Football Features

Raul Jimenez winner helps Wolves leapfrog Spurs – and extend stellar capital record

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:53, 1 March 2020

Wolves came from behind on Sunday afternoon to register back-to-back Premier League wins at Tottenham Hotspur.

Jose Mourinho’s men went into the break with a commanding 2-1 lead, but the West Midlands-based club turned the game on its head to win what proved to be a five-goal thriller and subsequently condemn Spurs to three consecutive defeats in all competitions.

Matt Doherty, who established himself as one of the league’s best wing-backs last term, opened the scoring before Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier put the Lillywhites on course for three more points in their Champions League pursuit.

However, as we’ve often this season, the north Londoners’ soft underbelly was ultimately exposed, first as Diogo Jota equalised and then when Raúl Jiménez bagged the winner, his 13th this campaign – which matches the amount he registered across the entire 2018/19 campaign.

Incredibly, their latest win maintains Wolves’ recent impressive form in London. Since achieving their latest promotion they are yet to suffer defeat in the capital having now achieved four wins and five draws. If Nuno Espirito Santo’s side manage to extend that for a further three games then the club record of 11 — attained between 1972 and 1974 — will be surpassed.

For Mourinho, a manager that prizes clean sheets like nobody’s business, this result will undoubtedly hurt. The build-up to Doherty’s goal will also give him some food for thought. Spurs started in a 3-4-3 system containing Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga in defence in an effort to give Spurs some solidity. However, the entire back three struggled and were guilty of errors.

Tanganga, who has broken into the first-team fold through from relative obscurity under Mourinho, scarcely looked comfortable and came off for the closing stages. Defensive concerns aside, there were at least some positives going forward, in particular the support Dele Alli – playing the ‘false nine’ role – provided to Spurs’ other attacking outlets.

Mourinho can be content with Alli’s ability to at least provide a physical presence and focal point given his paucity of options. The England international appears to be the best makeshift solution, even with a recognised centre-forward in Troy Parrott around. Mourinho remains adamant the Irishman is not ready for regular football at this level, but did hand him a brief appearance in injury time.

Flashes of potential positives cannot, however, disguise the fact that Spurs failed to capitalise on their top-four rivals, namely Chelsea and Manchester United, dropping points. As touched upon, Spurs have only kept three clean sheets in 16 league matches under Mourinho, and during that period they’ve shipped in 22 goals (or once every 66 minutes).

Nuno, who registered a first win in three meetings against his former FC Porto coach, was full of emotion at full-time – and for good reason. Wolves now sit above Spurs in sixth place – two points clear of the north Londoners – level with Man Utd and three behind Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League spot. The next few weeks will be fascinating to watch as Wolves attempt to gatecrash the top-four party.