Wolves 3 (Saiss 66, Jimenez 80 & 86) West Ham 0
Raul Jimenez scored both his seventh and eighth Premier League goals of the season to seal a comfortable victory for Wolves over West Ham United on a cold Molineux evening.
A match dominated by Wolves chances, the home side had to wait until Romain Saiss’ 66th minute header to take the lead, but that only opened the floodgates as Jimenez netted twice in six minutes to send Nuno Espirito Santo’s side up to seventh in the table.
Wolves started the match brightly and the home supporters were calling for a penalty within the first two minutes of the match. Leander Dendoncker put a cross into the box from the right and while Jimenez flicked the ball up into the air and into Lucasz Fabianski’s hands, Diogo Jota went down under a challenge as he raced towards the ball, but the referee waved away the appeals.
Wolves were appealing for another penalty after 20 minutes, when Matt Doherty, charging between the West Ham defensive lines, was toppled in a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with Arthur Masuaku as the Irishman turned into the area, but referee David Coote pointed only towards the corner flag.
Minutes later and Wolves had a glaring chance to open the scoring when Doherty was played in down the right flank. The wing-back crossed into the box and Dendoncker was on the end of it, unmarked and six yards out from goal, but he couldn’t get enough power on his effort and the ball fell into the arms of Fabianski.
Another chance went begging for the Molineux men just after the half hour mark when Jonny Otto headed the ball centimetres wide of Fabianski’s left hand post. The Spaniard made a powerful run into the area and beat Pablo Zabaleta to a ball which was crossed in brilliantly from the right-hand side by Jimenez.
Wolves had the ball in the back of the net moments later when Dendoncker followed a Jimenez effort which had bounced back off the bar and headed the ball into an open net. However, the assistant referee’s flag recused the visitors, going up for offside as soon as Jimenez touched the ball before it smacked against the frame of the goal.
In a first half dominated by Wolves chances, Ruben Neves was the latest player to see his effort blocked; this time from a free-kick from 25-yards which was hit straight into the wall, before Jota aimed a shot from a similar distance, but his low drive was turned around the post by the West Ham keeper.
As the first half came to a close, Fabianski made a crucial save to keep his side in the game when he blocked a point-blank Doherty shot from a matter of yards after the ball had fortunately found its way to the Irish international near the right by-line inside the area.
Half-time: Wolves 0 West Ham 0
Wolves started the second half in the same vein as they finished the first; piling pressure onto the West Ham backline, with Ruben Neves floating long passes around the pitch effortlessly, but it was a pass from Moutinho which almost lead to the deadlock being broken.
Jota, running through the defensive line, latched on to a Moutinho through ball, but his shot was pushed around the post by Fabianski. Moments later, Saiss found himself through on goal, but once again the West Ham goalkeeper stood strong to deny Wolves from 10 yards.
Wolves continued to pepper Fabianski’s goal and the pressure finally told when Saiss found the net from a Moutinho corner to put Wolves ahead. The Moroccan managed to lose his marker Robert Snodgrass inside the area and had the simplest of tasks to nod the ball past the goalkeeper – who just moments before had made another one handed save to palm a powerful Jota shot over the crossbar.
Wolves were appealing for a third penalty just minutes after taking the lead when Jota went down under a challenge from Zabaleta as he motored through on goal, but once again the referee was having none of it.
A lengthy break in play followed after both Marco Arnautovic and Fabianski went down injured, but with West Ham already making three substitutions following the withdrawal of Arnautovic, the match was halted until the goalkeeper was fit enough to carry on.
Wolves extended their advantage with ten minutes of regular time remaining when a Moutinho free-kick from the left touchline was toe poked in by Jimenez in the centre of the box after the Mexican striker was able to stretch out in from of Declan Rice.
Jimenez had his second of the evening just six minutes later when Jota was picked out over the top in a quick Wolves break away. The forward took a touch before playing his strike partner across the face of goal who, after taking a touch, lifted the ball calmly over the onrushing Fabianski.
Wolves continued their dominance into the final stages of the match, with Jimenez coming close to completing his hat-trick, but could only head over from a difficult angle.
Full-time: Wolves 3 West Ham 0
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Saiss, Jonny (Vinagre 90), Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 89), Jota (Cavaleiro 89), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Costa Traore.
West Ham: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Noble (Carroll 68), Rice, Snodgrass (Obiang 68), Anderson, Antonio, Arnautovic (Hernandez 77).
Unused subs: Adrian, Fredericks, Coventry, Diangana.
Referee: David Coote