Tuesday evening’s win over Arsenal, the perfect timing of the goals and Joao Moutinho’s wonderful winner were just some of the topics discussed on the latest episode of Wolves’ Matchday Live Extra show.
Joining Mikey Burrows was co-commentator and former-Wolves full-back Andy Thompson, as well as regular pundits in the form of ex-old gold players Chris Iwelumo and Sam Ricketts, who analysed Wolves first league double over the Gunners since 1978/79.
Also joining the panel were special guests including former Arsenal striker John Hartson and Wolves’ first-team stars Ruben Neves and Vitinha as the team discussed Arsenal’s two red cards as well as the belief and confidence that the win will give to Nuno’s men.
On equalising just before half-time
Ricketts said: “We didn’t deserve to go into half-time level, but not only were we level, we also had a man better, and sometimes it just takes something like this to go your way so you can then turn the tide.
“All first-half I was thinking, ‘This just isn’t working’. You were waiting for Arsenal to score, they hit the post at the very start, chance after chance were coming there way and Wolves were offering nothing. Then the only time we got quality in was the ball by Podence and Willian getting brought down for the penalty.”
Iwelumo added: “I think we got the goal at the perfect time. You go in for half-time and you can regroup, you’re going to have that extra man, you can capitalise on that and make Arsenal work because there was opportunities in the first-half when we broke with quality but then it broke down in the attacking third.”
On doing the double over Arsenal
Iwelumo said: “People will say it was lucky, but we earned that luck in the second-half. They went about their business well, they got on the front foot and they saw a lot of the ball, but I thought they used it very well.
“They managed the game really well in the second-half, and the wonder goal was just perfect. It came at the exact right time as well, and that just gave the team confidence to go out and play the exact way they wanted to do. There were some performances in the second-half that were outstanding.”
Ricketts added: “By hook or by crook, win the game. And that’s what we did. I don’t think we were great, even with nine men, Arsenal still moved the ball well at the end and we still wanted that extra goal of comfort, but the three points is all that mattered. It’s a big three points which will get the confidence flowing again.”
✅ First double over Arsenal since 1979— Wolves (@Wolves) February 3, 2021
Big team effort. 👏 pic.twitter.com/78s8HVdGCc
On Moutinho’s stunning winner
Thompson said: “Sometimes the best thing to do is just hit it! It was right on cue, and what a strike it was. When you’re watching it, as soon as he hit it, you’re thinking, ‘The keepers not getting that.’
“He’s hit it in off the post, but what a strike from 30 yards from him. It’s not bad that he only scores goals like that, but we could do with a few more of them.”
Iwelumo added: “We do have players who have that quality, but you don’t always have to play it into the net, you don’t always have to play it into the 18 yard box, we’ve got players who can properly strike a ball, and what a strike that is. The ball never even moved. He struck it so well, Leno thought he had it covered, but what a fantastic goal it is.”
On the visitors going down to nine
Iwelumo said: “I thought David Luiz had disguised it so well, and I had to look at it three or four times and I’m wondering if he did foul Willian.
“We made it difficult for Arsenal after that, and I don’t know what Leno’s doing for the second one, by the way. Surely there’s enough pace on the ball that’s it’s going to definitely reach him if he stayed in his box, but he’d made the decision early.
“Traore did exactly what Sam demanded at half-time. We all know how good he is when he has the ball at his feet, but he’s got good passers in the team and they can hit the ball into the space for him to go into and it was a fantastic ball which caught Leno out.”
On a renewed belief and confidence
Iwelumo said: “We should be happy that we got the three points, but let’s build on it. Let’s not be complacent, be humble, and know that we have to work for everything in a game.
“We know how hard they work every day in training, but when the boys cross that line, they have to make sure they’re at it, because in this league, if you’re not on your game or you make just one error, it’s usually costly with a goal.”
Ricketts added: “Confidence is key. We said it with Moutinho, after he scored – even a player with all his experience – his game lifted. Too many times we’ve played it safe this season, but with the three points and the belief and confidence this win will give us, hopefully they can build on it at the weekend and play with the freedom they had in the second-half.”
On what Willian Jose brings to Wolves
Iwelumo said: “He’s got quality, with the way the service and the chances that we create, I can see him getting on the end of it. It’s that first goal which is always the hardest one for a striker, opening his account. Hopefully he’ll get that one soon and kick on from there.
“But he’s a presence, and that’s something we’ve been saying so many times, we’ve been missing that Jimenez aggression. He goes and wins those headers, gets the challenges in and throws himself into the positions where he can get hurt.
“Willian Jose can be that answer, but it’s definitely down to the service that we can create. As a striker, you want them to make the pitch big for us, make sure the balls stick so it allows you to get up the pitch.”
To rewatch the latest Matchday Live Extra show from Tuesday, click here.