Wolves 2 (Neves 41, Jimenez 84) Aston Villa 1 (Trezeguet 90)
Wolves extended their unbeaten Premier League run to eight games and moved into the top half of the table after comfortably dispatching Aston Villa at Molineux.
Ruben Neves’ stunning first-half effort to give the hosts the lead was added to by a Raul Jimenez with just over five minutes of normal time to play after Wolves had bossed the proceedings against their West Midlands neighbours. Trezeguet’s goal in added time proved to be just stark consolation for the visitors.
Ahead of kick-off on Remembrance Sunday, all 31,000 inside the Molineux fell silent in memory of those who lost their lives in conflict as Wolves joined the rest of the country in commemorating those who served in the Armed forces.
As soon as the two-minute silence passed, Molineux burst into an electric atmosphere and that atmosphere translated itself to the pitch, with both teams putting in some tough early challenges.
And it was Wolves who had the best of the early spells in the match. Conor Coady found Matt Doherty with a delightfully floated pass over the top of the Villa defence. The wing-back took a touch before driving into his opponent’s penalty area and launching a stinging shot towards goal which deflected wide of Jed Steer’s goal.
The Irishman was straight in the action again just moments later when he was released down the right flank and sent a cross towards the back post which cannoned off the top of the crossbar before bouncing clear. After landing awkwardly to try and stop the ball from ending up in the net, Steer hobbled off the pitch, with Villa’s substitute keeper Orjan Nyland replacing his injured team mate.
Wolves continued to dominate first-half possession, creating numerous chances to take an early lead. A double opportunity saw Jonny picked out at the back post before his shot was rebounded to Raul Jimenez in the centre of the area, but his effort bobbled wide.
Jimenez came close once again just minutes later when he picked up the ball in midfield and drove into a threatening position on the edge of Villa’s box, but after dragging the ball wide left, the Mexican striker couldn’t get his shot on target.
VAR was called into use just after the half-hour mark when Doherty went down under a challenge from Matt Targett in the Villa penalty area, but no penalty was given. Jota then went on one of his trademark runs, taking defenders on left, right and centre as he drove into the area, but couldn’t get the ball from under his feet.
With 41 minutes on the clock, Wolves’ dominance paid off when Neves sent the home supporters wild with the opening goal.
Adama Traore earned his side a free-kick just outside the area after being chopped down by Tyrone Mings as he raced through on goal, and from the resulting set-piece, Joao Moutinho rolled the ball into the path of Neves on the edge of the D, and the Portuguese midfielder curled an unstoppable effort past Nyland and into the back of the net.
Half-time: Wolves 1 Aston Villa 0
Wolves continued their first-half pressure in the second period, firing a barrel of attempts on Nyland’s goal, with Traore coming the closest when he rattled the crossbar after the ball sat up well for the speedster just inside the visitor’s box.
Jimenez was next to test the Villa defence when he picked the ball up on the right before cutting inside and firing just wide of the upright. Moments later, Villa had their best chance of the game. Wesley ran onto a loose pass at the edge of the Wolves box but couldn’t keep his shot from sailing high over Rui Patricio’s crossbar.
The one-way traffic continued in the second-half as Jota tested Nyland’s reflexes after cutting inside onto his right and aiming a powerful shot goalwards, which the Villa keeper was able to tip over the crossbar.
Another penalty decision went to VAR mid-way through the second-half when Neil Taylor appeared to block a Traore cross with his arm, but the video assistant once again went against the home side.
With the game hanging in the balance and Villa starting to get a foothold as they tried to get back into the proceedings, Jimenez put the result beyond any doubt.
Following great work by Traore to get away from Douglas Luiz down the right, the Spaniard cut inside and slid a pass into the feet of the number nine, who from inside the penalty area, diverted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
With the game in added time, Villa got a goal back when Trezeguet’s driving effort from a tight angle, narrowly crossed the line before Romain Saiss could clear it away.
Wolves continued to press and came inches away from a third when Pedro Neto, on as a substitute, broke forward and aimed for the far post instead of an awaiting Patrick Cutrone, but his effort fell just wide of the post.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Aston Villa 1
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Neves (Bennett 85), Moutinho, Traore, Jota (Neto 82), Jimenez (Cutrone ).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Vinagre, Perry.
Villa: Steer (Nyland 8), Guilbert, Konsa, Mings, Targett (Taylor 45), Nakamba (Lansbury 69), Luiz, McGinn, El Ghazi, Trezeguet, Wesley.
Unused subs: Elmohamady, Chester, Hourihane, Kodjia.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.