Rui Patricio

Watford Wolves recap
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Watford holds on through red card to topple Wolves

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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.

[ WATCH LIVE: Wolves v. Man City ]

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.

Spurs strike late to down Wolves in thriller

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Tottenham Hotspur are back threatening the Top Four after a late goal provided Jose Mourinho’s men a 2-1 defeat of Wolves at the Molineux on Sunday.

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Lucas Moura scored early and Jan Vertonghen in stoppage time as Spurs overcame an Adama Traore equalizer on a tense, drenched day in the West Midlands.

Spurs are now three points back of fourth place Chelsea, who they play next week, while Wolves sit five points back of the Top Four in eighth.

This was a great away win for Mourinho’s Spurs, who ended Wolves

It was Vertonghen’s first league goal since opening day of the 2018/19 season.


Three things we learned

1. Show-stopper set up for next Sunday: The intensity of this match was high, but it’ll be nothing compared to what’s coming in a week. Jose Mourinho will lead his thriving Spurs into Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a meeting with his longtime club (Chelsea) and its manager, who happens to be one of his favorite players (Frank Lampard). The Blues struggles have allowed many teams to have a peak at the Top Four, and Spurs will climb above Chelsea with a win. Start it now, please.

2. Planning pays off: Jose Mourinho knew his Spurs would have a 2-day advantage on rest, but still kept a bevy of stars out of a dead rubber at Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League. Harry Kane, Davinson Sanchez, Dele Alli, and Jan Vertonghen didn’t play in the 3-1 loss, while Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son split minutes. Wolves went hard on Thursday against Besiktas, and it’s no surprise that Spurs were livelier, earlier, in producing the opener. That Vertonghen provided the late goal sure helps the argument.

3. Two of Nuno’s success stories provide equalizer: When you talk about the harnessing of individual talent, few have done as well as Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo. Two of his best bits of work have been done with Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore. The latter scored a bullet goal to level the score after the hour mark, set up by a dribble and run by El Tri star Jimenez.

Man of the Match: It’s one of the goal scorers for sure, but Vertonghen gets out edge for five aerials won and three tackles against a very intense Wolves side.


Wolves had an early corner, but Spurs produced the first two bits of danger and cashed in the second. Lucas dribbled into the right of the box and smashed a shot past Rui Patricio.

The Wolves keeper would slide to defy Heung-min Son moments later, Jose Mourinho’s men out of the gates hard.

Raul Jimenez fired wide in the 26th minute, one of Wolves first true forays into the box.

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Wolves were busy out of the break, and Raul Jimenez forced a good save out of Paulo Gazzaniga in the 48th minute.

The match had the intensity of a Top Four tilt, and Spurs forward Dele Alli nearly provided a show-stopping goal with a curling effort from the 18th before the hour mark.

Just when it felt safe to mark off a win for the visitors, Raul Jimenez dribbled to set up Traore for a belted equalizer worthy of the stage.

Vertonghen headed in a corner from deep outside the box, Patricio unable to get to the stoppage time shot.

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.