Wolves beat Burnley 1-0 at Molineux after a dominating performance against a lacklustre Burnley side, with a second goal of the season from Raul Jiménez to record their first home Premier League win since 2011.
Nuno named the same first eleven for the fifth game in a row, with Adama Traoré remaining on the bench and Dendonker not included in the match day squad. Burnley, after finishing in seventh place last season, have had a difficult start to their campaign; crashing out of the Europa League and not winning in the last five matches. Burnley named ex-Wolves players Sam Vokes and Stephen Ward in their starting line-up and on the bench respectively.
Burnley had played six times more than Wolves this season before kick off, and it showed. Despite excellent performances from their back four and Joe Hart in goal, Burnley produced a lacklustre forward display, lacking any real imagination to break Wolves down. Rui Patricio could have caught up on the box set of The Bodyguard during the game he had so little to do.
The game started slowly with Wolves having the majority of the possession without creating any decisive chances. Then the match erupted into life with three great chances for Wolves in less than a minute. Joe Hart managed to pull off a high quality instinctive save from a Jiménez header but the rebound fell to Johnny who had half the goal empty to aim at, but could only drag his shot close to a blocking defender.
Finally after, the ball broke to Ruben Neves who sent an inviting cross to the back post for Matt Doherty, who had a man of the match performance, only for it to be blocked again by Joe Hart at a tight angle. Wolves continued to dominate possession amassing a total of thirty shots with only Man City having more shots in a game this season.
Wolves went in at half time 0-0 only lacking a clinical edge against a Burnley side whose best player was their goalkeeper. After the restart Jota leapt onto a poor back pass from Phil Bardsey but couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet before sliding in Raul Jiménez only for him to shoot high and wide. The final pass from Jota was not quite on a plate to make it a sitter.
Both Wolves wingers and wing backs were increasingly finding space in the game and defending from the front, both reclaiming possession for Wolves in the Burnley half. Costa and Doherty were instrumental when Wolves took the lead in the sixty-first minute.
A series of good interplay on the right hand side between them both ended with Doherty reaching the byeline to pull back for Jiménez who was able to glance the ball into the bottom corner, scoring his second of the season. Surely after such a great performance Doherty deserves a sustained chance in international football for the Republic of Ireland.
The game became even more open thereafter with Burnley searching for an equaliser, however their only real chance came when Vydra was on the end of a deep cross which he managed to hammer across the face of the goal, whiskers away from being tapped in by Cook. That was the only chance that Burnley could muster in the entire match.
Adama Traoré came on in the 66th minute at a point when the game was opening up. His presence on the field gave Wolves even more impetus going forward. He could have had two assists if Doherty and Bonatini put away their chances.
Like in his other appearances in a Wolves shirt Traoré showed what an unique player he is. He wriggled past two or three Burnley defenders several times, and stretched the game with his immense pace.
However it’s unlikely that Nuno will change his starting eleven given the performances of Costa and Jota in todays game. It’s a testament to how well Wolves have played in the Premier League that their two keynote signings, Traoré and Dendonker, are not able to force themselves into the first team.
Wolves continued to press late on in the game with Doherty having one of the best chance’s of the match, after a great run and lay-off from Traoré. Leon Bonatini came on for Diogo Jota and he could have scored a hat-rick, with several chances spurned, hit over the bar or blocked by Burnley defenders.
Johnny who had his best game in a Wolves shirt was a constant threat down the left hand side cutting in on his right foot. He produced an outrageous cross to find Bonatini whose shot was blocked after two attempts.
Wolves could have won this game by three of four goals in front of over 30,000 Wolves fans. Nuno said after the game that making these chances ‘makes him very proud’, but Wolves should have been more clinical in front of goal. However they kept a clean sheet for the second game in a row, and produced some great free-flowing football. Wolves go to Old Trafford in a weeks time with momentum and expectations to get a result against Manchester United something that would be unthinkable for Wolves fans even five years ago.