The Warm Down: Wolverhampton Wanderers fall defeat to relegation threatened Burnley
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Conor Coady of Wolverhampton Wanderers looks dejected after conceding their sides second goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor on December 21, 2020 in Burnley, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Coming off the back of a brilliant win against Chelsea last time out, Wolverhampton Wanderers came into this game with confidence,  but goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood won the game for Burnley.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo set out without a recognised striker on the pitch, as he chose to line up in a 5-3-2 formation, putting Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto up front whilst leaving the £35 million, 18-year-old Fabio Silva on the bench.

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Barnes got the game underway with a brilliantly taken headed goal in the 35th minute, a goal which Wolves will feel could have been avoided.

Burnley only grew into the game after their goal and pushed on to find a second through Wood as he was the first to react to a loose ball in the box.

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Nuno introduced Fabio Silva with only 30 minutes left in the game, and this seemed to change the tide of the game. Silva calmly tucked away a penalty which he had won but it was too little too late for Wolves.

  • Wolves’ attacking issues

Against Chelsea, Wolves looked dangerous going forward, and they were able to fashion chances out of nothing, the prime example being Podence’s goal.

Going forwards yesterday, however, Wolves were good up until they got to the edge of the penalty area where they lacked the final product. 

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It quickly became obvious that the visitors were playing without a recognised number 9 on the field, as they had no outlet or platform up front and they had no way to transition from defence into attack.

Podence, Neto and Owen Otasowie, who was playing in an unorthodox number 10 role, seemed to be stuck going forward and quickly ran out of ideas when they realised that they couldn’t run past Burnley, due to the numbers they had back.

When Silva was introduced, Wolves looked to liven up a little, as they had a man that they could rely on to be in the centre of the pitch and utilise as an outlet.

  • Wolves beaten physically at the back

It is always tough to go to Turf Moor and defend well, due to the style that Burnley employ. Barnes, Wood and the two centre half’s win a lot of headers and nine times out of ten they win the physical battle, and they did that again tonight.

The second goal that Wolves conceded was a prime example of this, as the ball was put into the box and headed back across the six-yard box by Ben Mee before Wood pounced onto the loose ball.

Throughout the whole game, Wolves looked like they couldn’t deal with the two big men, and this was the host’s way of hurting the visiting side.

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  • Nuno left frustrated with the officials.

On the surface, referee Lee Mason didn’t seem to have a bad game but Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo wasn’t happy with how he refereed the match.

When speaking to the media after the game against Burnley, Nuno said: “All the games we have with Lee Mason is always the same. He has got to get better.”

“It is about the way he handled the game, not the major decisions. Both teams, the players lose their focus because they are always arguing with the decisions.”

“I told him I hope he doesn’t whistle a game of ours again. He cannot control the players, he does not have the quality to whistle a Premier League game.”

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Moving forward, Wolves have to be better and they have to find a way to adapt to the situation they find themselves in without their main man Raúl Jimenez.

After this defeat, the Midlands side sit 11th in the league and face two tough games over the Christmas period against Manchester United and also Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday evening.