Wolves 0-4 Burnley: Wood scores first-half hat-trick to steer Clarets away from relegation zone
Chris Wood has five goals and three assists in his previous six Premier League games. (Photo by Oli Scarff - Pool/Getty Images)

Burnley earned their biggest Premier League win since September 2018 as they thrashed Wolves 4-0 at Molineux thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Chris Wood.

Despite coming into the game on the back of two straight defeats, the Clarets showcased their strengths against a poor Wolves side.

Wood opened the scoring with a clinical finish across the goal before tapping in his second following a mistake from Adama Traore. His hat-trick was complete just before half-time when he rose the highest to head Dwight McNeil's corner into the back of the net.

Matej Vydra had a goal ruled out himself early in the second half before Ashley Westwood made sure of their biggest win since they beat AFC Bournemouth 4-0 in 2018.

Story of the match

On the back of two straight wins over Fulham and Sheffield United, Wolves made only one change to the starting 11 with Ruben Neves recovering from Covid-19 in time for the game.

The 24-year-old replaced Joao Moutinho, who picked up an ankle injury in Friday's training session. 

For Burnley, they had England international Nick Pope back in between the sticks after he missed the defeats to Newcastle United and Manchester United.

Matej Vydra also returned to the line-up, replacing Johann Berg Gudmundsson to partner Chris Wood up-front. Ashely Barnes returned to the squad for the first time since February.

Both sides had their first attempts in the first 10 minutes. Rayan Ait-Nouri's inverted run set up an opportunity for Podence, but the Portugeuse was easily denied by Pope.

Burnley then had Ashley Westwood blaze the ball well over after good play from Vydra on the edge of the area.

After having a penalty shout denied by referee Darren England, the Clarets took an early lead when Wood smashed the ball across Rui Patricio and into the bottom corner.

A long ball was missed by Willy Boly before the former-West Bromwich Albion forward turned Conor Coady and score his first goal in three games.

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Sean Dyche's afternoon got even better six minutes later when Wood tapped into an empty net after more miserable defending by the Wanderers.

A series of crosses were delivered into the home side's penalty area and they looked like they had finally put a stop to it. But Adama Traore's cool pass to Nelson Semedo was intercepted by Dwight McNeil and the winger directed the ball perfectly across goal for Wood to grab his first double since September 2019.

Wolves were lucky to remain 11 vs 11 when VAR reviewed an incident with Traore and Jack Cork. Fortunately for Wolves, it deemed to not be a red card after the winger seemed to push Cork in the bottom of his mouth.

However, things did get worse for Wolves. It was 3-0 on the brink of half-time through Wood's first Premier League hat-trick. The New Zealand international headed the ball past Patricio after peeling off Willian Jose from a McNeil corner to seal a first-half hat-trick, his first for the club.

Despite being 3-0 down at the break, Nuno Espirito Santo opted not to make any changes to the system or players. 

The tempo of the game wasn't affected despite the interval and Burnley thought they had made it four when Vydra ran onto the ball before rounding Patricio and tapping into an empty net.

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Luckily for Wolves, the Czech forward was just offside and VAR spared their blushes of failing 4-0 down after 5-0 minutes.

Wolves introduced Fabio Silva in an attempt to rescue something from the game, but it was Burnley who continued to press and look the most likely to find the net next.

Vydra continued to be a menace for Wolves before Matt Lowton's low driven cross forced a corner for his side.

Nuno introduced attacking midfielders Morgan Gibbs-White and Vitinha in place of Neves and Podence, but they really struggled to cause any trouble for Pope and his defence.

With five minutes of the game remaining, Westwood scored his second goal of the season with a brilliant thunderstrike into the top corner. Romain Saiss was the culprit as he gave the ball away to Jay Rodriguez who gave the ball to Wood who laid the ball off for the central midfielder.

Takeaways

Big summer needed for Wolves

There's always been the argument that this season has always been a transitional year, especially after Raul Jimenez's horror injury in November.

After back-to-wins over sides in the relegation zone, it must be said only just beating them, Wolves would have hoped they could continue their end of season form to end the campaign with flying colours.

However, they were outclassed, outfought and outbattled at their home ground against a Burnley side who were lingering on the dreaded dotted line.

Once Wood put the visitors ahead there was only going to be one winner and that's the most worrying element of the performance. Since their return to the big time in 2018, Wolves have been capable of easily coming from behind and punish teams like Burnley.

But this season is the first time they have completed a league double over the West Midlands side since 2012/13 and it never looked in doubt.

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There are many players in this Wolves squad who don't fit the style of play Nuno is slowly trying to evolve his side into. The whole back three were horrendous and you couldn't tell they had played in the same system for the previous two seasons.

It is yet unknown how much funds will be made available for Wolves this summer, but the right players must be brought in and players who don't fit into the mix must be let go.

Clarets more than good enough to stay up

Any doubters about Burnley's quality should be squashed. They were narrowly defeated at Old Trafford last week against a good Manchester United and thrashed a lacklustre Wolves side.

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Wood and Vydra have built up a rather unexpected partnership whilst Barnes remained out and they have flourished. Seven goals contribution for Wood in his previous six games is ridiculously good. All that whilst Burnley remain in a relegation battle.

Victory this afternoon puts them nine points clear with five games remaining and victory over West Ham United next week would all but seal it.

September 2018- 4-0 v Bournemoth

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