Wolves made it three straight wins after a relatively comfortable victory over Bournemouth at Molineux while the Cherries struggle to regain form.
The first goal came 12 minutes into the game when Charlie Daniels sprayed a sloppy pass to Diego Jota who breezed past two Bournemouth players to release a mishit shot which fortunately found Jimenez who tucked the ball away at the back post.
Bournemouth saw the majority of possession, but Wolves created the better chances and were looking like their former selves in the first half. Substitute Ivan Cavaleiro had the last word when Helder Costa played him through in the final moments to calmly score past Asmir Begovic to seal the game for Wolves at 2-0.
Europa League Contenders
The way the Premier League unfolds, due to the domestic cup competitions, the clubs finishing in sixth and seventh usually have an opportunity to qualify for the Europa League. It has happened to many sides who would never usually dream of a European tour but Burnley were an example last season despite their failure to progress past this year’s qualifying rounds.
Wolves currently sit in seventh on 25 points with Bournemouth only two behind, so it is not off the cards; permitting a top-four side wins the cup competitions. Both teams have shown that they can go toe to toe with Europe’s best and have continued to keep within touching distance of seventh.
However, as Burnley found out earlier this season, the Europa League is to be treated half-heartedly or for those lacking depth. Both of these clubs could do with bolstering their 22 man squad to allow rotation for the demanding fixtures, should they qualify.
Wolves could potentially have a substantial transfer budget in January to push for seventh if they sell Ruben Neves, but Bournemouth currently don’t have the luxury of a massive transfer kitty so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep the performances going to the end of the season. Either way, neither side is far from the European dream, but it’s a close race to push for that all-important seventh place.
Bournemouth’s Fixture List Affecting Form?
Bournemouth had a tough run-in of fixtures before Saturday’s game and have failed to get results against any of the top six. They were still able to beat Huddersfield but lost away to a Newcastle, who’ve struggled at home.
Today’s result could be a sign of things to come. With fixtures against Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United in their next four games, could this ruin their confidence and damage their league position? It seems these more difficult fixtures have affected their performances against teams they were formerly beating week in week out.
Today’s result suggests that the tougher games have taken their toll on the Cherries and they may start slipping down the table during the Christmas period.
Wolves’ Recent Results Papering Over The Cracks?
Results are what’s needed in the Premier League, no matter how you get them. They’ve found a sudden revival with a win against Chelsea after scoring two goals in less than ten minutes and an arguably undeserved last-minute winner against the ten men of Newcastle last week. Raul Jimenez had a stroke of fortune today when Jota’s shot was mishit into the striker’s path and put away the chance.
Wolves have ridden their luck in the last couple of games, but they also have not had much luck when going through their bad run of form, so it’s about time. While they created more chances this match like earlier in the season, they were still wasteful.
But with the team playing more like they did when the season began, it should point to positive signs for the future as they were getting results most weeks. Today’s game was a step in the right direction, back to winning ways in a game they deserved despite the lack of possession.
Jimenez Leader of The Pack
Raul Jimenez is Wolves’ top scorer with five and has their most assists with four. Considering he plays as a lone man up top, he is vital to Wolves’ success. He’s not a world beater, but he knows where the back of the net is and contributes to the team’s efforts.
Wolves have no other striker who can boast similar statistics this season. Considering Neves is getting all the attention, Jimenez is playing a far more prominent role in getting the ball in the back of the net compared to his teammate.
Wolves still need a more clinical forward to contribute goals, but Jimenez is a player who staked his place in the squad regardless of who they bring in.
Eddie Howe Under Pressure
Bournemouth had their best start to a Premier League season but gone on to lose five in their last six. They have faced challenging opposition but have also met teams they’d be expected to get something against. Unfortunately, that’s not been the case.
There’s cause for concern about their current form, but they are well away from the relegation fight and still pushing for a finish in the top half. However, Howe may have to introduce some fresh blood in January to revive the Cherries, though failing that he may consider a change to his tactics or his starting eleven.