Wolves get back to winning ways in style
Wolves secured an easy victory at Burton on Saturday and the result was never in doubt from the moment Diogo Jota put them ahead after 5 minutes. It was as comprehensive a win that you are ever likely to see in this competitive division and left little doubt that Wolves will remain focused on promotion as their target, while Burton will be happy to retain a position above the drop zone.
After the disappointment at Bramall Lane in the week, Nuno made four changes to the line up with Coady suspended, Douglas, N'Diaye and Bonatini were also left out;
Bennett, Batth, Miranda
Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Vinagre
Costa, Jota, Cavaleiro
Burton tried to take the game to Wolves in the opening minutes and there were some strong tackles going in, but in their first serious attack Wolves took the lead. Cavaleiro, in the centre circle, played a short pass to send Jota racing towards goal and he took the ball too the edge of the area before driving in a powerful low right foot shot.
And after 10 minutes it was two. Neves hit a free kick from 20 yards that the keeper saved but couldn't hold, and Saiss bundled in the rebound from close range for his first Wolves goal. It was good then to see Costa remind us of what he can bring to the party as he went on a 50 yard run before being knocked off balance. Then Costa split the defence with a through ball to Jota who was just offside. Burton produced their first threat of the game with Ruddy needing to produce a good diving save to keep out a long range effort from Allen. Burton had a good ten minutes but Wolves were nearly three up when Costa released Jota who cut inside his defender before having a shot cleared off the line and then hitting the side netting from the rebound.
And the third goal was soon to follow when Vinagre played a one two with Cavaleiro and then weaved through the penalty area Ronaldo style before driving in on the near post. It was an excellent first half from Wolves with Neves calling all the shots in midfield and the attacking three holding too many aces for the hosts.
Early in the second half Wolves may have increased their lead when Doherty drove into the area before being brought down. The foul was definitely a yard inside the area but the free kick was given just outside. Costa got a valuable hour in before being replaced by Bonatini. But Wolves continued to look capable of increasing their lead with Jota heading over a Doherty cross after excellent play by the wing back, then Neves splits the defence to send Cavaleiro through on the right and his cross just fails to find Bonatini.
And it was champagne stuff for the fourth as Cavaleiro turned his defender inside out on the right before playing in Doherty who unselfishly knocked it on for Bonatini to finish. Price replaced Neves and Ronan came on for Jota as Wolves cruised towards the winning line. But they still had time to nearly make it 5 as Danny Batth headed against the post.
Ruddy 7 - one smart save and a couple of good catches from crosses
Bennett 7 - an impressive unfussy league debut
Batth 7 - continuing his fine form since returning to the first team
Miranda 7 - really settled into the English game now
Doherty 7 - continues to be Wolves Mr Consistent on the right and created a few openings
Neves 9 - rumours he has been out of form were banished here. I did see one loose pass but he ran the show on the day
Saiss 7 - good performance with some fine passes spread to the wing backs
Vinagre 7 - the teenager looks a real find and his goal was excellent
Costa 7 - easing his way back into the team after his long lay off, and clearly it won't be taking him long to be back to his best
Jota 7 - Burton just couldn't cope with him in the first half
Cavaleiro 8 - had a hand in three of the goals in one of his best performances for the club.
The opposition may not have been strong today but the way Wolves took them apart and dominated the game was very impressive. We now go into a fortnight's break for another international week and Wolves will do so with a promotion bid very much established now. And Villa at Molineux in two weeks is a mouthwatering occasion to look forward to.