Wolves 3 (Jota 19, 30, Jimenez 50) Norwich City 0
Wolves earned their first Premier League win in four matches but made it three unbeaten as they comfortably dispatched bottom of the league Norwich City at Molineux.
Diogo Jota added to his hat-trick against Espanyol on Thursday night with two first-half efforts to give his side a relaxed lead going into the break, before Raul Jimenez added a third, which put the game to bed early in the second period as he smashed the ball home from close-range after Jota had struck the upright.
Molineux began the afternoon in a rather subdued manner following the excitement of putting four past Espanyol in the Europa League on Thursday night, and the atmosphere wasn’t helped by Norwich having the first real chance of the afternoon.
Following good work down the right by Jamal Lewis, who came in to the Canaries’ side for the injured Sam Byram, fed Kenny McLean through the Wolves defence, and after getting to the byline, he whipped a cross to the near post run of Teemu Pukki, but the Finnish striker found the legs of Rui Patricio blocking the ball’s route to goal. Moments later, McLean had an effort from distance, but the Wolves keeper made a comfortable save.
Wolves had their opportunity to open the scoring on the 15-minute mark when Jota capitalised on a loose Norwich pass across the centre of the pitch. The forward raced into the visitors’ penalty area but was caught in two minds as to shoot or pass to and unmarked Jimenez. Jota chose the latter, but Hanley was able to intercept.
The hosts didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring – despite a lengthy VAR check causing uncertainty around the goal. A beautiful one touch passing move which saw the ball spread around the Wolves midfield and attack, found its way to Leander Dendoncker, before the Belgian slipped the ball to Matt Doherty in the area, who turned the ball on his chest before laying it off to Jota who smashed it underneath Tim Krul.
VAR raised its head as they had to check whether the ball touched Doherty’s arm or chest as he played in Jota, but after conclusive replays showed the wing-back was able to quickly move his arm out of the way, the goal was given.
Wolves nearly doubled their advantage moments later when Jota broke to the byline and looked the cut the ball back to Jimenez at the back post, but his pass was just cleared before the Mexican could pull the trigger.
Jota was truly picking up where he left off following his hat-trick on Thursday night, getting Wolves’ second of the afternoon with half-an-hour gone. From a corner, the ball found its way to Jonny on the left who floated a cross towards the centre of the box, and after the ball was flicked on to Romain Saiss at the far post, and with Norwich pushing out to catch Wolves offside, the Moroccan found Jota in acres of space yards out from goal – after beating the offside trap – to tap the ball past Krul.
As the hosts pushed for a third, Krul had to be at his best to palm a Ruben Neves free-kick from the edge of the area, which looked destined for the back of the net, around his near post and out for a corner, which Norwich eventually clear.
Jota was heavily involved again just before the break, as Wolves counter quickly, and after Jimenez lays the ball to Moutinho, he attempts to slip in the forward, who is clipped by Aarons just outside the area, with the Norwich defender picking up a booking for his foul. From the resulting free-kick, Krul made a stunning save to tip Neves’ effort onto the crossbar.
Half-time: Wolves 2 Norwich 0
With less than five minutes gone in the second-half, Wolves extended their lead to three. Neat link-up play between Jimenez and Jota saw the Portuguese get behind the Norwich defence and in on goal. With just Krul to beat, Jota smashed the ball against the foot of the post, but it fell straight to the onrushing Jimenez to hammer the ball over the line from a yard out.
Despite finding themselves three goals down, Norwich were not disheartened and continued to look for a way back into the match. Todd Cantwell produced a neat flick to set Aarons in on goal, but the right-back found the body of Patricio, who got down low to make the save.
Jimenez almost scored a miraculous second when he got his foot on a wild Doherty effort which seemed to be heading to the corner flag, but from the edge of the area, the ball flew high over the crossbar.
The second-half passed with little incident, but VAR raised its head when Jonny went down under a challenge from Ben Godfrey. VAR checked to see if the booking handed out to the Norwich defender should have been upgraded to a red, but the initial decision was upheld. Following the challenge, an injured Jonny was replaced by Ruben Vinagre, who was making his first appearance for almost two months due to his own injury troubles.
With the game approaching added time, Wolves thought they had added a fourth when Doherty got his head on a Vinagre cross at the far post, but, with man racing back to cover for Krul who had come out to meet the Irishman, the visitors were somehow able to stop the ball from crossing the line.
Substitute Adama Traore had his only chance of the game deep into injury time as he raced around several Norwich players, but his effort from outside the box was high over Krul’s crossbar, meaning Wolves would have to settle for a comprehensive three-goal victory, which put the side back up to eighth in the Premier League table.
Full-time: Wolves 3 Norwich 0
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny (Vinagre 80), Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Jota (Neto 64), Jimenez (Traore 72).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Gibbs-White, Podence.
Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis, McLean, Tettey, Rupp (Buendia 59), Cantwell (Stiepermann 84), Duda (Drmic 59), Pukki.
Unused subs: Fahrmann, Vrancic, Trybull, Idah.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh