Tottenham held on at the Molineux to survive a late scare after two second half penalties gave Wolves hope of a dramatic comeback.
Wolves pressed the Spurs back line well, but were guilty of rushing the final pass as they attempted to punish the visitors slack distribution in defence. Spurs then showed their class as they raced into a two goal lead, with just three minutes separating Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura’s clinical finishes.
The Argentine capitalised on poor marking from Wolves wing-back Jonny as he slid the ball between the advancing Patricio’s legs before Moura found himself unmarked to head home from Kieran Trippier’s floated cross, the full-back given time and space to provide another trademark assist.
Despite Wolves’ good work in attack after the interval, Pochettino’s side continued to pose a threat on the break and looked to have killed the game off with Harry Kane notching at the second attempt after more good work from Lamela.
A rash tackle from youngster Juan Foyth on Jiménez gave the hosts a glimmer of hope as Neves sent Lloris the wrong way from the spot. Foyth was again culpable minutes later as he conceded a second penalty, this time Jiménez converting confidently to set up a grandstand finish.
It wasn’t to be though for the hosts as Pochettino’s side held on for a memorable victory.
Key Talking Point
Wolves’ manager Nuno Espirito Santo will be proud of his players efforts for a determined display, and will perhaps feel that his side deserved at the very least a share of the spoils. He will however lament his forwards’ finishing as his side wasted numerous chances against a Spurs defence that showed they were error prone from the outset.
Despite the loss, there is certainly cause for optimism for Wolves fans.
Starting XI: Patricio (6); Bennett (7), Coady (6), Boly (5); Doherty (6), Neves (7), Moutinho (6), Jonny (5); Cavaleiro (5), Jiménez (6), Costa (7*).
Substitutes: Bonatini (5), Gibbs-White (6), Traore (N/A)
Helder Costa looked increasingly dangerous throughout the game. The winger’s pace and trickery from the right of Nuno Santo Espirito’s front three caused Spurs’ defence a host of problems. Ben Davies, at left-back in place of Danny Rose, struggled to deal with his opposite number and was fortunate to see the Portuguese fire wide when clear in the second half.
Jonny was at fault for both of Spurs’ quickfire goals in the first half. The wing-back found himself caught out by Spurs’ quick exchanges on the edge of the Wolves box for the first before allowing Trippier, one of the league’s best crossers, an unforgivable amount of time and space to pick his target for the visitors’ second.
Key Talking Point
The focus prior to Saturday evening’s clash was centred on further off-field issues for Spurs, with another set of delays announced in the week regarding the opening of Spurs’ new stadium. Maurico Pochettino also revealed that this is the worst he has felt in his time at Spurs after a summer of frustration in the transfer window and with his players struggling in the Champions league.
A win, however nervy the last half an hour was, will serve to lift the mood around Wembley ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League crunch match against PSV.
Starting XI: Lloris (7); Trippier (6), Foyth (5), Alderweireld (6), Davies (5); Winks (7), Dembélé (N/A), Sissoko (5), Lamela (7), Moura (7*); Kane (7).
Substitutes: Son (5), Eriksen (5), Sanchez (N/A)
Lucas Moura took his goal well, and provided much-needed energy in attack for his side with Wolves’ defence struggling to cope with his movement in behind at times. Pochettino has afforded the former PSG star regular game time this term and is reaping the rewards; Moura’s link up play and understanding with his teammates has improved drastically this term.
Lamela also gets an honourable mention for another accomplished attacking display.
Juan Foyth’s second half nightmare sees him take this one. The young defender looked composed in the first half, though two lapses in concentration from the centre-back set up a nervy finish for his side as he conceded two penalties.
Spurs face possibly their most important game of the season in the week as they take on PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League as they seek to reduce the gap between themselves Inter Milan and Barcelona who currently occupy the top two spots in their group.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves take on Arsenal at the Emirates next weekend as they seek to bounce back from successive league defeats.