Southampton surprises Wolves, strengthens safety bid (video)

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  • Redmond bags brace
  • Sims, Ings lively in win
  • Boly, Long also score

Southampton moved eight points clear of the drop zone with five to play following a 3-1 win over Wolves at St. Mary’s on Saturday, all-but-completing Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s saintly resurgence.

Nathan Redmond scored twice and Shane Long added a goal in the win, while Willy Boly scored Wolves’ only marker.

The loss hurt Wolves’ seventh-place chances, though Leicester City and Everton also lost this weekend.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saints were in a hurry to pad their bid for Premier League safety, and Josh Sims took advantage in his first Premier League start of the season. The 22-year-old’s cross was put home by Redmond for a second minute lead.

Sims was lively missing out on a chance to set up Ings before later misfiring after Ings set him up for a shot of his own.

Boly answered in the 28th with a monstrous leap to meet a Joao Moutinho corner kick, but Saints would not be bowed by the equalizer.

Two minutes later, it was Redmond again who cooly beat the keeper after some neat interplay between — you guessed it — Sims and Ings.

Saints put it to bed off substitute Long, who knifed a Maya Yoshida pass past Patricio with the outside of his boot.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

WATCH: Mexico’s Jimenez celebrates sensational goal with WWE mask

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Mexican striker Raul Jimenez continued his outstanding debut Premier League season with a goal that may just ensure Wolves’ place in the FA Cup Final against Manchester City.

The celebration was pretty great as well, as Jimenez emphasized his 16th goal in all competitions with a lucha libre mask.

[ MORE: Everton 1-0 Arsenal ]

A Matt Doherty goal has Wolves up 1-0 on Sunday at Wembley Stadium when Jimenez found himself in a mass of humanity awaiting a cross.

That’s when Jimenez leapt and chested a cross into position for an airborne volley past Gomes.

It was magnificent, and the 27-year-old El Tri striker was ready with his mask.

LIVE — FA Cup semifinal, Wolves v. Watford

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Who will meet Manchester City in May 18’s FA Cup Final?

Two sides vying for seventh place in the Premier League get a shared litmus test when they meet inside the pressure-filled walls of Wembley Stadium.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Watford-Wolves ]

Wolves and Watford control their own destiny in not only the FA Cup, with the semifinal at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, but in the Premier League’s fight for seventh place.

Seventh will be also good enough for the Europa League should Man City win the FA Cup, and the sides meet again in league play on April 27 at Vicarage Road.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes, Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Hughes, Doucoure, Capoue, Pereyra, Deeney, Gray. Subs: Foster, Kabasele, Janmaat, Masina, Quina, Sema, Deulofeu.

Wolves: Ruddy, Jonny, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Jota, Jimenez. Subs: Norris, Bennett, Cavaleiro, Costa, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Traore.

Wolves officially completes record permanent signing of Jimenez

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Wolverhampton Wanderers smashed the club transfer record to pieces by officially announcing the permanent capture of Benfica loanee Raul Jimenez, one of the breakout players of the Premier League season.

The club teased the signing on Wednesday with a tweet, and confirmed the deal Thursday morning. While the official release did not confirm a monetary figure on the deal – somewhat rare for record signings – reports suggest the figure is between $39 million and $42 million, blasting the old transfer record set last summer by signing Adama Traore for $23.6 million.

Jimenez has been a critical figure to Wolves’ surprisingly successful return to the Premier League. After joining in the summer on loan from Benfica following Wolves’ promotion via the Championship crown, Jimenez has been involved in 48% of the club’s Premier League goals this season – the highest in the league – scoring 12 and assisting seven more. He has appeared in every Premier League match for Wolves this season and has started all but two, earning a 2,594 minutes out of a possible 2,970 so far.

“The impact Raul has made during his short time at the club has been fantastic and we’re delighted that he’ll be part of the club’s long-term future,” said Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell in the official club release. “From the second he walked through the door, he settled straight into the group, and that reflects in his performance, with Raul providing assists and overall selfless performances, as well as obviously goals.”

After completing the deal, Jimenez has signed a four-year contract at Wolves which will keep him at Monlieux through the summer of 2023.

“It’s a great honour for me to now be a permanent member of the team. I’m very happy for this permanent deal as I feel that being at Wolves suits me,” Jimenez said in the official release. “I’ve enjoyed my time here, I enjoy playing in the pitch and, along with all my team-mates, we try our best in all the matches to win. Since I’ve arrived here it’s all been so good. We’ve had some good moments, some bad moments; but the best ones have been so good and I’m very happy for that.”

Jimenez has quickly emerged as a key member of the spine of Wolves this season. He has molded a devastating partnership with Diogo Jota up front, and along with 22-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves, the three have become the face of a dangerous Premier League club. While fellow promoted side Fulham spent big this summer to no avail, officially relegated this past weekend, Wolves has risen to seventh in the Premier League table with shrewd targeted spending. They have earned wins in league play over Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham this season, plus draws against Manchester City and Arsenal.

While Jimenez was not a key contributor during Mexico’s stay in the 2018 World Cup, he has earned a more significant role with his performance in the Premier League this season. He has started in four of the eight friendlies since the end of the World Cup, scoring three goals, including one this past international break in a 3-1 win over Chile.

Wolves confirmed that the transfer fee paid to Benfica was pre-set at the beginning of the season, an option to purchase in his loan deal triggered by the Premier League club. Considering Jimenez was not a regular for Benfica last season – appearing 33 times in league play but 28 of those off the bench – the financial haul for the Portuguese club is a significant one.

Report: Wolves set to announce $40m Jimenez purchase

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You could argue no player has been more valuable to his Premier League club than Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Benfica loanee Raul Jimenez, and Wolves supporters would probably agree with that notion.

The Express and Star says Wolves will announce a $40 million purchase of the Mexican star on Wednesday.

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Jimenez has 15 goals in all competitions for Wolves, including 12 goals and adding eight assists in league play.

He had an assist in Tuesday’s defeat of Manchester United, and has 15 goals in 69 caps for the Mexican national team.

He turns 28 next month, helping to set the market for veteran center forwards. And with Wolves having two chances to qualify for the Europa League, either by winning the FA Cup or finishing 7th in the Premier League,