Wolves beat Villa 2-1 in straightforward win

Luke Bradshaw
Sports Writer
Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers (Credit: Getty Images)

Wolves took all three points in Sunday’s Midlands derby as they comfortably beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Molineux.

A goal in either half, one from Ruben Neves and one from Raul Jimenez, ensured Nuno Espirito Santo’s side moved up to seventh in the table.

A late Trézéguet consolation goal in injury time got Villa on the scoresheet, but the home side dominated much of the match, with Villa losing two players to injury in the first half to compound to their afternoon.

Wolves head coach Santo kept the same side that drew1-1 with Arsenal in their last Premier League match.

Villa were still without Jack Grealish, plus Tom Heaton and Bjorn Engels, meaning that Jed Steer started in goal and Ezri Konsa came into the back four.

From the off, Dean Smith’s keeper problems continued, as Steer picked up an injury within the game’s first five minutes attempting to get his hand to Matt Doherty’s cross. Norwegian Orjan Nyland came on to replace him, making his Premier League debut in the process.

Aston Villa's Jed Steer picks up an injury (Credit: Getty Images)

The early indicators looked as though Villa left-back Matt Targett could be in for a torrid afternoon as Wolves winger Adama Traore beat him to the byline three times in the opening 10 minutes, although his delivery into the box was well dealt with, by Tyrone Mings in particular.

Wolves began to dominate possession, Diogo Jota could have done more with a header from a Traore cross, and Raul Jimenez blazed an effort wide after Targett gave the ball away cheaply on the half-way line.

Targett was then involved in a Wolves penalty shout as he went down with Matt Doherty in the box, but replays showed he’d been pulled down as much as they other way around.

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The frustrating part for Wolves was, having dominated the half, they hadn’t actually tested Nyland in the Villa goal since his introduction, but with five minutes to go they got the goal that they deserved.

Traore again caused the initial problem as his direct run was upended by Mings. The resulting free-kick was squared to the edge of the box and Ruben Neves curled a wonderful effort into the side netting.

Ruben Neves scores his team's first goal (Credit: Getty Images)

With the second half came more of the same. Traore smashed the ball off the crossbar, Jota had an effort palmed over the bar and Jimenez fired wide. Aston Villa were actually seeing more of the ball than they did in the first half, but it was still the home side creating far the better chances.

As it proved in the first half, Villa simply couldn’t deal with Traore’s pace.

With Villa pressing for an equaliser, the ball broke to the Mali winger in his own half. He strode forward, before backing his speed and flying past Douglas Luiz. With plenty of time to pick a target, he pulled the ball back to Jimenez and the the Mexican side-footed into the bottom-left corner to take the game beyond Dean Smith’s men.

With just seconds left on the clock Villa’s Egyptian winger Trézéguet grabbed a consolation goal for the away side but the game was done and dusted by that point, with Wolves good value for their win.

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