The win continues Wolves’ solid form since the restart. Meanwhile, Palace were consigned to their seventh consecutive defeat, a career-high losing streak for veteran manager Roy Hodgson.
Wolves Cruise to Victory Over Palace
First Half – Wolverhampton in Control
Proceedings at Molineux started tentatively. Predictably, Wolves moved the ball around well despite struggling to create clear-cut chances in the opening half hour. Connor Coady’s well-executed cross-field passes were perhaps the most impressive feature of Wolves’ play, as well as Adama Traore’s frequent involvement down the right flank.
Having said this, 20-year-old Tyrick Mitchell did a solid job limiting Traore to speculative crosses from the by-line. On his first Premier League start, Mitchell was landed with perhaps the toughest assignment of all in Traore. However, the youngster showed great pace to stay largely on the Spaniard’s coattails throughout the first half.
Eventually, the class of Wolverhampton paid dividends on 40 minutes with a brilliantly worked team goal. Capitalising on a loose pass from Andros Townsend, Joao Moutinho produced a sumptuous chip over the back line to Matt Doherty who guided it across to Daniel Podence. Enjoying a rare start, the young Portuguese kept his nerve to head Wolves into the lead.
Second Half – Wolverhampton Dominance Continues
After the break, Palace’s energy seemed to drain as Wolves picked up the pace. Wolves knocked on the door until the 68th minute. Despite Tyrick Mitchell’s valiant efforts, Traore produced one of his trademark moments which render him completely undefendable. One touch, two touch and it was through Mitchell’s legs with Traore bearing down on the Wolves box. The ball eventually reached Jonny who did well to swivel and finish into the bottom corner, doubling Wolves’ lead.
In truth, it never looked as though Palace had the capacity to claw themselves back into the contest. Wilfred Zaha cut a frustrated figure, his powerful strike stung the gloves of Patricio in the dying embers of the game as Wolves coasted to a 2-0 victory.
Ominously for Palace, and of course encouragingly for Wolves, was the fact that the Midlands team did not just outplay the visitors, but completely outclassed them. After a cagey opening, Wolves grew into the game as Palace’s energy and creativity faded. It was evident from the off that Palace had to work extremely hard to create chances of their own.
Coady’s sweeping passes, Jimenez’s physical presence and Traore’s menacing flurries on the wing have become synonymous with the prominent Wolves identity instilled by long-serving manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Against a bonified mid-table side, Wolves looked a class apart. Podence’s goal will invite yet more praise for their fantastic recruitment – all part of the project which has taken them to the dizzying heights of sixth place.
For Palace, their seventh consecutive defeat seemed something of an accepted fate by the players. Little effort was put in to fight back into the game with their safety already assured. Frankly, a top-half pursuit has finished with a whimper due to performances in recent weeks.
The disastrous run of form comes at a bad time for Roy Hodgson, who turns 73 next month. With the team faltering, Zaha likely to leave this summer, and a re-build on the horizon, the board may now be tempted to start afresh despite the Englishman’s impressive tenure. As the second lowest scorers in the league behind Norwich, an out-and-out goal scorer will be top of their summer shopping list, regardless of who is in charge.
As the season draws to a close this Sunday, both sides face tough tests. Palace host Tottenham, whilst Wolves will continue their fight for European football at Stamford Bridge.