Romain Saiss

Wolves too good for West Ham

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Wolverhampton Wanderers continued their superb run of form as they beat West Ham United 2-0 at Molineux on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Goals in each half from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone sealed the win for Wolves, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have now gone 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League.

Wolves sit in fifth on 23 points, while West Ham are in 13th place.


3 things we learned

1. Top four hopes alive for Wolves: They sit six points off the top four and are the form team in the Premier League right now. Chelsea will be feeling Wolves breathing down their necks. With progression into the knockout round of the Europa League secured, this small Wolves squad continue to churn out dogged, determined displays.

2. Tireless Jimenez on autopilot: He didn’t score but Jimenez was so dangerous. He held the ball up, got shots away and set the tone for a dominant Wolves display. Mexico’s Jimenez is so crucial to this Wolves team, even when he doesn’t score.

3. West Ham struggle to grab control: After their win away at Chelsea last weekend you would have thought West Ham would have started with a spring in their step. They were off the pace from the start and the Hammers barely registered a meaningful effort on goal. At the start of the season Wolves and West Ham were two teams who should be pushing for European qualification. West Ham need to do a lot more, especially in midfield and attack, to take control of games.

Man of the Match: Diogo Jota – Never stopped running and opened up so many gaps in West Ham’s defense. The Portuguese star, like last season, is getting better as the season goes on.


Wolves looked dangerous on the counter as Raul Jimenez dragged an effort wide and that was a sign of things to come.

The home side took the lead as a corner from the left found Dendoncker who flicked his effort on target and it somehow found its way past David Martin.

West Ham did improve as Pablo Fornals whipped in a lovely effort which Rui Patricio tipped wide. At the other end Diogo Jota was denied by Martin as the hosts looked dangerous on the break.

Dendoncker header over after a late run into the box as Wolves continued to look the more likely to score next as West Ham had plenty of the ball but did little with it.

The Hammers did have a great chance to equalize as Fornals flicked the ball over the top to put Snodgrass clean through but a poor second touch saw Patricio clatter into the Scotsman to clear the danger. Snodgrass had to come off due to his injury with Andriy Yarmolenko coming on for the final stages.

Romain Saiss headed wide from close range after Jimenez’s flick as the hosts were dominant throughout with the Mexican striker dragging another effort wide.

Sebastian Haller clipped a ball to the back post just over as West Ham pushed for the equalizer.

Jimenez was then denied by Martin as Wolves huffed and puffed late on and two subs then combined to seal the win.

Pedro Neto set up Cutrone to make it 2-0 as the home fans went wild as their top four hopes are well and truly alive.

Wolves find equalizer versus Sheffield United

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Wolves and Sheffield United will both feel they’ve wasted chances following a 1-1 draw at the Molineux on Sunday.

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Matt Doherty equalized for Wolves after Lys Mousset gave the Blades a second minute lead.

Doherty celebrated by removing a black arm band and holding it aloft to acknowledge former teammate Benik Afobe, whose young daughter suddenly died Friday.

Wolves stay sixth, level on points with fifth place Spurs, while the Blades are one point back of both.


Three things we learned

1. Nuno gets it… wrong? Wolves’ steady boss has done well since adjusting to the Europa League grind, but his men looked pretty beat on Sunday after a Thursday return from an emotional 3-3 draw at Braga in Portugal. He made one change, Max Kilman for Romain Saiss in the back, and perhaps that’s the reason Wolves aren’t finding themselves in fifth.

Then again, we suppose you could argue that Wolves used nearly their best XI and needed it to get a point against Chris Wilder‘s pesky Blades. With Wolves having another home match on Wednesday against more potent West Ham, we lean toward the former idea, but there’s a case against it.

2. Raul Jimenez keeps coming: The Mexican striker continued his incredible run of form at the Molineux, taking an pass with his back to goal and working his way free to send an inch-perfect cross to the back post for Doherty to head past Henderson for 1-1. It’s Jimenez’s sixth assist to go with 15 goals in 25 appearances this season.

3. Wasted weekend for Wilder’s men: The newly-promoted Blades should be upset to not have all three points and sole possession of fifth place, which really should have us posting the Paul Rudd “Look at us” meme below. At the Molineux against a road-weary Wolves, the Blades lost their mojo in the second half. It wasn’t as dramatic as the drop-off following a 2-0 lead over Manchester United, but it was still disappointing from one of the league’s best stories.

Man of the Match: Jimenez.


The Blades went ahead through Mousset, who was first to a cross that was poorly-judged by multiple leaping Wolves.

He then won a dangerous free kick off Leander Dendoncker, but a training ground play yielded nothing.

Raul Jimenez got on the end of a Matt Doherty cross in the 13th minute, but Dean Henderson pushed the header over the goal.

Mousset slipped John Fleck on goal with a nutmeg of Dendoncker, but Rui Patricio was there for a good left-footed save.

David McGoldrick had a chance to make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, but Patricio was again there.

PL Sunday preview: Arsenal’s post-Emery era; Man Utd host Villa

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures features four games, including (but not limited to) the first game of the post-Unai Emery era at Arsenal, Manchester United with a chance to climb into fifth place, and what could be the final game of Marco Silva‘s tenure at Everton.

[ MORE: Mourinho praises “phenomenal” Dele Alli, Spurs supporters ]

Arsenal v. Norwich City — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal on Friday, making way for the Freddie Ljungberg (interim) era to begin on Sunday. With no obvious candidate standing out from all the others, Ljungberg, a long-time favorite as a Gunners player, could be given the chance to impress and have the “interim” tag removed, a la Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a year ago. After taking just three points from their last five PL games, Arsenal have fallen to ninth place, eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea, and could finish the weekend as low as 10th place. On the other hand, a win over 19th-place Norwich would see them climb up to fifth, a point ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Norwich’s Teemu Pukki, who took the PL by storm with five goals in his first three games, hasn’t found the back of the net since Sept. 14, a run of eight straight goal-less games for the Fininish forward.

INJURIES: Arsenal —  OUT: Dani Ceballos (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Hector Bellerin (hamstring), David Luiz (ribs), Shkodran Mustafi (foot) | Norwich  — OUT: Alexander Tettey (personal), Grant Hanley (groin), Timm Klose (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jamal Lewis (knee), Josip Drmic (hamstring)


Wolves v. Sheffield United — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Through 13 games of their debut season in the PL, Sheffield United are threatening to “do a Wolves,” in so much that the newly promoted side currently sits seventh — where Wolves finished last season — following a red-hot start. Following a poor start of their own (zero wins from their first six games), Wolves have rebounded nicely (unbeaten in their last eight, including four wins) and climbed all the way up to sixth (each side sat a place higher coming into the weekend).

INJURIES: Wolves —  OUT: Willy Boly (ankle), Ryan Bennett (groin), Romain Saiss (suspension), Morgan Gibbs-White (back) | Sheffield United  — OUT: None


Man United v. Aston Villa — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Nearly four months into the season, Man United are still without back-to-back PL victories. In fact, they’ve not repeated the same result — win, loss or draw — in consecutive league games all season. The Red Devils ave been, if anything, consistently inconsistent. After drawing Sheffield United 3-3 last time out, the best Solskjaer’s side can do on Sunday is get halfway there ahead of Tottenham’s blockbuster visit, and Jose Mourinho’s return, on Wednesday. United’s injury list remains extensive — and expensive — as Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly remain out, with Nemanja Matic perhaps set to return on Sunday. As for Villa, Dean Smith‘s side snapped a three-game losing skid last time out by thoroughly besting Newcastle United at Villa Park to put four points between themselves and the relegation zone. Following Southampton’s victory on Saturday, that gap is already down to two points.

INJURIES: Man United —  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (groin); QUESTIONABLE: Nemanja Matic (groin), Scott McTominay (ankle) | Aston Villa  — OUT: Jed Steer (calf), Jota (hernia); QUESTIONABLE: Bjorn Engels (hip)


Leicester City v. Everton — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Every defeat in the coming days could prove to be the final day of Silva’s employment as Everton manager, with the Toffees entering Sunday’s trip to the King Power Stadium in 17th place. It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (seven) on the season thus far, but the sides to which they’ve lost (Villa, Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Norwich, to name most of them) that stands out as most embarrassing for a club that thought it would be competing for the top-six this season. Leicester, meanwhile, have happily and swiftly taken their place as the side most likely to break up the monotony of the same clubs finishing atop the table every season. The Foxes entered the weekend in second place (they have since fallen to second), eight points back of Liverpool (now 11), on the back of five straight league victories. Jamie Vardy‘s 12 goals have garnered most of the headlines, but the play-making duo of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have been arguably more enjoyable to watch

INJURIES: Leicester —  OUT: Matty James (achilles) | Everton  — OUT: Andre Gomes (ankle), Theo Walcott (knock), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Morgan Schneiderlin (knock), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Bernard (knee)

Man United, Wolves seal key Europa League wins

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Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers both secured narrow wins away from home in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

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United beat Partizan Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia to stay top of Group L as a win in their next game, at home against Partizan, will seal their qualification to the knockout stage. Anthony Martial‘s penalty kick was enough to get the win in Belgrade in a tough environment as an inexperienced United side struggled to get going in attack.

As for Wolves, they fought back from 1-0 down to beat Slovan Bratislava 2-1 in Slovakia as they breathed new life into their Europa League campaign in Group K. Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men now have two of their final three group games at home and will fancy their chances of extending their first European journey in almost 40 years.

Here’s a look at both games, with video and analysis of a very decent night for both clubs in Europe.


Partizan Belgrade 0-1 Man United

Man United should have led early but Scott McTominay nodded wide after a great free kick from Juan Mata. Partizan battled their way back into the game as the heavy pitch didn’t suit Martial and others.

Lingard hit the post in the first half as United looked dangerous on the break, but Partizan’s top goalscorer Sadiq also smashed the post as the game developed into an open encounter. Asano went close with an effort which flew wide but Brandon Williams won a penalty kick at the end of the first half which Martial dispatched to make it 1-0.

In the second half Seydouba Soumah went close as Marcus Rashford and Daniel James came on for the final 30 minutes. Williams looked to have handled the ball but the referee waved away calls from the home fans as they continued to appeal for penalty kicks.

Sadiq flashed a shot wide as Partizan pushed a late leveller but Sergio Romero saved Asano’s effort and Bibras Natcho fired just over as a young United side held on for a big win away from home. The win was United’s first victory away from home in 12 games in all competitions.


Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Wolves

Wolves went 1-0 down early as Andraz Sporar put Slovan ahead, as he raced clear and smashed home at the near post past Rui Patricio.

A poor start for Wolves in Slovakia.

The home side were fairly comfortable until the final 30 minutes when Wolves equalized as Romain Saiss had a shot from distance which somehow went in.

Slovan’s goalkeeper Dominik Greif will not want to see this one again.

After that it was all Wolves and they took the lead from the penalty spot just five minutes after equalizing.

Jimenez was pushed to the ground in the box and the Mexican striker picked himself up to slot home the winner as Willy Boly came close to adding another.

Substitute Diogo Jota was sent off late on as he picked up a second yellow for a foul on Slovan captain Vasil Bozhikov, but Wolves held on for a crucial victory in their quest to reach the knockout rounds.

Wolves run past off-kilter Man City

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Manchester City just couldn’t catch Adama Traore.

The speedster finished twice on the break off Raul Jimenez assists, as Wolves collected a surprising 2-0 win over Man City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves had two fewer days’ rest than their hosts, but flummoxed City with stifling defense and flair on the counter.

City is eight points back of leaders Liverpool, while Wolves are up to 11th with 10 points. This is the first time City has seen Liverpool’s lead stretch beyond the six points they’ll due for later this season.


Three things we learned

1. Furious Pep has no answers: Wolves keeper Rui Patricio had a fine day between the sticks, but City rarely sent true trouble the way of the visitors’ goal. David Silva cranked a free kick off the bar, but City looked like the team on a day’s shorter rest. Visibly angry, Guardiola couldn’t conjure up production without Kevin De Bruyne.

2. Traore does his job after Wolves miss early chance: The visitors were easily the better side in the first 15 minutes, catching City off guard, but Patrick Cutrone and Raul Jimenez each failed in bids to make it 1-0 to Wolves.

Jimenez, however, answered the bell on an 80th minute counter attack with strong dribbling and a pass to Traore, who waited patiently for his chance to poke past Ederson. Traore added another off a slick Jimenez pass, but had a lot more work to do in beating Ederson. Remarkable.

3. Frustrated City lives in the book: The two-time reigning Premier League champions were shown five yellow cards on the day, as Wolves tactics helped the visitors live in the heads of the heavily-favored hosts.

Man of the Match: Traore


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Patrick Cutrone couldn’t chip a fine opportunity on goal as Wolves earned a surprise chance in the first five minutes.

An injury to Romain Saiss caused an early delay and the 13th minute introduction of Ryan Bennett.

Riyad Mahrez made a miserable giveaway from the attacking third, sending Cutrone on a long break toward goal.  But Fernandinho slid to block a first shot then bravely stopped the rebound with his head to keep it 0-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Kyle Walker tried his luck from distance before halftime, and Rui Patricio collected the ball rather than risk it sneak off the post and into the goal.

David Silva curled a free kick off the bar soon after the match entered its final half hour.

Wolves patiently waited for their chance and got it via counter attack, as Mexican star Jimenez did a lot of work to set up patient Traore for a 1-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in Manchester.

Jimenez’s outside-of-the-boot pass to spring Traore for the comforting second goal was delightful, and the Spaniard had plenty to do on a 50-yard run toward his brace.