Raul Jimenez buried the winning goal in the 73rd minute as Wolverhampton Wanderers took all three points from Tottenham Hotspur in a crucial matchup for top four placing, 3-2, in north London on Sunday.
Tottenham’s lineup was not what anyone expected. Hugo Lloris missed the match with a groin injury, meaning Paulo Gazzaniga got the start in net. Toby Alderweireld was left on the bench as José Mourinho opted to start Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga in the back line, along with Eric Dier. Harry Winks too the Captain’s armband in midfield.
1’ - There was some speculation about the formation after the lineup was announced. Eric Dier is definitely in the back line for three center backs. It looks like a 3-5-2 with Davies and Aurier pushed up into the midfield as wingbacks.
3’ - Good start for Spurs. A fortunate bounce lands at Serge Aurier’s feet and he earns a corner on the attempted cross into the mixer.
4’ - Lucas gets hauled down by Ruben Neves on the break. Cynical foul but somehow it’s not a yellow card.
8’ - Wolves get their first chance as Adama Traore dribbles to the 18 but scuffs the shot well wide.
12’ - Terrible giveaway by Gazzaniga leads to a shot attempt by Jota. Sanchez gets a boot on it, giving Wolves a corner that is cleared away, albeit sloppily.
14’ - GOAL TOTTENHAM! (1-0) Fantastic build up as Winks feeds GLC, who spins around to get it to Aurier. The ball into the box was fantastic and found Dele, who was denied point blank range, but Steven Bergwijn cleans it up on the rebound!
20’ - Bit of an audacious effort (thanks announcer for reading my mind) by Davinson Sanchez as he tries a looping volley that honestly wasn’t bad, but never threatened the goal.
22’ - Spurs controlling the possession at 76% so far. Wolves have only had one real chance so far while Tottenham have had three good ones, one of which they buried. If Spurs can keep this up, more goals should come.
23’ - Wolves get another chance as Traore crosses to the opposite side of the penalty area. Jota gets an off-balance shot away but it’s well over the crossbar.
27’ - Goal Wolves. (1-1) That was insanely dumb. Sanchez is woefully out of position and Aurier gets roasted on the flank as a result. The low cross gets deflected by Tanganga instead of cleared and it falls right to Doherty, who buries it from six yards out to equalize.
29’ - Spurs almost get an immediate answer as Ben Davies heads a corner into a dangerous position in front of Wolves’ net. Dele can’t get to it in time as Wolves desperately clear it in time.
36’ - Traore is causing problems on his flank again as he jukes both Davies and Winks before doing a 1-2 combination pass with Jota. Nothing comes of it in the end but Traore is starting to find space.
39’ - Spurs fortunate that they just concede a corner as Jota pushes up the pitch and tries to split Dier and Sanchez. Neither takes control to clear the ball and are forced to just blast it out to touch as Jota closed in.
42’ - Possession has balanced out more as Wolves settled into the match. Wolves look the more dangerous side as we approach half time.
45’ - Spurs almost get the go-ahead goal before half. Davies’ shot gets blocked and falls to Bergwijn, who plays it back to middle. After a couple of passes, Dele gets a bicycle attempt from eight yards out but it’s saved.
45+1’ - GOAL TOTTENHAM! (2-1) Dele feeds the ball to Aurier on the right flank and opts to cut back inside. The Ivorian blasts a shot with his left foot past Rui Patricio and buries it in the net! Dare I say that was a striker’s touch and goal?
HALF TIME: A very entertaining first half ends with a failed corner by Wolves. Spurs take a one goal lead into the dressing room.
46’ - No changes for either side at the break though it bears mentioning that Traore has moved into the center of the pitch for Wolves.
49’ - Big chance for Wolves. After a dumb foul by Davies, Moutinho fires in the free kick and finds the head of Jota. A great effort by the Wolves attacker, but just a bit high as it goes over the crossbar.
54’ - Shoutout to Lucas for doing some breakdancing in the middle of this match after getting fouled twice in three seconds.
55’ - Huge chance for Spurs! A wonderful ball into the penalty area finds Dele all alone for a headed attempt but goes just wide. Dele cannot buy a goal.
57’ - Goal Wolves. (2-2) Traore absolutely shreds the midfield and plays it out wide. Two well placed passes later and Jota has a tap-in to equalize.
58’ - GLC goes into the book for his tactical foul on Traore, but I fully disagree with the announcer that the challenge on Aurier wasn’t a foul before it. You can get ball and still foul someone.
62’ - Wolves get a half-chance to go ahead but Raul ends up running through the back of GLC, drawing the ire of Gazzaniga as both sides come together for some shouting. More announcer stupidity on the replay as we’re told “He’s a striker, what’s he going to do?” over and over. I don’t know, maybe not run through a player on the way to the ball? Free kick to Spurs in the end with no booking.
65’ - Another fabulous ball by Serge into the penalty area on a one-time effort is just over Dele’s head.
70’ - Critical run of play as Tanganga manages to stop a Traore dribble and spring a counter that ultimately ends in a cynical foul by Wolves.
73’ - Goal Wolves. (2-3) You could see this one coming from midfield. Jota makes a great flick and dribbles down the flank with little pressure, ultimately springing Raul free on the opposite flank. One cut inside and Raul buries his shot.
74’ - Sub for Wolves. Neto comes on for Traore.
76’ - Sub for Spurs. Tanganga makes way for Tanguy Ndombele.
79’ - Sub for Wolves. Dendoncker comes on for Jota.
81’ - Ben Davies foul. Drink.
82’ - Sub for Spurs. Gedson Fernandes comes into the match as Aurier goes out.
84’ - Ben Davies yellow card. Drink.
85’ - Winks gets a booking for dissent after Davies’ challenge. Not much going right for Spurs in the closing minutes of this match.
86’ - Penalty shout by Spurs ultimately doesn’t go to VAR and ends up a goal kick. Not sure if there was enough there to earn a PK but in the end it doesn’t matter.
89’ - Wolves get a chance at the dagger as Raul carries the ball through four defenders to get an off-balance shot away that goes well wide of the net.
90+1’ - Final sub for Spurs. Troy Parrott comes on for Ben Davies. Big ovation for the teenager as he checks into the match.
90+2’ - Final sub for Wolves. Raul heads to the bench as Podence checks in for the closing minutes.
90+3’ - Shout for hand ball as Lucas gets an attempt on net but the referee waved it off almost immediately. VAR will check as play continues.
FULL TIME: Spurs can’t find an equalizer as Wolves take all three points.
Thoughts on the Match:
- Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
- Spurs started this match brightly but couldn’t get any breathing room when they needed it. Wolves settled in and, despite Spurs having the bulk of possession, looked more dangerous in the vital moments.
- Steven Bergwijn was pretty great today. His clean up goal capped off a run where Spurs deserved a goal.
- I’m not sure what Dele has to do to get a goal at this point. He should have had one and probably deserved to be on the scoresheet.
- I am fully on the “Buy Adama Traore” bandwagon. He is only getting better and it’s terrifying to see him on the ball.
- Defending was pretty bad today and I’m having a hard time deciding who was worse between Ben Davies and Eric Dier. Neither were good and both had some irredeemable moments. Dier was almost lackadaisical at times while Davies was out of position on every goal.
- Spurs drop to 7th place while Wolves jump them in the table. A mid-week FA Cup match against Norwich is next.