Matt Doherty scores again as Wolves keep on rolling

Raul Jimenez struck the winner as Nuno Espirito Santo’s took all three points

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matt Doherty celebrates after scoring their first goal during the Premier League win over Spurs. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matt Doherty celebrates after scoring their first goal during the Premier League win over Spurs. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

 

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3

A change of league positions and perhaps a changing of the guard, too. Wolves took Tottenham’s top-six place with a comeback win that their superior structure and efficiency ultimately merited, the outstanding Diego Jota teeing up Raúl Jiménez for the deciding goal in the 73rd minute after contributing an equaliser of his own.

The frustration for Spurs was that they could not build on first-half strikes from Steven Bergwijn an d Serge Aurier, either side of Matt Doherty’s leveller, that twice gave them the lead. But ultimately a rejigged defence and attack were both out of sorts when it mattered and José Mourinho will not like to be reminded that Nuno Espírito Santo, once his reserve goalkeeper at Porto, is the second of his former players to outgun him from the opposing dugout in the space of eight days.

For a while it seemed the old master would hand out a lesson or two. Bergwijn’s goal arose from Tottenham’s first moment of danger and came soon after a Davinson Sánchez block had thwarted Jota at the other end. Spurs may lack an attacking spearhead but an interchangable front three of Bergwijn, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura poses a threat with its movement.

It was Bergwijn, nominally starting on the right, who appeared in the No 10 position with a sharp lay-off to Giovanni Lo Celso. The Argentinian found Aurier overlapping and, when the low centre fizzed in, Alli seemed poised to convert near the six-yard line. Rui Patricio’s quick reactions put paid to that but Bergwijn, sharp to the loose ball, made no mistake with a stabbed finish.

Raul Jimenez scores the winner. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images
Raul Jimenez scores the winner. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

It was the January signing’s second Premier League goal and there is already evidence to suggest such sights will become commonplace. There is not much continuity to cling to in these parts at the moment, largely because of a brutal injury situation but partly owing to the whims of their manager. Both had come into play here; Hugo Lloris’s absence with a groin problem was a wearying addition to the former but it came as a surprise to see both Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld next to one another on the bench. For the first time since August 2012, Spurs had started without any of the two rested centre-backs, Lloris, Harry Kane or Son Heung-min. Nobody can expect the adjustment to be straightforward and the reshuffled back line proved the point with some slipshod work for Wolves’ equaliser in the 27th minute.

It came about when Ruben Vinagre, released by a one-two down the left flank, ran beyond Aurier all too easily and delivered. Eric Dier, making a rare outing as one of the three centre-backs, missed his clearance and flummoxed Japhet Tanganga, who saw the ball bounce off his knee. Doherty could hardly miss the resulting gift, shooting low past Paulo Gazzaniga, and Mourinho’s strategy now looked decidedly high-risk.

The jitters did not exactly subside. Dier and Davinson Sánchez got in each other’s way to concede a needless corner and, soon afterwards, Romain Saiss headed wide. Spurs’ attacking forays had become tentative but they mustered a spell of pressure before half-time and it bore fruit from an unlikely source.

Aurier’s end product can be underrated but he had not scored a top-flight goal since March 2018. That did not seem too likely to change when, taking a pass from Alli inside the box, he cut inside Vinagre on to his weaker left foot. The shot was on and, when it came, a rasping drive into the far corner was worthy of his absent attacking colleagues.

The lead was again Spurs’ to lose and, despite starting the second half strongly, they duly obliged. Alli headed wide when found alone inside the area by a deep Ben Davies cross and punishment came within two minutes. Jota’s leveller bore a resemblance to the hosts’ opener, Adama Traoré showing characteristic strength before finding Jiménez, who sent Doherty towards the right byline. Doherty’s cross-shot flicked off Gazzaniga’s outstretched foot and Jota, who had earlier headed on to the roof of the net, had a tap-in.

Jota has now scored six goals in his past three appearances and was soon to add an assist. If his goal was straightforward, this was a bewitching piece of work. Leaving Moura for dead with a flick inside his own half, Jota carried the ball 40 yards past Aurier – who would have been wise to concede a foul – and Sánchez. Now Jimenez was running clear to his right; the pass was perfectly weighted and the striker’s finish, executed emphatically after checking inside Tanganga, was of the highest class.

There was to be no comeback from Tottenham, whose supporters were unimpressed Mourinho waited until the 90th minute to introduce Troy Parrott. Wolves, 46 games into their season, show no sign of seizing up. – Guardian

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