Wolves were dominant as they beat relegation-threatened Bournemouth 1-0 at the Molineux on Wednesday, thanks to a Raul Jimenez bullet-header.
The first-half saw little action with neither side really at peak performance. Wolves ever-so-slightly dominated possession and were the only side to register a single shot on target, while Bournemouth managed to pick up three yellow cards.
Wolves finally broke the deadlock after 60 minutes when an Adama Traore cross met the head of Raul Jimenez, who nudged it into the back of the net. This would be the only goal in what was a lacklustre game, though Wolves came away the much-deserved winners.
With this victory, Wolves continue their campaign to qualify for the Champions League – a competition they haven’t qualified for in 60 years – while Bournemouth’s miseries were compounded. Eddie Howe’s side could have risen to 17th with just a draw, but defeat means they remain in the bottom-three, with their chances of survival diminished.
Wolves were the better side – and more dominant than what the narrow scoreline suggests
Key Talking Point
It wasn’t a vintage Wolves performance, but they got the job done. They got the three points they needed to stay in the fight for a Champions League place, which would be an astonishing achievement should they get it.
Traore and Jimenez have emerged as one of the most deadly partnerships in the Premier League and linked-up well once again here. It was a decent overall team performance too, with the players’ demonstrating good anticipation of their teammates’ movements.
Starting XI: Rui Patricio (7); Boly (7), Coady (7), Saiss (6); Doherty (6), Moutinho (7), Neves (6), Jonny (6); Traore (8*), Jimenez (7), Jota (6).
Substitutes: Neto (6), Dendocker (N/A), Podence (N/A), Gibbs-White (N/A).
Adama Traore was the standout player for Wolves
In a game that was severely lacking in energy from both sides, Adama Traore had bags of it. Throughout the first-half, the Spaniard made a lot of great runs and put in a couple of good crosses for his Wolves teammates. His efforts were finally rewarded when one of his crosses was headed in by Raul Jimenez, which ultimately gave his side the win.
Adama Traoré is making the Premier League his playground. ?pic.twitter.com/ty3Gy7YMTJ
— 90min (@90min_Football) June 24, 2020
10 – Adama Traoré and Raúl Jiménez have now combined for 10 Premier League goals this season, the most of any PL duo, and just the seventh different partnership to manage at least 10 in a single campaign in the competition. Brand. pic.twitter.com/9Zzj4stU1F
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 24, 2020
Adama Traore has got 9 assists this season. Only De Bruyne & Trent have more.
That ‘end product’ talk binned.
— Ayodeji Ayodeji (@AyodejiX2) June 24, 2020
Despite their hard work, Bournemouth never really looked liked they would get the better of Wolves | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Key Talking Point
After the disappointing home defeat to Crystal Palace – which was a must-win game – Bournemouth came to Wolves fighting, but they never really looked like the better side. Indeed, the Cherries were severely lacking in energy, creativity and quality – especially in the midfield – and as a result, didn’t come even close to scoring.
This defeat wasn’t a demonstration of poor tactics or a lack of effort on the players’ side, but a demonstration of the players’ lack of ability. Bournemouth have been punching above their weight for a while now and this season must just mark the end of the Cherries’ time in the top-flight.
Starting XI: Ramsdale (6); Stacey (6), S. Cook (5), Ake (7*), Smith (6); Brooks (5), Billing (5), Lerma (6), L. Cook (6), Stanislas (5); Wilson (5)
Substitutes: Gosling (6), Wilson (N/A), Solanke (N/A), Danjuma (N/A), Kelly (N/A)
Nathan Ake was solid defensively for Bournemouth
Nathan Ake once again proved himself as a standout player in what is a dire Bournemouth side, coming to the rescue on multiple occasions with his clearances and tackles. He was unable to prevent his side from falling to defeat, however, though it could’ve been worse if Ake wasn’t playing.
The Dutchman will probably be one of the first players out of the door should Bournemouth suffer relegation to the Championship, which now looks increasingly likely.
Nathan Ake is too good for Bournemouth #WOLBOU
— Connor McGee (@Connor241298) June 24, 2020
Not the most exciting game, but I was pleasantly surprised by Nathan Aké in the CB position for Bournemouth, smart lad.
— Madouu (@Mawhoub2) June 24, 2020
Lewis Cook, Adam Smith, Callum Wilson and Nathan Ake all collapse to the ground. Team look deflated. They’ve put in a shift but were undone by a single goal.
— Peter Rutzler (@peterrutzler) June 24, 2020
Wolves’ next fixture is a Midlands derby, as they face a trip to relegation-threatened Aston Villa, who have failed to win any of their last seven games. As it’s one of the easier fixtures in their end of season run-in, Nuno Espirito Santo will be expecting the full-three points as they continue their campaign to qualify for the Champions League.
Bournemouth kick-off July with a home game against Newcastle, who have come back from football’s three-month hiatus in good form, having won two of their last three games. They face a difficult end-of-season run-in, facing the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester City and Manchester City, so will be hoping to get a good result against Newcastle as they look to avoid relegation to the Championship.