Wolves suffered their third defeat in a row with a 3-2 thriller at Molineux against Tottenham who were 3-0 ahead before 65 minutes but despite two penalties Wolves’ spirited comeback was not quite enough.
‘Fantastic, emotional game’ was how Nuno described the game in a post match interview with the BBC and you couldn’t really describe it any better. Wolves played their part in an enthralling encounter against one of the best side in the country if not Europe.
Nuno made one change to the team that lost to Brighton replacing Adama Traore with Ivan Cavaleiro, Jota was still not fit enough to make the bench. Tottenham were playing their third game in a week, and were carrying a whole host of injuries, including Dele Ali, Eric Dier with Sanchez was rested on the bench. They suffered further injury when Dembele went off injured in the first few minutes of the game replaced by Son Heung-min.
Wolves started well and matched a team that included both a World Cup, and golden boot winner from the last World Cup. Wolves without making a large amount of chances impressed in early stages of the game but then defensive laps in concentration made Wolves pay.
Almost to the same minute, as against Watford a few weeks ago, Wolves conceded two goals in the space of two minutes. The first goal came from some well worked build up play from Tottenham, who even on a bad day can pose an attacking threat, which moved Boly and Jonny out of position. This led to Lamela being fed through one on one with Patricio in acres of space and he was able to calmly take the lead with a shot through Patricio’s legs.
Then under three minutes later Lucas Moura had a free header in the box. He managed to find space between Matt Doherty and Ryan Bennett, and slotted an easy header in the net to make it 2-0 after only half an hour had been played.
Despite the second goal, Wolves rallied and pressed Tottenham with increased intensity which culminated in Jimenez slotting the ball home from close range, only for the linesman to wrongly cut short the celebrations with an offside flag. Replays show that Doherty was clearly onside by a significant margin. Bringing a goal back before half time is the type of thing that can change the course of a game.
Half time brought the well trailed light show to Molineux, which was impressive against the soundtrack of Kanye West’s lights, but given the score and being several minutes before the start of the second half the timing could have been better.
With the beginning of the second half however Wolves rallied and created several chances to get themselves back into the game. Ruben Neves brought a wonderful save out of Loris down low to his right hand side, from a placed shot on the outside of the box.
Another chance was created by a wonderful through ball from substitute Morgan Gibbs-White to Helder Costa who beat the offside trap only to poke the ball wide. In hindsight, rounding the keeper and passing into an empty net would have been a better option.
Morgan Gibbs-White came on for his longest game time of the season, and he grasped it with both hands. So much so he was rightly highlighted on Match of the Day that evening. His pace, and impetus with the ball offers something different to Moutinho and Neve’s cross field balls which maybe have become slightly predictable. At 18 he is showing great signs of a player who is destined to play at an extremely high level. Whether it was sending Harry Winks the wrong way or driving forward with what is now his characteristic runs he must have laid claim to more minutes under Nuno.
In chasing the game Wolves, left defensive gaps which allowed Spurs to make the score 3-0 on the 61st minute. A lumped ball forward from Loris reminiscent of Wimbledon in the crazy gang days fell to Harry Kane whose shot produced a fantastic save from Patricio, but then on the rebound Kane was able to slot home past the diving Patricio.
At 3-0 down it takes a lot of character for any team to dust themselves down and try to get back into the game; not letting the match fade into the final whistle. But Wolves showed exactly that character in the second half of the game which is the key positive from this game despite the negatives.
Wolves were able to make the last moments of the game a thriller with two penalties, both given away by the 20 year old Argentinian defender Foyth who was making his Premier League debut for Tottenham. Firstly he clipped Raul Jimenez, who had an industrious, tireless game, which was converted calmly by Ruben Neves. Secondly Foyth, bundled Jonny to the floor, which was converted calmly again by Raul Jimenez from the spot.
Wolves consistently piled on the pressure until the final whistle but despite their valiant attempt at a third goal, their two penalties were only ever a consolation. Wolves amassed a total of 16 shots to Tottenham’s 10, and this is worth repeating, Tottenham are a Champions League team Mauricio Potchettino.
This was Wolves third loss in a row, but it’s no time to panic. Wolves have played well in their last two games and have been slightly unlucky to come away with no points. They matched and bettered a top four team for much of the ninety minutes. They do however need to work on their defensive lapses in concentration, as Wolves are never going to be high scorers under Nuno, that’s not his style. It might be time for a slight shake up of the defence which hasn’t changed all season, especially with Dendonker sitting on the sidelines.
They travel to the Emirates next Sunday for another difficult clash against a side unbeaten in 14 games after drawing with Liverpool. As fans, players and as a city, this is who we want to be playing against. It’s only a few seasons ago that we were playing Rotherham in league one. Wolves have come a long way in a short space of time and have shown against Manchester City that they can compete against the best. Maybe with a few tweaks and a fair bit of luck we can get a result in London next Sunday.