West Ham United 0 Wolves 2 (Jimenez 77, Neto 84)
They may have waited 100 days for a return to action, but that age-old combination of Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez, and a stunning Pedro Neto strike, ensured Wolves did it in style at the London Stadium.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side last kicked a ball in anger on 12th March but showed remarkably few signs of rust against West Ham United, and eventually ground down their stubborn hosts when substitute Traore crossed for Jimenez to head home 13 minutes from time.
It was Neto who bagged Wolves’ final goal before the pandemic and, after being introduced alongside Traore, he continued where he left off with the sealer, meeting Matt Doherty’s cross with a delightfully-struck volley, which capped yet another fruitful outing in the capital for Nuno’s Wolves.
Despite Wolves dominating possession during the opening ten minutes, where Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho pulled all the strings, it was the hosts who threatened first, but when Pablo Fornals was played in over the top, the Spaniard lashed over with time on his side.
Nuno’s selection of the 3-5-2 formation inevitably saw Jimenez and Diogo Jota link up with regularity and, when the former fed the latter on the half-hour mark, Jota forced Lukasz Fabianski to get down low to save.
The Portuguese was at it again soon after, but this time his curling effort was a simple catch for the Hammers stopper, likewise Romain Saiss’ ambitious effort from range, as a first-half of few chances came to an end.
Half-time: West Ham 0 Wolves 0
West Ham themselves are embroiled in the Premier League relegation battle and attempted early on after the break to strengthen their position, but Jeremy Ngakia’s left-footed effort was routine for Rui Patricio.
That was an isolated incident however, and it was Wolves enjoying the lion’s share of possession, while remaining unable to break down their hosts during the opening hour.
It was with that in mind that Nuno changed his hand and returned to 3-4-3, with Jota and Leander Dendoncker making way, and Traore and Neto taking their place to fill the two wide spots.
So, there was little surprise that alteration was the route to the breakthrough. Conor Coady’s ball forward was intelligently headed backwards by Doherty, into the path of Traore, who got to the byline in trademark fashion and clipped a delightful cross on to the head of Jimenez, who couldn’t miss at point-blank range.
And once Traore had made his impact, it was down to his fellow substitute Neto to put the icing on the cake. The goalscorer in Athens 100 days previous, the youngster was at it again, meeting Doherty’s clipped cross with a thumping volley which flew past Fabianski, putting the seal on am impressive victory.
Full-time: West Ham 0 Wolves 2
West Ham: Fabianski, Ngakia (Fredericks 81), Rice, Diop, Cresswell, Noble, Soucek, Antonio, Fornals (Yarmolenko 81), Anderson (Lanzini 67), Bowen.
Unused subs: Randolph, Balbuena, Johnson, Silva, Wilshere, Ajeti.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny (Vinagre 89), Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker (Neto 64), Jota (Traore 64), Jimenez (Gibbs-White 90).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Buur, Jordao, Podence.