Wolves six game winning streak came to an end with a 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland. Despite the draw Wolves remain top of the Championship and eight points clear of third place Bristol City.
The Wolves ground staff worked over night to make sure the game was on despite the snow and cold conditions but Wolves didn’t repay those efforts with a lack-lustre performance.
Wolves made one change from their Monday night win at St Andrews with Ruben Neves returning from suspension to replace Alfred N’Diaye, Despite limping off earlier in the week Romain Saiss was fit enough to start the game alongside Neves. Sunderland began the game in the relegation zone having won only two games this season.
Wolves came into the game on a six game winning streak scoring sixteen goals and only conceding two. It had to end at some point however and Sunderland were organised and defended well, frustrating Wolves.
Wolves lacked urgency and pace on the ball despite having the majority of the possession and only really troubled Ruiter once in the Sunderland goal. Wolves amassed twenty three shots, to Sunderland’s one throughout the game, and had 72% of the possession but couldn’t break down Sunderland’s resolute defence. Sunderland with a back five and bank of four in front of them compressed the space making it very difficult for Wolves to break through.
The first half saw Wolves create several half chances, through crosses into the box, with Cavaleiro looking the best threat. The best chance of the half fell to in-form Leo Bonatini who sliced terribly for a cross from Jota but his shot nearly went out for a throwing.
Ruben Neves found himself in more advanced positions compared to what the Molineux crowd has seen this season. He had several shots from distance in this game with only one on target which was straight at the keeper. His passing range and accuracy was superb again but it was not enough to unlock the Sunderland defence.
A key moment in the game saw Lee Cattermole given two yellow cards in under a minute to see Sunderland go down to ten men. This didn’t have a major impact on the result of the game because Wolves weren’t able to capitalise on Sunderland’s reduced numbers.
Following the sending off Wolves had more shots on target, and put more pressure on the Sunderland goal than earlier in the game. However Sunderland’s experienced defence held out for the draw with an effective rear-guard action.
Wolves best chance came late on in the game from Diogo Jota. His shot from outside the area demanded a smart save from the Sunderland keeper. Cavaleiro in the dying minutes of the game produced another shot from distance, with Sunderland’s keeper easily collecting the ball into his chest. Shots from outside the area were all that Wolves could muster in the end as the game came to a close on a cold afternoon at Molineux.
Sunderland will be the more happier team to leave this game with a draw but this is another point for Wolves, and another clean sheet. Sunderland remain in the relegation zone but Chris Coleman’s men are now one point away from the 20th placed Bolton.
Two performances in the space of a week where Wolves were not at their best. With tricky fixtures over the Christmas period against Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich and Bristol City Wolves will need to be more clinical in front of goal to continue the momentum of their November results. Wolves have a substantial cushion on their rivals thanks to a great run this season but with so many games in a congested Christmas period, Wolves will not want to let the foot of the accelerator in their quest for Premier League football.