probably won’t stop following the unfortunate nature of this goal but he was unsighted and seemingly couldn’t do much else with the shot. Despite the criticism he will almost certainly be Wolves number one for the remainder of the season.
Afobe scored his second and four goals in four games, with the simplest of finishes following a great forward run from Ivan Cavaleiro on the 56th minute to kill the game. Benik Afobe is rewarding Nuno for a string of starts in the first eleven, and the faith that Nuno has offered him.
He has adapted his game to fit well with how this team plays under Nuno, getting into the right spaces to apply the finish to the plethora of chances that this team will create.
Afobe could have had a hat-trick but couldn’t bundle the ball over the line from a Doherty cross as a Burton defender and Afobe both fell on the ball before he was able to score.
Ruben Neves might have produced the pass of the season, than Kevin De Bruyne would have been proud of, late on in the game as he drilled the ball across the penalty box, forty yards to find a free Helder Costa.
After loosing to Aston Villa in such humiliating style Wolves could not have handpicked two better games in Reading and Burton at home directly after. This being true, Wolves have come through this with the highest possible degree of competence, and dominant performances.
This result now gives Wolves time to re-group, rest and recuperate in the international break before heading into the final eight games of the season probably needing only four more wins to seal promotion to the Premier League.