Wolves 4 (Jimenez 13, Hernandez OG 18, Podence 21, Neves 85) Watford 0
Wolves breathed new life into their Premier League campaign by hitting Watford for four under the lights at Molineux. Bruno Lage’s men banished the memory of their recent run thanks in large part to a first 45 minutes where Wolves bagged three goals for the first time since 2009.
Raul Jimenez’s opener took just 13 minutes to arrive and lit the touchpaper for the hosts, who added a second when Rayan Ait-Nouri’s cross was turned into his own net by Cucho Hernandez. Things got better for Wolves as, after just 21 minutes, their third arrived when Daniel Podence punished Ben Foster’s mistake by firing into an unguarded net.
However, the best was saved until last as Ruben Neves added the latest entry to his ever-growing list of sensational Wolves goals. This time, resisting the temptation to put his laces through the ball, the midfielder was a picture of composure when lifting the ball over Foster delightfully to put a cap on a fine evening for the hosts.
On the back of three straight defeats, Lage’s side left no stone unturned ahead of hosting Watford under the Molineux lights, but even the head coach can’t have expected the start the old gold would produce, with three goals in the opening 21 minutes to take the contest away from Watford almost instantly.
It took just 13 minutes for the ball to start rolling. Hee Chan Hwang was the creator, charging down the left and into the penalty area, and having nudged the ball to Jimenez, the Mexican needed no second invitation to turn home with his first touch, beyond Foster.
Five minutes later the hosts doubled their lead. Jonny, starting his first match of the season, looked sharp in the opening period and once his cross fell to Ait-Nouri at the back post, the Frenchman knocked the ball off Hernandez, who knew little about it, and the ball bounced into the Watford net for 2-0.
Unbelievably, the periods between goals were shortening each time. After 21 minutes, just three after that own goal, Jimenez sniffed out a mistake from Foster, and he was right to - the goalkeeper’s poor clearance fell to the feet of Podence, who once the ball was under his spell, lofted into the unguarded net to leave Molineux on top of the world.
Watford’s best chance of the half came when Moussa Sissoko slipped in Joshua King, but the Norwegian could only lift over the bar when clean through. However, it was Wolves who continued to enjoy themselves as the half wore on and will have been more than pleased with their opening half’s work.
Half-time | Wolves 3-0 Watford
Wolves didn’t need to over exert themselves after the interval, but continued to dominate the ball and enjoy themselves. Chances did continue to come - first a ricochet off Podence, following Christian Kabasele’s clearance, fell just wide of Foster’s goal.
Then, a delicious Neves volley from Joao Moutinho’s corner was well saved by Foster, who had to be at full stretch to keep out a header by substitute Pedro Neto, following another Moutinho delivery.
Fabio Silva did get his chance too, but he guided wide of the far post from a devilish Neto delivery across the face of goal, while Neto and Podence both missed the target with back-post volleys. However, the best was being saved for the end.
Neto started the move, slipping in Ait-Nouri down the left, his cross was deep but Chiquinho kept it alive, nodding down to Neves. Rather than putting his laces through it, the midfielder took a touch round his man and spotted the gap, producing a sumptuous lob over Foster and into the net for four. The latest unbelievable strike for his collection to finish things off nicely.
Full-time | Wolves 4-0 Watford
Wolves | Sa, Jonny (Chiquinho 81), Boly, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Podence, Hwang (Neto 61), Jimenez (Silva 70).
Unused subs | Ruddy, Marcal, Kilman, Dendoncker, Cundle, Trincao.
Watford | Foster, Femenia (Kabasele 30), Cathcart, Samir, Kamara, Louza, Sissoko, Cleverley (Etebo 73), Hernandez, King (Kalu 46), Dennis.
Unused subs | Bachmann, Masina, Sema, Sierralta, Kucka, Kayembe.