SUNDAY 27TH DECEMBER, 2020
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Dan Cook, Harry Lennard
Fourth official:- Andre Marriner
VAR:- David Coote
Assistant VAR:- Nick Hopton.
Wolves (4-2-3-1):- Rui Patricio; Semedo, Coady (Capt.), Saiss, Marcal (sub Ait-Nouri, 75); Neves, Moutinho (sub Otasowie, 83); Traore, Podence (sub Vitinha, 90+1), Neto; Fabio Silva
Subs not used:- Ruddy; Hoever, Kilman; Perry, Cundle; Corbeanu
Booked:- Podence (foul on Hojbjerg), Coady (foul on Ndombele), Marcal (foul on Ndombele), Semedo (foul on Ndombele)
Spurs (3-4-1-2):- Lloris (Capt.); Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Doherty, Hojbjerg, Winks, Reguilon (sub Bergwijn, 63); Ndombele (sub Sissoko, 70); Kane, Son (sub Lamela, 84)
Subs not used:- Hart; Aurier, Alderweireld, Rodon, Tanganga; Dele
Booked:- Winks (foul on Traore)
Utterly, utterly predictable and poor to watch
Have the bad times under Mourinho already begun? Today we scored ever so early, after just 57 seconds in fact. After that we hardly bothered the Wolves keeper and became so poor to watch as we sat back and let Wolves become more and more dominant to the point where an equaliser at least was inevitable. That came late in the game and was totally deserved by Wolves. They had a good chance to win it too near the end of the 6 minutes of added time. Spurs have dropped 10 points in four games and have become utterly, utterly predictable and poor to watch. When the fans are allowed back in our stadium the club wants its fans to flock to see their heroes. They won’t be flocking on this form. If you ask me, Jose’s honeymoon is over.
To be honest, the initial team selection was strange. Davinson Sanchez hasn’t played a Premier League game for 10 such matches. His last league game was our 3-3 against West Ham in mid-October. Perhaps Jose wanted his pace to compensate for the selection of former Wolves right wing-back Matt Doherty. Doherty was not only granted his wish to play against his old team, but also played in his favoured position. On the other side of our defence I understand the selection of both Ben Davies and Sergio Reguilon to negate the threat of Adama Traore on Wolves’ right wing. They did that successfully too for most of the game. Surely though Wolves had to be perceived as more of a threat than Fulham on Wednesday, which makes me wonder why Harry Winks played alongside Hojbjerg and not Sissoko. The presence of Ndombele behind Kane and Son proved a positive factor, not only with his first minute goal, but also other skilful moments, primarily in the first half. Sadly Kane and Son in front of him were below par most of the time.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo is missing key players such as Jimenez, and Jonny but today also was without Boly and Dendoncker. Hence he played a back four and not a back three, which these days is not his default, but was perhaps anticipated by Mourinho. Nuno had six teenagers on the bench and an 18-year-old Fabio Silva leading his line. Jimenez, who suffered that horrific fractured skull away to Arsenal recently was in the stadium, and no doubt an inspiration to his team-mates. Conor Coady was playing his 250th game for Wolves and as always was very vocal on the pitch and is always an inspiration to Wolves.
Spurs kicked off and did offer a surprise in the fact they quickly hit a long ball forward which led to Son winning a corner, taken on the left. The corner passed across the area and reached Ben Davies who touched the ball back to Ndombele who struck a powerful right footed shot from outside the area beating the slightly wrong-footed Rui Patricio inside his left post.
It wasn’t long before Wolves started to dominate possession and got on the front foot. Traore did well to cut inside from his flank passing to Podence, whose shot lacked power and was picked up by Lloris. Podence went down after a Sanchez challenge but got no foul. Fabio Silva wanted something when he fell inside the area but there was no foul then either. Ndombele led a Spurs attack, not for the first or last time and passed to Reguilon to his left. Reguilon was inside the area and in a central area but put his shot outside the goalkeeper’s right post.
Coady had a header on target following a corner, but the ball went straight to Lloris, who was not being stretched. After a foul by Ben Davies, Saiss hit a free kick but this was blocked by the Spurs wall. Ndombele made a great run from halfway through the middle. He had Kane to his right but chose Reguilon to his left. Reguilon’s shot went straight to the keeper’s arms. Kane was exasperated, but I must admit I felt Reguilon was in the better position. There was some nice interaction between Kane and Ndombele on the edge of the right side of the Wolves area with Ndombele turning on a sixpence (ask your Dad kids!). the Wolves defence came out of this on top.
Traore over-hit a cross at the other end. His form has not been so good this season and he has scored no goals and had no assists in 21 Premier League games. Ironically, for most of this game Wolves demonstrated an inability to cross accurately or dangerously, until they scored. Semedo got the right edge of the area and crossed short to Fabio Silva, whose shot was just wide of the near post. Sanchez inexplicably headed down a Traore cross to the feet of Podence who thankfully did not hit his shot with great power, allowing Lloris to save low to his left.
Harry Winks took a yellow card “for the team” just before the break when he halted Traore in his tracks just inside the Wolves half. Knowing that Mourinho does not generally like to risk players with yellow cards, I thought Winks would be replaced, but he managed the full 98 minutes (including added time).
Wolves kept Spurs waiting before they came out for the second half and in no time Fabio Silva went down dramatically inside the area when Eric Dier tackled. Wolves got a corner and not a penalty, and short shrift from Mr. Tierney. Podence got a card for dissent and Hugo Lloris held the header that was made from the corner. The last touch might have been off Sanchez.
Wolves showed plenty of energy and had Spurs under pressure for most of the second half. Spurs forwards won several free kicks to give respite to the defence, but this is not the Spurs we know and love. Harry Winks hit good long pass to Reguilon who had raced forward, but his ball inside came to nought. Ndombele was fouled by Coady 25 yards out. Coady was booked. Eric Dier took the kick which passed wide of Rui Patricio’s right post.
Neto got to the left side of the area and when he crossed the ball rebounded off several defenders to the feet of Fabio Silva who did not hit a proper shot, but the ball ran goalward and Lloris saved.
Reguilon was replaced by Bergwijn who operated up and down the left flank. A powerful shot by Neves took a strong deflection and won a corner. Son and Kane did get into a dangerous position towards the right of the Wolves goal, but there was no shot as a result. Sanchez blocked a Neto shot firmly at the expense of another corner. Ndombele was replaced by Sissoko who took up an attacking position on the right side, which is not his forte.
After 79 minutes Neves had another shot, this one was from 25 yards. Hugo saved to his left without much stress. Lamela was our final substitution for Son. The inevitable equaliser came from a corner conceded (necessarily) by Ben Davies and taken by Neto. Saiss scored across Lloris with a glanced header.
Harry Kane went down very easily at the other end with Saiss at his back when chasing a Harry Winks ball. In added time Neto broke down the left channel and finally hit a cross/shot which tested Lloris, who saved. Wolves should have won the game in the fourth minute of added time when Neves crossed but the youthful Fabio Silva headed down weakly into Lloris’s grateful arms.
Spurs could have gone third, but have to be satisfied with fifth place. They had better start winning games soon. Usually you’d say that there is no better chance than with Fulham who we play at home on Wednesday. However, on this form, I have no confidence in my Spurs. It’s the same old story, I am afraid.
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