Coming into this game riding a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers were looking to not only beat their rivals and extend their streak to eight games but also to move into the top half of the table.
Story of the game
With Aston Villa abdicating possession and focusing more on their defensive role, Wolves dominated not only the ball but also the number of first-half chances. Right-back Matt Doherty was Wolves’ main offensive dynamo in the early minutes as the team’s offence ran through him.
First a shot and then a dangerous cross that made keeper Jed Steer hurt his leg – he would be replaced by Orjan Nyland – the home team were getting closer and closer on goal.
Raul Jimenez, Jonny and Diogo Jota all had chances to score but were unlucky as Villa’s defence clogged all shooting lanes.
Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves would finally break the deadlock at the 41st minute, shooting a curled right-footer from outside the box after a João Moutinho free-kick, making it 1-0 at the half.
Second half and the Villans came in a different team. Pressuring higher in the pitch, they had more possession and scared Rui Patricio a couple of times, but it was the home team who had the best chances to increase their lead.
Jimenez’s shot was just wide, Jota’s went straight at the keeper who tipped it over for a corner and Adama Traore made the crossbar scream as his shot it dead centre.
Nuno Espírito Santo was pleased with his team’s performance and celebrate enthusiastically when Traore got pass Douglas Luiz in the right-wing, and after getting inside the box, passed it to the Mexican striker who shot it into the bottom left corner and made it 2-0 at the 84th minute.
2-0 up and with the game under control, Villa would pull one back in injury time after Mahmoud Trezeguet's shot narrowly got in before Romain Saiss cleared it. Final score 2-1 in a convincing win that saw Wolves extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight games and moved to eighth in the table.
Takeaways from the game
Traore, Jota, Jonny Jimenez. The Wolves’ front four is as fast as it gets in the Premier League and it showed in the game as most of Wolverhampton’s chances were created in the counter-attack due to the difference of speed between their offence and Villa’s defence.
If they can keep themselves fit for the remainder of the season, Wolves can cause a lot of damage to opposing teams.
Man of the match
Several players could get the man of the match, but due to his importance not only of the offensive plane but also on the defensive, Ruben Neves gets the distinction.
Alongside João Moutinho he commanded the Wolves’ attack, making full use of his vision and passing ability to create chances and open the pitch. Besides that, his shooting ability was on display with a great curled effort that opened the score.