Ruben Neves

Wolves continue Europa charge with defeat of Palace

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Wolves – Crystal Palace recap: Wolves kept control of its top six destiny by handing Crystal Palace a seventh-straight loss in a 2-0 win at the Molineux on Monday.

Daniel Podence and Jonny Otto scored for the sixth-place hosts, who can still finish as high as fifth and finish at Chelsea on Sunday.

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Wolves’ 59 points are three back of Manchester United and Leicester City. United has two matches left and one is Leicester’s lone remaining match.

Palace’s 42 points are 14th. It can finish as high as 13th or as low as 16th after finishing at home to Tottenham.

WOLVES – CRYSTAL PALACE FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Wolves engine room fires on all cylinders: Nuno Espirito Santo’s team has so many key contributors but the heart of the club’s midfield was especially shiny on Monday. Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are a Portuguese power duo, the former providing industry and power while the latter blends experience, vision, and calmness into a total midfielder. They were clinical against a Palace bunch who wants to use work ethic and graft to make your day miserable.

2. Wolves eye UEL: Nuno Espirito Santo’s men can still claim 62 points which theoretically could put them past Manchester United or Leicester, but the pair meeting on the final day means at least one will finish above Wolves (Plus United has West Ham on Wednesday). It looks like it’ll come down to Spurs or Wolves for sixth and seventh, and an Arsenal win over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final would make seven just a place on the table. Here’s a good breakdown from a better man than me.

3. Hodgson shakes his head: Look you’d love to see better out of Palace, who overachieved in a big way for much of the season, but Roy Hodgson must look at the club’s run to the finish of the season and wonder if they could’ve had it unluckier. The Eagles had vague Europa League hopes when they started this losing skid by playing Liverpool and then Burnley, Leicester City, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Manchester United, and now Wolves. Every one of them was alive for European qualification or fighting against relegation. Finishing with Tottenham won’t make it any easier for a club who was simply playing for pride.

Man of the Match

Matt Doherty — A tackling machine who painted the right side of the heat map red, Doherty’s steal and assist on the opener was emblematic of his very best.


Wolves – Crystal Palace recap

Palace put together a terrific team play in the first throes of the game, James McCarthy stinging a pass to Jeff Schlupp that wound up with Jordan Ayew flummoxed in the heart of the box.

Raul Jimenez had a lively opening 15 minutes for Wolves, nearly dribbling into a scoring chance and hassling Palace.

Mamadou Sakho was forced. off with injury in the 22nd minute, limping up the stands.

Podence had a few chances before he put Wolves ahead in the 41st minute. Joao Moutinho chipped Matt Doherty into the box, and the Irishman cut it back for the Portuguese to nod home.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Otto scored a classy goal in the 68th minute after a half-hour’s work of great work from Adama Traore, who built the play up with a powerful dribble from the right to find Jimenez and then Otto.

Otto cut left and then back to the right to turn and fire past Vicente Guaita in the 69th.

Wolves throttle sorry Everton

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Wolves overran sleepy Everton to snap a two-game losing skid with a 3-0 win at the Molineux on Sunday.

Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota, and Leander Dendoncker scored for Wolves, who are back within four points of the top four before Manchester United and Leicester City stage their 35th matches.

 [ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Wolves face Burnley, Palace, and Chelsea, and will be considering a berth in the top four with a little help on the out-of-town scoreboard.

Everton remains 11th with 45 points and will finish the season with Villa, Sheffield United, and Bournemouth.

WATCH WOLVES – EVERTON FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Everton awakened from European dreams: Carlo Ancelotti’s 2020-21 plans officially start now. The Toffees are five points back of the Europa League with three matches left and could be seven or eight behind should there be a winner of the North London Derby later Sunday. It just hasn’t come together for the Toffees starting with the myriad injury troubles for Jean-Philippe Gbamin — out until 2021 — in his bid to take over for influential Idrissa Gana Gueye. There were other long-term injuries like Andre Gomes as well as the continued decline of Jordan Pickford, but there are too many bright spots for this side to be bottom-half. A mentality shift must be coming to Goodison, but you would’ve expected that to be cemented over the coronavirus pause.

2. Podence deputizes: January buy Daniel Podence has found it hard to find a place in Nuno Espirito Santo’s Starting XI but he’s taking his chances well. Podence forced a good save out of Jordan Pickford early, then won a penalty. He converted four of his five dribble attempts and claimed 67% of his ground duels (SofaScore).

3. Carlo needs a keeper: Carlo Ancelotti has gone out of his way to defend Jordan Pickford in the past and it’s certainly nice to have an England keeper as your No. 1 if you’re a Premier League boss, but the Toffees aren’t firing on to Europe any time soon with shot-stopping of his quality. Pickford nearly fumbled a ball over the with the score line 2-0. He’s still capable of the show-stopping saves but he’s not producing them as often and he’s not as consistent with the average to above average stuff he consistently displayed while making his name at Sunderland.

Man of the Match

Ruben Neves — He is a special, special talent. Neves’ assist on Jota’s goal was just marvelous and capped off a day of both tidy and ambitious passing. He’s been one of their best players since the restart, a physical force with technical gifts.

LOOK. AT. THIS. PASS.


Wolves – Everton recap

A slow-enough start was highlighted by Lucas Digne’s sliding intervention on Raul Jimenez in the 18.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford then had to make a low save at the near post on Daniel Podence following a slick 1v1 move.

Yerry Mina didn’t last the first half thanks to a thigh injury, replaced a half-dozen minutes before halftime by Seamus Coleman.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Podence drew a penalty off Digne in stoppage time, sending Raul Jimenez to the spot. The Mexican center forward did not miss.

Everton took off Leighton Baines and handed a PL debut to 18-year-old January signing Jarrad Branthwaite.

Wolves made it 2-0 within moments and at the expense of the debutant, Dendoncker staying in front of Branthwaite to nod Pedro Neto’s free kick on goal.

Pickford nearly fumbled a low shot into his own goal but Goal Decision System proved he rescued the ball when it was half over the line.

Arsenal beats Wolves to strengthen European hopes

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Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette scored as Arsenal closed ground on the top five with a gritty and complete 2-0 win over Wolves at the Molineux on Saturday.

WOLVES – ARSENAL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Mikel Arteta’s project looks to be going well as Arsenal moves seventh with 49 points, three back of Wolves and four clear of rivals Spurs, who have a match-in-hand.

Wolves saw a four-match clean sheet run spoiled by Saka’s first-half goal. The sixth-place Wolves lose ground in the battle for a top four place and now sit two points behind Chelsea, who plays later Saturday. They are three back of Manchester United and six behind Leicester City.


Three things we learned

1. Arsenal begins gauntlet with promise: The Gunners need wins, not draws, if they want to creep up the table and into the European places by season’s end. Saturday was the first of three chances to take three points from a team it’s chasing, with a visit from Leicester City coming Tuesday before July 12’s North London Derby at Spurs. A team they won’t catch, Liverpool, follows so… get those points now and get your form sorted.

2. Saka celebrates new deal in style: Arsenal’s 18-year-old wonder worker on the left side came from the right to score his first Premier League goal. Kieran Tierney’s deflected cross gave Saka a chance to show his technique, and that left-footed side volley oozed the good stuff. Saka now has four goals and 10 assists in all competitions, and does not turn 19 until Sept. 5.

3. Wolves falter: Raul Jimenez was fine, which is substandard from his usual prowess, while Adama Traore didn’t do much after a lively start up top. Injections of Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto yielded little as you’d call this a certified dud. When Conor Coady is getting cooked, you know something’s not right.

Man of the Match

The best player on the pitch for either team might have been Ruben Neves. Wolves’ Portuguese midfielder had a goal-mouth clearance and sprayed long balls around the field as if he was four yards, not 40 away from his target.


Wolves – Arsenal recap

The first half did not live up to the billing of two offense-first teams, although Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah came close after the half-hour mark.

The best chance at the other saw a hesitant Raul Jimenez trouble Wolves’ promising rush into the 18.

Adama Traore drew a dangerous free kick off Sead Kolasinac that led to nothing as the match neared halftime.

It was Saka who stroked Arsenal in front in the 43rd minute, celebrating his new contract with a terrific left-footed side volley after Kieran Tierney’s cross was deflected into his path.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Traore came close for Wolves after the hour mark but Arsenal was staunch in its final third.

Arsenal got its second when Lacazette roasted Conor Coady with a slick first touch of Joe Willock’s pass as the Gunners needed a half-dozen moves to produce a goal from a David Luiz-won header at midfield.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly had Willock on the board with a third Arsenal goal after Lacazette keyed a move in the final third, but Ruben Neves cleared the shot off the line.

Transfer news: Spurs want Neves, Man Utd hopes for van de Beek

Neves to Tottenham
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are hoping to pick off talent from Ajax and Wolves, respectively, while a Chelsea target reportedly only has eyes for Barcelona

[ MORE: Everton loanee Kenny scores beauty ]

Wolves’ incredible season has increased interest in a number of their assets, and Jose Mourinho is eyeing one of his Portuguese compatriots currently at the Molineux.

Le10sport reports that the Tottenham Hotspur boss wants to bring 23-year-old Ruben Neves to North London and that the player is open to the idea.

Neves is a fixture in the Wolves’ lineup, having moved from Porto in 2017 for just under $20 million.

He’s 125 times for Wolves since joining them for the 2017-18 promotion campaign in the Championship, scoring 15 times with seven assists.

Ruben Neves would be a part of a young midfield engine with Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele and others, including 19-year-old Oliver Skipp.

Spurs also have Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, and Eric Dier and all of the above are contracted for a while. Dier’s contract expires first (2021), and he’s rumored to be signing a new deal in North London.

Neves has 16 caps for Portugal and it’s worth noting that there’s no guarantee that Wolves won’t have better European standing than Spurs next season.


The Sunday Times says Donny van de Beek’s Real Madrid move is in doubt and that Manchester United may reap the benefits.

The story goes that Real may not be able to spend as much money as planned this summer due the coronavirus, ending their agreement to buy the Ajax midfielder.

United then would swoop into the mix, though the report says the club would expect that his price tag may not be as high due to the pandemic.

Ajax has confirmed it’s ready to sell Van de Beek if he’d like to leave the Netherlands. Everton, Spurs, and Manchester United had been linked with Van de Beek.

Van de Beek just turned 23, and has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.


Miralem Pjanic has his eyes set on one destination: the Camp Nou.

Juventus’ 30-year-old midfielder has reportedly turned down advances from Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the hopes of landing at Barcelona.

Pjanic has a contract in Turin through the 2022-23 season, where he’s started every Serie A match when healthy. He’s been in the last four Teams of the Year in Italy’s top flight.

The 92-times capped Bosnia and Herzegovina man has 14 international goals and signed for Juve from Roma in 2016.

Neves scores magnificent volley in Wolves rout

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images
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Diogo Jota had a hat trick and Ruben Neves scored a very Ruben Neves goal as Wolves took a 4-0 lead over Espanyol on Thursday after one leg of Europa League Round of 32 action.

Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, and Matt Doherty recorded assists for Wolves, who will visit the Portuguese side on Feb. 27.

Espanyol had 57 percent of the ball and put four shots on target to Wolves’ five.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Wolves came out of the gates with a show of strength, taking six shots to Espanyol’s zero over the first 25 minutes.

The goal came off an Adama Traore-won corner, Raul Jimenez flicking on to Jota.

Neves’ goal came straight from his area of expertise, a beautiful bit of control with his chest before smashing home from distance.

The 23-year-old Jota scored the first, third, and fourth goals of the contest to give him two Europa League hat tricks this season. He has 12 goals and five assists in 33 appearances across all competitions this season.