Sam Murphy looks back at Wolves emphatic win over Bolton
Wolves stormed to victory with a 5-1 win over Bolton in front of another heaving crowd at Molineux. Wolves seventh win in eight games came at a canter with the home side barely moving out of second gear. The gap in class was palpable, as they extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points, at least for a few hours.
Nuno made no changes from the team that beat Leeds, midweek. The only change to the bench was Ruben Vinegre coming in for Roderick Miranda. Bolton named no less than four ex-Wolves players in their match day squad, in Mark Little, former Wolves captain Karl Henry, Adam Le Fondre and ex-loanee David Wheatley.
Wolves did not start well. Connor Coady tried to play out from inside his own penalty box, gifting Bolton their best chance of the game, if their final ball was better then should have scored. A few moments later Gary Madine headed on target earlier for a comfortable save for John Ruddy, before Wolves took control of the game.
Wolves took the lead after a quarter of an hour, with a free header from Willy Boly, from a whipped in Barry Douglas corner. Ten minutes later Wolves doubled their lead which began with one of the passes of the season from Ruben Neves. With the outside of his right boot he was able to chip the ball over the Bolton defence to release Diogo Jota through on goal. Jota was able to beat the oncoming Ben Alnwick to the ball. Jota was able to clip the ball into the path of Leo Bonatini who was in the right place and the right at the right time, as ever, to head the ball home for his eleventh goal of the season.
For such a dominant performance from Wolves the game descended into a furious argument on the sidelines, as both Phil Parkinson, and Nuno Espirito Santo were sent to the stands by the referee. The altercation came after David Wheater ploughed his way through the back of Diogo Jota, right in front of both benches. Touchline arguments from the Wolves benches have been a familiar sight this season, with Nuno often towering above the fourth official or berating the linesman. It was inevitable that this would have happen at some point this season, just surprising it came after such an innocuous event and at a point in the game when Wolves were cruising.
After half time Ivan Cavaleiro made it 3-0 from the penalty spot. With some smart interplay going forward, Jota fed through Saiss who was caught from behind by Antonee Robinson for Wolves second penalty in as many games. Cavaleiro has said in a recent interview how much he enjoys hearing his name sang from the crowd. If he can keep these levels of performance for the remainder of the season his name will be chanted from the stands of Molineux so loud they will hear it in Lisbon.
Minutes later, Ruben Neves gave the ball away on the edge of his own penalty box, gifting Will Buckley a goal for Bolton. Complacency is a real danger Wolves as they head into every game until the the end of the season as favourites. In the end this was a consolation goal for Bolton, but better sides will be more equipped to take advantage of that complacency. Despite not loosing in the previous seven games Bolton were no match for Wolves.
Cavaleiro scored Wolves fourth goal and his sixth of the season with a swift counter attack from Wolves. Costa was able to control the ball from a poor clearance from the Bolton keeper sliding it into Cavaleiro’s path. He was able to cut inside a Bolton defender and fire a shot into the top right hand corner of the goal. In the last three games Ivan Cavaleiro is having his best spell at Wolves, coming at a time when his place is under threat from the returning Costa. More competition in the squad can only be a good thing for individual performances like these.
Wolves final goal came three minutes from time when John Ruddy punted a ball forward quickly into the path of Diogo Jota. His quick thinking meant Jota was through on goal, with everyone in the stadium expecting him to score, as he sprinted the length of Bolton’s half. Jota slotted the ball into the net, to score his ninth of the season as the majority of the team raced to Ruddy to celebrate his first assist of the season.
Despite the score line this was not a vintage Wolves performance, and with a better performance Wolves could have strolled to six of seven goals, such was the difference in class between the two teams. Wolves will have to wrestle against complacency for the remainder of the season, if they are to ensure the top spot remains theirs. Wolves go to St Andrews after a week’s rest without the suspended Neves and possibly without Nuno on the touchline depending on whether the FA decide to take action. How they address and overcome both of these challenges will determine whether they can maintain their lead going into Christmas.