The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW30): West Ham 0-2 Wolves
Expectations for this fixture pointed towards an away win, West Ham have had a poor season and are just above the relegation zone, a loss today would be making them sweat over their chances of Premier League safety. The conditions are the same as they were in the Watford versus Leicester game in the lunchtime kick-off. Wolves were chasing a dream European finish, and West Ham are fearing the drop.
Like most games since the restart the game was very gritty in the first twenty minutes, most games open up in the second half when substitutes freshen up the game, with player fitness clearly holding teams back from going for it in the first half. The best chance fell to the Hammers, as Fornals in the 14th minute had a clear chance on goal and the Spaniard blazed over wildly, it was a chance that should have put West Ham 1-0 up. That was pretty much it for the first half, it was a very patient forty-five minutes of football, and the match could only get better in the second half. West Ham have done well to keep Wolves at bay.
Trawling on into the second half the game kept its same pace until Adama Traore was subbed in the 70th minute. Within three minutes, and only a few touches, the pacey Spanish winger whipped in a cross to the back post where a lunging Raul Jimenez’s thumping header put Wolves a goal up. Traore was also involved again as he drove at the West Ham defence before setting up a Doherty cross that was hit with vengeance with a first-time volley by Pedro Neto to double Wolves’ lead. At this stage of the game it was a goal well earned by the Midlands club who were now dominating the Hammers.
The game finished with Wolves ending in a comfortable win over West Ham, with the London club now treading in dangerous waters, whilst Wolves dream of European nights. Adama Traore the difference between the two clubs.
Man of the Match: (Adama Traore (WOL)
Many of the games that we have watched since the restart have been identical. Games take until the 70th minute before they start ramping up in intensity. Subs being made a winning game, or even getting teams to draw level. Paul Pogba chanced Man United’s game against Spurs, Demarai Gray did the same for Leicester, and now Adama Traore came on and dramatically improved the game. The Spaniard only took a few minutes to do it, as he assisted Raul Jimenez for the opener. The second goal was also about Traore beating three men to give Doherty the opportunity to cross which led to Neto’s goal.
Wolves didn’t have a cutting edge, they had lots of possession and were winning the midfield battle, but with Jota and Jimenez up front together it was static, but when Traore came on he provided the penetration Wolves needed to take the next step in the game and score. Without Traore coming in this would have finished 0-0. Jimenez was only effective because of Traore’s guile, and was Wolves best player, even if it was a twenty-minute cameo.
WHU 0-2 WOL - Insight and Analysis:
Going into this match I expected Wolves to dominate, and West Ham to allow the midlands club to dominate them. Sometimes I wonder how the Hammers stay in the Premier League season-to-season, that is no bias, just by generally watching how they play. Their team gives the opposition plenty of room to play through them, so I expect Jota and Raul to cause them plenty of problems.
What we got was something of what I expected, but it was only the typical Wolves performance when Traore was subbed on. Traore not starting was boggling as he came on and made an instant impact, if he had started the game Wolves would have won by a huge margin. Traore breezed past Hammers players as if they mannequins, and like what I had said in my other reviews players with quality are the big beneficiaries of this restart to Premier League football. I never saw West Ham picking up a point in this fixture and it is worrying times for Karen Brady who might start begging for the league to be null and voided again now things are back on the downward spiral.
Ramifications: Wolves win / Hammers loss
West Ham were above the relegation zone by the skin of their teeth, only avoided it due to goal difference. The big worry for them is that Aston Villa had a game in hand, and with Brighton picking up a valuable win earlier in the day the pressure was really on for them to cause an upset by casting doubt of Wolves European ambitions. The Hammers loss is damaging for the club’s spirits, they are club in real danger of dropping down into the Championship after heavy investments in the past two seasons on players like Haller and Felipe Anderson. Both Bournemouth and Aston Villa can now leapfrog West Ham with their games in hand.
Wolves on the other hand are looking good for the chances of being in Europe next season, especially with Spurs and Man United drawing last night. Wolves have a fully fit outfit and with a positive fixture list ahead of them they will be on Frank Lampard’s radar as Chelsea are only a few points ahead of their new rivals. Wolves have an amazing opportunity to make the impossible happen.
Venue: London Stadium
Manager: David Moyes
GK: L Fabianski
DEF: J. Ngakia (Fredericks 81')
DEF: D. Rice
DEF: I. Diop
DEF: A. Cresswell
MID: M. Noble
MID: T. Soucek
MID: P. Fornals (Yarmolenko 81')
MID: F. Anderson (Lanzini 67'
MID: J. Bowen
FOR: M. Antonio
Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Wilshere, Fredericks, Ajeti, Randolph, Johnson, Xande Silva.
Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo
GK: R. Patricio
DEF: R. Saiss
DEF: C. Coady
DEF: W. Boly
DEF: M. Doherty
DEF: Jonny Otto (Vinagre 90')
MID: R. Neves
MID: L. Dendoncker (Traore 64')
MID: J. Moutinho
FOR: D. Jota (Neto 64')
FOR: R. Jimenez (Gibbs-White 90+2')
Jordao, Neto, Podence, Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Vinagre, Traore, Kilman, Rasmussen.
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