SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER, 2018
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 2(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2)
Neves, 68 (pen)
Lucas Moura, 30
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- Dan Robathan, Mark Scholes
Fourth official:- Jonathan Moss
Wolves (3-4-3):- Rui Patricio; Bennett, Coady (Capt.), Boly; Doherty, Moutinho (sub Gibbs-White, 62), Neves, Jonny Otto; Helder Costa (sub Traore, 84), Jiminez, Cavaleiro (sub Bonatini, 62)
Subs not used:- Ruddy; Dendoncker, Ruben Vinagre; Hause
Booked:- Bennett (foul on Son)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Foyth, Alderweireld, Davies; Winks, Dembele(sub Son, 7)(sub Eriksen, 59); Sissoko, Lamela, Lucas Moura (sub Sanchez, 79); Kane
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Aurier; Skipp; Llorente
Booked:- Foyth (foul on Jonny Otto), Winks (foul on Gibbs-White)
Spurs hang on, despite Wolves onslaught
This was a game which non-partisan late Saturday night TV viewers will have found enthralling; Wolves fans found thrilling at the prospect of a fantastic come-back, but which Spurs fans might have had few fingernails left. Such was the tension for away fans, despite holding a three goal lead after 61 minutes. Wolves had already been giving Spurs a hard time though from the start of the second half when Hugo Lloris had to make three good saves in as many minutes. We needed that third goal, and might have needed a fourth had an apparently legal Wolves goal not been disallowed for offside before the break. Wolves’ exciting come-back was cemented by not one but two penalties, both conceded by Juan Foyth. Foyth deserves sympathy though, despite his naivety having on both occasions been put in trouble by errors by firstly Trippier, then Trippier and Winks combined. It was a great game, and a great result for Spurs who climbed back into the top four above Arsenal as a result. That was very satisfying!
The Molineux Stadium has had quite a bit of work done in the seven years since our last visit here with the Stan Cullis stand in particular having been upgraded. Wolves’ pre-match ceremonies included the laying wreaths in memory of the victims of the helicopter crash last week at Leicester, but there was confusion (and we certainly were not aware in our section) regarding an intended moment of silence, as Wolves fans barracked Spurs fans for chanting soon after those who laid the wreaths did not pause, but simply walked back off the pitch. The last post and silence for Remembrance was observed immaculately, and Molineux dipped its lights respectfully.
Spurs kicked off playing towards the Sir Jack Hayward stand, but within two minutes Mousa Dembele had suffered badly in a crunching collision with Helder Costa. Dembele was clearly suffering but that didn’t stop some heartless home fans booing him for having the audacity to get badly injured. Dembele hobbled off, and will surely be added to the list of those Spurs players unavailable before the International break. Dele Alli was rested tonight ahead of Tuesday’s vital Champions League game, but we already have Vertonghen, Rose, Dier and Wanyama on that injury list. Dembele was replaced by Son who took Sissoko’s place in the midfield three behind Harry Kane, whilst Sissoko fell back to partner Harry Winks. In the second half, when Wolves relentlessly attacked the Spurs goal, we badly missed a player such as Dembele, Dier or Wanyama who could put a decent tackle in allowing the Wolves pack to hunt so vigorously.
Wolves had a couple of early chances. Firstly Jiminez fired over the bar after receiving from Doherty on the right. Doherty had a chance himself soon after, but his was a weak shot towards Lloris’s right post, which the goalkeeper held comfortably. Spurs’ first chance of note fell to Harry Kane following good work by Son and Lucas Moura. It was Lucas Moura’s final ball to Kane who fired goalward from the left side, only to see Rui Costa save well towards his right side. Bennett got the first booking of the night for a foul on the advancing Son.
Spurs’ first goal came after typically patient build-up, before they slipped smoothly into gear with Lamela intercepting a Son ball that was intended for Trippier on the right wing. Lamela chested it down and ran into the box on the right side before firing low through Rui Patricio’s legs for his fourth Premier League goal and sixth Spurs goal of the season. Within three minutes it was 2-0 as Lucas Moura delightfully headed home a good deep cross by Trippier. Both Lamela and Lucas Moura are offering Harry Kane excellent goal scoring support this season, but Harry would add to his tally in the second half. As for Trippier, we know he can be impactive going forward, but defensively I am afraid he was again culpable in both Wolves’ goals.
That second Spurs goal had been started by excellent battling and ball-winning in the middle by Lamela and good build-up play by Davies, Sissoko and Son, before Trippier’s cross. The partisan home crowd did not like the fact that referee Mike Dean allowed Lamela’s intervention, an d would howl down Dean in the first half over other perceived leniency. I don’t think they complained about their penalties!
Harry Kane and Lucas Moura exchanged passes outside the Wolves box after 32 minutes, before Kane unleashed a powerful shot from 22 yards which Rui Patricio parried before picking up. Spurs did plenty of recycling of the ball, but occasionally missed up their play. One such occasion was when Toby Alderweireld gave Lucas Moura a chase for a ball which he won, getting into the edge of the Wolves area before hitting a right footed shot which was saved. At this stage it looked as if Spurs might rattle up something approaching a cricket score. Wolves had the ball in the n et after 36 minutes, but the offside flag had been raised.
Wolves then put us under some pressure winning two corners. Both Ruben Neves and Jiminez had efforts blocked before Boly headed wide from the back post. Lucas Moura and Lamela threatened at the other end, but Lamela crossed too deeply from the right. Both Kane and Lucas Moura had further opportunities which were blocked. Before the interval Jiminez hit a ball which was deflected by Alderweireld into the path of Ruben Neves, who fired over. I said that we needed a third goal, and ultimately, that was the case!
After the pre-match solemnity, Wolves offered a light show at half-time, but I have seen better. Still, all power to the club for their efforts and to their players for their second half display which whipped their fans into a frenzy. Wolves enter the pitch to the sound of Jeff Beck’s “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, which is a bit weird as they play in gold!
Spurs’ defence successfully repelled Wolves’ early attacks but three minutes into the half, Lloris palmed away Jiminez’s powerful shot after he had been put in by Helder Costa. Lloris made another save, this one with his feet from Helder Costa, and then a third – arguably his best – low to his right from Ruben Neves’ shot following Wolves’ corner. During this spell, Trippier and Jiminez had a contretemps which led to Mike Dean having words with the players after that early spell of Wolves’ pressure.
Having survived that early pressure, Spurs firstly created a chance, then made it 3-0. Firstly Toy Alderweireld ran the ball into the Wolves half passing to Lamela on the right. Erik gave a quick ball to Kane who hit a right footed shot wide. The Spurs substitute was subbed when Eriksen replaced Son. Son had played his part, but having played 90 minutes on Wednesday against West Ham, he will no doubt be required against PSV on Tuesday. Pochettino is still managing his squad in this busy period, despite the injuries.
Within two minutes of that change, it was 3-0. Lloris had firstly failed with his attempts at short passes at thee back, before he successfully hit the ball long. Harry Kane won the headed and sent Lamela away down the right. Lamela had one attempted cross blocked, before the second reached Harry, who in turn had one shot saved before he did beat the Wolves keeper low with his left foot. That’s Harry’s sixth Premier League goal and his eighth of the season for Spurs.
The response of the Wolves manager was to replace Moutinho with 18 year old Morgan Gibbs-White. First though Kane had another effort on goal, well saved by the keeper after Harry had received from Lucas Moura. The shot was a right footed curler from the left of the area, heading for the far post. Wolves then got their first penalty when Foyth brought down another of the Wolves subs – Bonatini. Foyth had been left in the lurch by Trippier’s failed efforts to either clear or to win aa goal kick on the right side. Ruben Neves made no mistake from the spot. Kane had another shot saved =, after again receiving from Lucas Moura.
I thought that Helder Costa might have been offside when he received a ball over the Spurs defence on 74 minutes, but after being presented with a fine chance, he pulled his shot wide. Now came another defensive mix-up for Spurs, this was in the middle between Winks and Trippier, who was caught out as Wolves attacked down their left flank and Foyth was again penalised – this time for impeding Jonny Otto. This time Jiminez took the penalty, but the result was the same with Lloris going the wrong way. Spurs fans’ nails were now being chewed vigorously. Lucas Moura was sacrificed for Sanchez to shore up our defence, with Foyth taking up station beside Winks and Sissoko, but to be honest we did not succeed in stopping the Wolves’ pack surge towards our goal. We were far too open in the middle throughout the second half.
Nuno Esperito Santo’s final throw of the dice was record signing Adama Traore, who did hit a cross from the right which landed on top of the Spurs net. Winks got a yellow card for a foul on Gibbs-White and Sanchez struggled to pick up the pace of the game (it was frenetic!), but Spurs did manage to see out the four minutes plus of added time. It was a precious win and fourth place was regained after Arsenal (with a late equaliser) drew at home to Liverpool. For Wolves, this was a third consecutive defeat, but I am positive we will be back at Molineux next season.
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