Stu Hall look back at Wolves win against Norwich.
After the setback on Saturday at QPR where it could be argued that not one of the squad deserved to get anything above 6/10. Wolves needed to give the fans a treat rather than a trick on this halloween night fixture.
And deliver one they did for what ranks up there with Derby away and the demolition of Aston Villa at Molineux for the most complete performance of the season so far.
A trip to Carrow Road is always a low point of the season as it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground in recent times, the last win here coming in 2007.
But things are different now and this was a 2-0 masacre that could easily have been 5-0 without any complaints from Norwich.
Daniel Farke himself stated Wolves had unbelievable quality and that shone in abundance once again as Nuno’s men ripped apart the Canaries with relative ease.
There were 3 changes to the starting line-up with N’Diaye replacing the suspended Saiss in midfield and surprisingly 2 defensive changes with Bennett and Boly coming in for Batth and Miranda respectively.
Everyone was to blame for Saturdays tepid performance so it seemed a little harsh to drop them, not just from the first team, but the matchday squad altogether.
It could have been for tactical reasons rather than for a dip in form but whatever the reasons were, it was a masterstroke.
Big Willy had stood tall and firm on the left of the back 3 before his injury but as we have seen with Marshall and Costa, reintroducing players without them having any game time in the u23s hasn’t worked so far.
In Boly’s case it did, it was like he had never been away.
It was the defensive solidity that NES has built this team upon and having Boly’s Steel next to Coady’s composure and Bennett’s experience helped Ruddy out no end after a poor performance in London days earlier.
The closest Norwich came was in the opening exchanges where a soft free kick was whipped in and seemed to get a touch in the air before hitting the base of the post and going wide.
It would be the only time Ruddy looked helpless on his return to his former club.
Down the other end, possession was starting to tell and when the ball fell to Neves on the edge of the box following a hacked clearance from a corner it looked as if he was lining up another screamer as he did at Hull.
Angus Gunn was there to fetch his attempt out of the top corner on this occasion but the next corner of note was a different tale.
Douglas this time whipped in a great ball onto the head of Boly who headed home completely unmarked for his first Wolves goal.
It was no more than the play had deserved and when Bonatini anticipated a short back pass soon after it looked like the second goal was about to come.
Unfortunately he couldn’t keep his balance and blasted over after he had done the hard part and rounded Gunn giving him a shot on goal at a tight angle.
The “star” of the show though again was the referee who acted as if it was all about him. Every single minute challenge was deemed a foul. And not just against Wolves either, both teams had to put up with his baffling behaviour.
It does seem as if as a result of the Championship as a whole has increased in quality, that of the refereeing has got significantly worse.
Being top of the league playing the best football in a generation should be enough but characters like this are doing their best to ruin the experience.
But I digress, the second half began as the first had ended with Wolves looking the more dangerous team.
A break away from a Norwich throw in the Wolves half left Cavaleiro baring down on goal with N’Diaye and Bonatini either side of him closing in on the Canaries 18 yard box.
He chose to pass left to big Alf whose shot was way too tame to trouble Gunn who clutched it to his chest.
Next it was the turn of Jota to run at them from an excellent ball down the touchline by Douglas left him with just the right back to beat before playing in Bonatini with just the keeper to beat.
But again it wouldn’t go in for the Brazilian who poked it just wide.
It was to be only a matter of time though as Norwich failed to clear another excellent whipped in ball from Douglas, this time from a free kick.
When it was played back in it was flicked onto Bonatini side on who volleyed it into the bottom corner for his 9th goal of the season.
In truth it should have come a lot earlier but that did not matter for the travelling 1,500 who had made the long, boring journey to Norfolk.
There were attempts for Jota who was slow to get his shot away and Bright who as usual missed the target but it was way more comfortable than 2-0 suggested.
So Wolves go top of the league once again and enter November on a high.
Under the old rules, this would mean that we would not win a game and drop down the table. If we can win at Norwich and win in black then hopefully the hoodoos of the past are over.
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