Wolves 2-0 Aston Villa: Diogo Jota stars as Nuno's side go top
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 14/10/17 8:46pm
Diogo Jota starred as Wolves beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Molineux to climb to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Wolves dominated their West Midlands rivals in a lively derby and were a constant threat with Ivan Cavaleiro and Ruben Neves controlling the game for long periods.
But it took until the 55th minute before they broke the deadlock, Jota firing a blistering strike past Sam Johnstone in the Villa goal after a cross from Cavaleiro.
Substitute Leo Bonetini crashed in a second for Wolves with 20 minutes to go after a weaving run from Jota, as Steve Bruce's side were overrun by the superior technical threat from their rivals.
The result moves Wolves to the top of the Championship for the first time since 2009, while Villa remain just outside of the play-off places in seventh.
Wolves started with record- signing Ruben Neves in midfield. Villa went with Jonathan Kodjia and Keinan Davis up front.
Wolves dominated a first half which fizzed with energy but which brought few clear-cut chances, Neves drawing the only real save out of Johnstone with a blistering 35-yard drive which the Villa 'keeper did well to beat away.
Neves shot wide from a Cavaleiro cut-back midway through the half and Villa had the excellent Alan Hutton to thank for a last-ditch tackle on Cavaleiro when clean through, as the visitors soaked up Wolves' attacking flair to good effect.
But Bruce's side had their resistance broken 10 minutes into the second half when Wolves full-back Matt Doherty fed Cavaleiro down the flank and the Portuguese's cross was taken down by Jota who flashed a brilliant drive past Johnstone.
Man-of-the-match Jota was at the heart of Wolves' second goal, embarking on a weaving run which the stretching Hutton could only divert into the path of the supporting Bonetini, who took the ball in his stride and crashed home.
Wolves: Ruddy (6), Batth (6), Coady (7), Miranda (6), Douglas (8), Doherty (7), Saiss (7), Neves (8), Costa (7), Jota (8), Cavaleiro (8)
Subs: Marshall (7), N'Diaye (6), Bonatini (8)
Aston Villa: Johnstone (8), Elmohamady (7), Terry (7), Chester (6), Hutton (8), Snodgrass (7), Hourihane (6), Whelan (6), Adomah (6), Davis (7), Kodjia (6)
Subs: Hogan (7), Onomah (7), O'Hare (7)
Man of the match: Diogo Jota
Villa had Johnstone to thank for an outstanding double save in the closing minutes, first clawing away Jota's header from on the goal-line before spreading himself to keep out Bonetini's close-range follow-up.
For all their endeavour Villa failed to test John Ruddy in the Wolves goal, as Nuno Espirito Santo's buccaneering team cruised to the top of the Championship table.
Man of the match - Diogo Jota
Jota was central to Wolves' charge to the top of the table, scoring the first goal and making the second as the resolutely organised Villa ultimately crumbled against his devastating creativity. His run to set up Bonatini's goal in particular was a thing of beauty, leaving Villa's back four in his wake with real drive and skill.
Nuno Espírito Santo: "Pretty good result and fantastic performance. I think the team really played well. We played very good football, congratulations to the boys.
"The team is growing, everybody is growing. People come in and have a chance to perform. It's about the squad. It's not about one player, it's about the squad."
Steve Bruce: "I'd have to say on the night they were the better side. Just after half-time when we haven't come out in the right way for the second half, certainly for the first 10 or 15 minutes. But no complaints. Wolves tonight, on that performance, were the better side.
"I just thought we weren't the way we should have been. We gave the ball away too cheaply, especially for the first goal just after half-time. But no complaints on the night. On the night Wolves deserved the victory."
Wolves faces Preston at home on Saturday October 21 at 3pm, while Villa host Fulham also next Saturday at 3pm.