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Wolves 1 Burnley 0 – Report and pictures

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published: | Last Updated:

Raul Jimenez was the match-winner as impressive Wolves beat Burnley 1-0 at Molineux to go ninth in the table.

Wolves dominated the first half and went close through Jimenez, Jonny Castro Otto and Willy Boly.

They deservedly took the lead shortly after the break when Jimenez turned home Matt Doherty's low cross.

More chances went begging for Helder Costa, Doherty and Leo Bonatini but Wolves had to settle for a second successive 1-0 win.

Analysis

The history books will suggest that Wolverhampton Wanderers edged past Burnley in a tight encounter on September 16, 2018.

However everyone in the stadium, including even the most diehard Burnley supporters, knew this was a 1-0 thrashing, writes Tim Spiers at Molineux.

Wolves absolutely hammered the visitors 1-0, with the scoreline doing absolutely nothing to reveal the sheer dominance enjoyed by the home team.

Chance after chance came and went, with Wolves almost wholly responsible for making this a far edgier finale than it needed to be. Joe Hart made a couple of inspired saves, too, while some heroic Burnley defending (they cleared three off the line) also helped keep the scoreline down.

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The post-match message from Nuno will inevitably therefore, as after the victory over West Ham, centre around Wolves' need to be more clinical in front of goal.

While that's absolutely true, Wolves should be nothing but lauded for an utterly dominant, all-encompassing performance against an established Premier League table that finished seventh last season.

Wolves 1 Burnley 0 - Tim Spiers and Nathan Judah analysis

Wolves were comfortable at the back, they controlled play in midfield and they created an almost endless number of presentable opportunities.

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They should have won by a bigger margin, but goodness me do they look like they belong at this level. This was a fantastic performance of attacking intent, of movement, of pace, of swagger and of high quality.

The fine tuning will come. For now, their supporters can marvel at the fact that their team are showing so many signs that they can make a big impact in this division, as we all suspected they could.

Five games, two wins, only one defeat and a point against the champions. Pretty good start, Wolves. Pretty good.

Match report

Nuno named the same XI for the fifth league game of five this season – becoming only the second Premier League team to do so at the start of a campaign in the past 10 years.

That meant no place in the XI for Adama Traore despite his match-winning goal at West Ham two weeks ago. It was the same subs too, so Leander Dendoncker is still waiting to feature in his first league squad.

Ex-Wolves striker Sam Vokes made his first league start of the season for Burnley, for whom another former Molineux man Stephen Ward was on the bench.

The Clarets were playing their 11th game of the season already owing to Europa League commitments – more than a quarter of the matches they'd played during the whole of 2017/18 – and it showed in a first half that Wolves dominated.

Nuno's team were on the front foot from the off and after a fairly quiet opening they began to regularly pepper the Burnley goal with 13 shots (compared to four for the Clarets) as well as 60 per cent possession and four corners (to Burnley's none).

The reason is remained goalless at the break was due to a combination of average finishing, some dogged Burnley defending and a couple of excellent saves from Joe Hart.

The England keeper had to be alert in the early stages to claw out a Helder Costa cross with Willy Boly stretching to try and force it home.

Then, after Costa had delayed his shot from a good position afetr being teed up by Jonny Castro Otto, Hart somehow kept out a fierce drive from Raul Jimenez although the striker should have scored from 10 yards. The same player headed the rebound goalwards but it was cleared off the line by James Tarkowski and then 30 seconds later an Otto effort was also blocked on the goal-line as Wolves ramped up the pressure.

Otto and Ruben Neves saw shots deflected wide and blocked as Wolves continued to push Burnley back and then on the stroke of half time Willy Boly sent a dipping volley just over the bar from a corner.

At the other end Rui Patricio had not a thing to do. Burnley attacked rarely and when they did they found Ryan Bennett in an uncompromising mood as he cleared Wolves' lines with a couple of impressive tackles and headers.

The only thing Wolves hadn't done in the first half was create a glaring 'must score' opportunity in front of goal, but they did that within 30 seconds of the restart. A dreadful Phil Bardsley back-pass saw Jota race towards goal down the left – Hart came off his line and Jota squared to Jimenez for practically an open goal, but the ball wasn't quite in his path and the striker fired over the bar from 18 yards.

A similar situation to create that golden chance occurred a few minutes later but, again, the final pass wasn't there when Costa couldn't pick out Jimenez.

The organisation, the shape, the possession, the build-up play...it was all there, but Wolves were over-thinking it in the final third.

Jota dispensed with the subtle approach for an 18-yard thwack which flashed just wide of the post as Wolves continued to boss a one-sided game with the clock on the hour mark.

And then, finally, came the reward they had been searching for. Matt Doherty played a lovely give-and-go with Costa, raced into the box and picked out Jimenez who guided his side-footed shot into the bottom corner for his second Wolves goal.

Wolves looked so comfortable and they should have doubled their lead minutes later but Costa showed a lack of composure when ballooning over the bar from 15 yards after being perfectly teed up by the impressive Otto.

The last person Burnley will have wanted to see was Traore, who replaced Costa on 66 minutes. However against the run of play the Clarets so nearly equalised when substitute Matej Vydra volleyed across the face of goal and Jack Cork was a whisker away from connecting from a yard out.

Burnley were coming out of their shells and there were gaps for Wolves to exploit. Doherty did just that when he embarked on a cumbersome run into the box and was played in by Jimenez...but the Irishman fluffed his shot wide.

That was Wolves' 21st shot on the afternoon, compared to Burnley's five. It was a 1-0 thrashing but with 10 minutes to go the result was still in doubt.

Bonatin replaced Jimenez and tried to get in on the act with a shot on the turn, which became their third effort of the game cleared off the line with Tarkowski again defending heroically.

Burnley pushed further forward, as they had to, but Patricio had only one bobbling shot to deal with. Bonatini should have made it 2-0 in stoppage time when he scuffed wide from Traore's pass with Wolves' 30th shot, but they had to settle for 1-0.

Teams

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Bennett, Coady (c), Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Otto; Costa (Traore, 66), Jimenez (Bonatini, 76) , Jota (Gibbs-White, 88). Subs: Ruddy, Hause, Saiss, Vinagre.

Goals: Jimenez (61)

Burnley (4-4-2): Hart; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Lennon, Hendrick (Westwood, 79), Cork, Gudmundsson; Vokes (Wood, 70), Barnes (Vydra, 56). Subs: Heaton, Lowton, Ward, Long.

Attendance: 30,406

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

League position

9th (eight points from five matches)

Next up

Wolves travel to face Manchester United at Old Trafford next Saturday, kick off is at 3pm.

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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