Wolves maintaining the momentum
Wolves secured yet another win on Saturday to make it 8 wins and a draw in the 9 games they have played since their last defeat at QPR at the end of October. It was at the start of that run of games that the current back three of Bennett, Coady and Boly played together for the first time, and Wolves have conceded just twice in those 9 games.
With Cardiff losing at Bolton and Bristol City drawing at QPR, Wolves extended their lead in the table to 7 points above second placed Cardiff and 10 points ahead of 3rd placed Derby and Bristol City. We are now at the halfway stage in the league season and the truth is Wolves will not need to be as good in the second half of the season to still be champions. An average of two points a game virtually guarantees promotion and to get to that point Wolves will need to win 13 of their last 23 games. But right now you wouldn't bet against this team breaking Reading's 105 point record for the Championship.
The game against Ipswich on Saturday started in much the same vein as the previous home game against Sunderland who successfully escaped Molineux with a goalless draw. But there was more vibrancy to Wolves game this weekend and although they had to wait until five minutes before the break it always looked like this wasn't going to be another goalless day. When the goal came it resulted from a fine break from Jota who won the ball in his own half, raced to the edge of the Ipswich area and his deflected cross fell to Cavaleiro who took one excellent touch before driving the ball in to the far corner.
After the break it became a more open game as Ipswich pushed forward more and the visitors produced some decent football of their own but only created one good opening when Waghorn shooting through a crowded area and just wide. But this was a day when Wolves created enough but couldn't finish the game off. Jota had shots saved and blocked in the first half and he produced the move of the game early in the second period when he played a one two with Bonatini before releasing Cavaleiro on the right whose shot was blocked.
Barry Douglas flashed a free kick inches wide but it was Neves, who had been the outstanding player, who produced a couple of magical moments late in the game. First chipping a delightful ball over a packed defence for Costa to run onto and volley just over. Then a perfect cross found the head of Saiss on the far post who headed wide but should have scored.
Ruddy 7 - collected a few crosses but isn't having much to do in terms of saves in recent games.
Bennett 7 - a consistent steady performer since coming in to the team
Coady 7 - another assured performance at the heart of the defence
Boly 7 - a tower of strength who Wolves fans will be hoping becomes a permanent signing in due course
Doherty 6 - didn't get forward as much as usual but had a sound game
Saiss 7 - steady game in front of the defence and his passing was good but will be disappointed not to have scored near the end
Neves 8 - a joy to watch and his range of passing is a feature of how Wolves play. Created a number of chances and the only blemish on his game is his tendency to blast shots over the bar
Douglas 6 - like Doherty didn't get forward much but did well defensively and went close with a trademark free kick
Cavaleiro 7 - excellent goal after doing little else right in the opening period. Does as much wrong as he does right on the ball but produces match winning moments
Bonatini 6 - not at his best in recent games but works his socks off and links with Jota so well
Jota 7 - another who has maybe fell slightly below his best but still involved in many of Wolves best moments
Enobakhare and Costa both gave bright cameo performances when coming on for Cavaleiro and Bonatini, with N'Diaye a late replacement for Jota.
Wolves have already won more games at home than they did in the whole of last season and the full house signs were up for this game and the next home game against Brentford on Jan 2nd looks to be going the same way. Before that its two away games at Millwall on Boxing Day and a big live on tv game at Bristol on Saturday.
Wolves have certainly done their bit to help their supporters have a merry Christmas.