Wolves produce the goods against Villa
Wolves soared to the top of the Championship with a performance that befitted a team top of the tree. If anything the scoreline flattered Villa and it has been a long time since we saw a Wolves team perform so well at Molineux.
There were recalls to the starting eleven for Coady after suspension, and Douglas as left wing back, otherwise it was the team that won 4-0 at Burton before the international break;
Batth, Coady, Miranda
Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas
Costa, Jota, Cavaleiro
It was a superb atmosphere in the stadium as a crowd of over 30,000, the biggest since the last revamp, got behind the team and Wolves were the sharpest from the word go. It took a fine tackle from Hutton to halt Costa before a header from Batth and a long range shot from Neves saw Wolves dominate the early exchanges. And Jota made a run of over 60 yards before having a shot blocked. Miranda then got in on the act playing a 1-2 with Cavaleiro before hitting the side netting and there were shouts for a penalty when Doherty was bundled over.
There was just no let up from Wolves or from the noise from the stands and Johnstone had to tip over a fine 25 yarder from Neves. Jota, Cavaleiro and Costa then conjured a break with Cavaleiro felled off the ball out of sight of the ref. No goals at the break but Wolves go off to an ovation and have been by far the better team. Costa was still looking a little rusty after his long lay off and he was replaced by Bonatini at the break with Wolves needing more of a presence in the Villa box to turn their superiority into goals.
The first second half attack ended with a Cavaleiro shot that went out for a throw in. But it was a different matter a few minutes later when Jota created a shooting chance for himself and hammered the ball into the roof of the net and a Molineux that had been rocking from 3 o'clock exploded when that went in. And it became even better when Jota burst through two tackles with his shot being blocked by Hutton, but Bonatini turned in the rebound from the tightest of angles.
Marshall replaced Cavaleiro and then Wolves produced a spell of football from another planet. Putting together at least 20 passes they built the game up from their own half to deep in the Villa area. Jota met the cross from the right with a header that was clawed back possibly from over the line by Johnstone, Bonatini hit the rebound that was cleared off the line and again its blocked in front of goal as he shoots again. Wolves fans in dreamland watching this. There's a standing ovation for Neves as he is replaced by N'Diaye and Wolves for the first time lost a little momentum as Villa finally had a few attacks in the final minutes, but this game was well over by now.
Ruddy 6 - hardly anything to do bar catch a couple of crosses
Batth 8 - played well every game since being recalled to the side
Coady 8 - yet to have a bad game in this position
Miranda 8 - struggled early season but that's well behind him now and looks another good signing
Doherty 8 - another fine game up and down the right flank
Saiss 8 - playing more consistently now and having a good season
Neves 9 - £16m looks a bargain on this showing. Ran the match.
Douglas 8 - justified his return to the team with a polished performance
Costa 7 - needs more game time to be back to his best but when he is then Wolves could be even better
Jota 10 - quite sensational with a succession of runs at the Villa defence, often starting in his own half. Scored one, made one, his header may well have been another goal but he broke the goal line technology when he hammered in the first.
Cavaleiro 8 - like Saiss showing more consistency than last season
Bonatini 8 - excellent second half and his link up play with Jota is a joy to watch. Scored 5 and made 4 already this season.
There were times when you had to pinch yourself that this was really Wolves playing such a high quality game. Hard not to get excited but its only October and there's a lot of work to do yet. Preston at Molinuex next Saturday. Cant wait.