Rui Patricio

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Wolves’ red-hot Jota too much for Norwich City

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Diogo Jota scored twice and helped produce the third goal of Wolves 3-0 battering of Norwich City at the Molineux Stadium on Sunday.

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Mexican star Raul Jimenez scored the other goal for Wolves.

Wolves rise eighth with 39 points, five points off fourth and two back of fifth-place Manchester United.

Norwich City remains seven points back of 17th place with a league-worst goal differential sinking to minus-27.


Three things we learned

1. Red-hot JotaWolves’ 23-year-old attacker was coming off a hat trick versus Espanyol in Europa League play, and had two goals by the half-hour mark at the Molineux. That gives him five PL goals amongst his 14 in all competitions as Wolves threaten both the Europa League and, somehow, remain alive in the top four race.

2. Abject Norwich defending: Daniel Farke‘s men have been praised for continuing their forward-thinking, attack-minded football in the Premier League, but maybe they simply didn’t have the protectors to bunker down in front of Tim Krul. That’s a bit unfair, because it’s admirable that Farke wishes to entertain, but there’s no debating the mess that is the Canaries defense this year.

3. Jimenez is Mexico’s best: Club Leon’s coach made headlines this week when he called LAFC’s Carlos Vela the best Mexican player, and perhaps he’s No. 2, but there’s no North American in the world doing what Raul is doing in Europe. Jimenez went over 3,300 season minutes on Sunday, adding another goal to give him 22 with 10 assists. Only Rui Patricio, Conor Coady, and Joao Moutinho have played more than the El Tri star.

Man of the Match: Jota


Norwich City had two promising moments in the first seven minutes, as Max Aarons hit a terrific through ball that died with a Teemu Pukki extra touch. Then Pukki forced Rui Patricio into a save.

Kenny McLean cranked a shot to Patricio off a Puuki pass in the 11th minute.

A Norwich giveaway allowed Diogo Jota to dance into the 18, but he instead dribbled himself out of room and was tackled.

Jota made amends in the 19th minute, lashing home after a terrific team goal.

It might’ve been 2-0 had Alex Tettey not darted between Jota’s 23rd-minute pass to Raul Jimenez.

Jota got his second in the 30th off a corner kick, as Romain Saiss slashed a pass across the six that any of three Wolves would’ve put in for a two-goal lead.

Tim Krul made a great save on a Ruben Neves free kick after Jota was injured drawing the set piece atop the 18.

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Jota smashed the post moments before Jimenez deposited Wolves’ third goal of the game, a 3-0 lead arriving in the 50th minute.

Man Utd, Wolves split spoils at Old Trafford

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There was nothing to separate Manchester United and Wolves in a scoreless draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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It was a terrific advertisement for Portugal, with Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves, and Bruno Fernandes all putting together performances on the day.

The points earned move both to 35 points, one behind fifth-place Sheffield United.


Three things we learned

1. Fernandes the real deal: Bruno Fernandes didn’t get on the score sheet on debut, but the big money January signing showed United fans what they already knew they were missing. The Portuguese had over 100 touches, three shots on target, and a penchant for finding dangerous spaces. As much as any player can be worth the big prices thrown around these days, Fernandes showed signs of being worth his.

2. Wolves run the midfield, still: While Fernandes was pretty good and plenty promising, Wolves’ midfield duo of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho were the momentum merchants over 90 minutes. United had most of the ball, but Neves and Moutinho were sure to make sure the spaces to make plays were mostly well outside the danger areas.

3. Red Devils defend well: The Wolves back line wasn’t your proverbial chopped liver, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men had a day. Even in moments when they were skinned, like Diogo Jota dicing up Victor Lindelof, the others were there to deal with the danger. Both Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka had key moments out wide, and Maguire was strong in the middle.

Man of the Match: Moutinho posted 89 percent passes and connected on five of six long passes while winning seven of 10 duels, making six tackles and three interceptions.


Both clubs had chances early, the best an Andreas Pereira arrow well wide of the goal.

Wolves star Raul Jimenez was his influential self, and United needed Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire interventions in the first 23 minutes.

Adama Traore rocketed a 35th minute shot just over the goal.

Juan Mata laid off for Bruno Fernandes to rifle at Rui Patricio in the 40th, and Fernandes mishit another bid within 45 seconds.

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Diogo Jota cooked Victor Lindelof in one of two early second half moments of promise without end product for Wolves.

Fred had a penalty call go unheard when his shot struck Joao Moutinho’s arm, and Fernandes hit a hopeful ball to Patricio as the match neared its final 20 minutes.

Substitute Mason Greenwood smashed a shot that took two turns before Patricio collected it in the 79th.

Maguire was denied off a set piece when Patricio raced off his line to close down the big back.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent in a beautiful cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but Diogo Dalot‘s stooping header bounded wide of the frame.

Watford holds on through red card to topple Wolves

Watford Wolves recap
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Watford built a two-goal lead and held on through a 71st minute red card to beat Wolves 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Wednesday.

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Nigel Pearson‘s men have now won three of four matches and are two points back of safety with 19 points.

Gerard Deulofeu and Abdoulaye Doucoure scored the goals, the latter on his 27th birthday.

As for Wolves, they fail in a bid to strengthen their top-end credentials and sit seventh with 30 points.


Three things we learned

1. Deulofeu one of the season’s X-factors: Watford got 10 league goals with five assists out of the Spaniard last season, but the 25-year-old hasn’t been able to do as much this go-round. Ismaila Sarr is now humming along, too, and Watford’s attack finding it footing.

Wednesday’s goal was Deulofeu’s fourth of the season, and it’s interesting to note the change in production from his first Premier League stint. At Everton, Deulofeu had eight goals and 19 assists in 75 matches, compared to now 17 and eight in 63 for the Hornets.

2. Wolves losing hope of Top Four: Wolves are playing as many games as anyone in Europe, and maybe this was all a big ask given the brutal fixture list; Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men were unlucky versus Liverpool but not sharp enough Wednesday in losing a second-successive loss. Their twin wins over Man City show that anything is possible, but they really needed to grab these points before the Europa League fixture list begins to torture them again.

3. Mentality fixed under Pearson: Nigel Pearson’s men could’ve wilted given the opposition and the red card, but stood firm against a very good Wolves side to move even closer to the safe spaces. They’ll finish the day between two and four points back of safety, which seemed silly mere weeks ago. Right now, it looks like Watford has a chance to return to their plucky and potent team of last season.

Man of the Match: Most of the best individual days belonged to Wolves, but Deulofeu was part of a lively attack and gets our nod.


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Conor Coady sent Matt Doherty through to goal in the 13th minute, but Ben Foster continued his fine form with a big save.

Wolves wanted a penalty when Pedro Neto hit the deck in the box, but a yellow card was given and VAR stayed with the call.

Deulofeu gave Watford the lead with a curling finish around Rui Patricio. Ismaila Sarr continued his good form with the assist, as the Hornets scored with their fifth attempt of the night.

Sarr came close to a goal of his own when Troy Deeney played him into the right of the 18.

Doucoure made it 2-0 coming out of the break when Deulofeu dribbled to the middle and laid off wide, a hard deflected strike leaving Patricio for dead.

The hour mark saw the match back in play thanks to Neto’s first Premier League goal, a deflected effort from distance.

Jonny Otto won a dangerous free kick for Wolves and a man advantage, too, when he was fouled by Christian Kabasele in the 72nd. The Watford defender sent off, and Wolves were unable to equalize up a man over 19 minutes.

VIDEO: 10-man City lead Wolves after wild first half

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The Premier League’s famous subplots, drama and world-class intrigue were compressed and on full display at Molineux Stadium on Friday.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers – animated and daring as ever before – hit the ground running against a similar Manchester City they edged in early October. Conor Coady‘s lofting ball broke the visitor’s backline, finding a lone Diogo Jota, who had only Ederson to beat.

And that’s when the floodgates opened.

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The Brazilian goalkeeper was presented a red card for his collision with the Portuguese attacker, leaving City with 10 players. With Claudio Bravo on the bench, Pep Guardiola and company pulled Sergio Aguero and summoned the Chilean.

Less than ten minutes later, Riyad Mahrez was tripped up inside Wolves’ box, forcing a VAR review and a subsequent penalty call from referee Martin Atkinson. Raheem Sterling stepped up to the spot, but Rui Patricio’s penalty-saving techniques were on full display.

Then again came a signal from VAR, calling for a second attempt.

Despite Guardiola signaling for someone rather than Sterling to try and covert from the spot, the Englishmen made sure to finish his chance despite getting his initial strike blocked by Patricio, again.

This is the Premier League’s magic in less than 30 minutes.

Wolves come back to beat misfiring Norwich City

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Wolves were far from their best but came back to beat wasteful Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez scored for Wolves, who sit two points back of fourth place Chelsea and a point back of Sheffield United.

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Norwich was ahead on a Todd Cantwell goal, but finishes the day six points back of 17th place Saints.


Three things we learned

1. Bad Wolves still win: For more than an hour, Wolves looked nothing like a side competing for a place in the Top Four. But Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men found a way to get the job done in coming back for their three points. That’s a good sign against a desperate home side.

2. The Year of Raul Jimenez continues: El Tri’s star striker is going as well as any center forward not named Robert Lewandowski. So it comes as little surprise that the Mexican was the man to supply the match-winning goal at Carrow Road. The stats now say 16 goals and eight assists in 28 matches this season, and Wolves’ only worry is the amount of teams who will try to woo him in January.

3. Pukki loses his powers: On another day, the Wolves’ poor first half sees this match done at half. But Teemu Pukki uncharacteristically missed two prime chances to make the match 2 (and 3) to nil at home. Emiliano Buendia was phenomenal for the Canaries and Cantwell pretty good, but few others showed up over 90 minutes.

Man of the Match: Raul was great, but it comes down to the Adama “Mou calls me a train” Traore and Rui Patricio. We’ll give it to the Portuguese goalkeeper for his saves on Pukki and others in Wolves’ win.


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Wolves supplied some dreadful defending to allow Norwich to its opener, the Canaries doubtlessly pleased with the ease of Cantwell’s opener.

Kenny McLean was wide open for a huge diagonal ball, his dribbles and cutback poorly cleared to Cantwell.

Teemu Pukki slipped a shot past Patricio but wide of the goal in the 24th. No party, and he misfired again in the 44th minute after driving toward goal.

Emiliano Buendia came very close to 2-0 when a Wolves giveaway provided a chance to rip from atop the arc. It was deflected, but a corner not given to the Canaries.

They paid for the misses, as Saiss headed home from a Joao Moutinho cross at the hour mark and Jimenez did what he does best 21 minutes later.