Nuno Santo and Wolves put in a truly remarkable second-half performance to come back from 1-0 down at half-time and emerge 3-1 victors at Wembley.
England’s captain Kane opened the scoring at Wembley with a piledriver past Rui Patricio of the highest calibre. Slid in by Son, Kane worked the ball swiftly down the right-hand side before executing a terrific Cruyff turn past Willy Boly and launching a powerful strike from outside of the box with his ‘weaker’ left foot.
Spurs looked set to continue their fine run of form that has seen them rise to 2nd in the Premier League, but a second-half comeback and a stunning performance from the West Midlands outfit including goals from Boly, Raul Jimenez and Hélder Costa in 18 minutes saw Nuno’s side collect all three points and rise to 7th in the table.
Nuno Santo’s magic touch
After taking Wolves up from the Championship in 2017/18, much was expected of Nuno Santo and his newly-promoted side, and after battling draws against Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City in their first six, the side from the West Midlands have continued their remarkable campaign, with their victory over Spurs meaning Wolves have now taken points off every team in the top-six, bar Liverpool.
Saturday’s battling comeback victory was indicative of the work ethic Nuno has instilled in this squad, and coming up against a Spurs side who had dismantled Everton and Bournemouth 6-2 and 5-0 respectively in their two previous games, coming to Wembley and winning 3-1 is a true statement of intent – relegation is a far forgone prospect for the Wanderers, the question merely remains as to just how far this team can go.
Raul Jimenez: the Mexican warrior
Throughout the 2018/19 campaign, rumours have been rife as to which new striker Wolves are set to acquire in the January transfer window.
Jimenez is a player whose contribution has been invaluable for Nuno’s side, but to truly compete and become an established top-flight side, it was believed that Wolves needed a stronger, more consistent number nine to lead their attacking line in the Premier League.
Jimenez is due indescribable credit for his response and consistency in the division this season, with six Premier League goals, level with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette, proving that the Mexican international is more than capable of pulling his weight in a Wolves side who will certainly be looking to acquire new playing talent in the coming January and summer windows.
Heung-Min Son: a brutal loss for Pochettino
After a fine run of form in the Premier League, including five consecutive victories prior to Saturday’s defeat against Wolves, the key question mark that has lingered over Tottenham’s inability to challenge for the title is their lack of depth; a finely tuned squad complexion that could be severely impacted with just one injury in their forward line.
The impending departure of Heung-Min Son, who is set to participate in the Asian Cup, will represent a huge blow to Spurs and Pochettino, with the South Korean forward presently experiencing a truly purple patch of form, scoring seven goals and registering four assists in his last seven Premier League starts.
Son was once again in fine form on Saturday, setting up Kane for Tottenham’s opener, and persistently troubling the Wolves backline with trickery and flair that has become a trademark of his game in recent years. On current form, there are arguably few Premier League players in finer form than Son, and his departure with the South Korean national team will pose a new challenge to Pochettino in replacing and replicating his remarkable attacking output.
Are Tottenham out of the title race?
Yes, it’s arguable they were never in it, but with Pep Guardiola’s City stalling and two tricky fixtures coming up on paper for leaders Liverpool, the recent rise of Pochettino’s Spurs was eye-catching to say the least, with 11 goals in their last two Premier League games prior to the defeat against Wolves.
For many years under Pochettino, Spurs have entered their name into the hat for the title, only to fall marginally short owing to a lack of depth and squad experience. To have risen to 2nd in the table, made the semi-finals of the EFL Cup alongside charging to the last-16 of the Champions League, all against the backdrop of a stadium fiasco and not a single incoming transfer, is remarkable – Pochettino is due extreme levels of credit and praise for his work, and it’s far from surprising to see the Argentine linked with jobs at Old Trafford and The Bernebau.
Yet what we saw on Saturday was the same old problems coming to the fore. Tottenham were unable to deal with the high-intensity press offered by Santo’s side, as they let yet another lead slip and have arguably now removed themselves from any talk of a title race. A key trait of the Pochettino era with Spurs has been their ability to bounce back after disappointing results, and their next game, away at Cardiff City, presents Spurs with the prime opportunity to return to form and remain in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
18 more games remain the current campaign, but if Spurs were even to re-enter themselves as contenders for the title, it would unquestionably represent Pochettino’s most remarkable achievement during his time in North London.