Express & Star

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Wolves 0 - Report

Lapses in defensive concentration cost Wolves as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Tottenham Hotspur.

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The visitors were resolute at the back for much of the first half but switched off on the stroke of half-time to allow Harry Kane to tuck home the opening goal.

Then, on the hour mark, sloppy play from Ki-Jana Hoever allowed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to slide in and add the second.

Wolves had some chances of their own, mainly created by Adama Traore, but in reality they struggled to create going forward as they were condemned to defeat.

Nuno Espirito Santo made four changes to his side following the 2-1 triumph over Brighton.

Romain Saiss, Nelson Semedo, Leander Dendoncker and Traore all came into the side as Max Kilman, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Ruben Neves all dropped to the bench.

Daniel Podence was not involved in the squad, despite starting last week.

Wolves stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation and with Hoever keeping his place in the team, Semedo moved to left-back.

Willy Boly and Fernando Marcal both returned from a Covid lay-off and injury respectively, and were both involved among the substitutes.

Despite falling to a 3-1 defeat to Leeds last week, Ryan Mason only made one change to his side.

Serge Aurier dropped out of the squad altogether but former Wolves man Matt Doherty was overlooked as his replacement, with Japhet Tanganga the preferred option.

Mason did name an unchanged bench however, which included Doherty.

The hosts also started in a 4-2-3-1 formation and had a potent attacking force of Gareth Bale, Dele Alli, Son Hueng-min and Kane.

Among the deafening silence of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in the final game before some fans return, the hosts dominated the ball in the early stages. Wolves were happy to sit back in their shape and soak up the pressure, but they saw very little of the ball.

After five minutes Vitinha almost paid for some sloppy play on the edge of his box and after giving the ball away cheaply, Kane picked it up and shot from 20 yards, smashing the post.

The visitors, however, always have a trump card with the pace and power of Traore. Once again he raced with the ball from his own half and created a two-on-two situation with Fabio Silva. He laid it off for the striker who had a shot deflected wide. The resulting corner almost caused Hugo Lloris problems but the striker eventually dealt with it.

Wolves were standing firm and resolute at the back as the game ticked beyond the 15th minute, but not without Spurs probing in attack. A superb ball from Giovani Lo Celso found Son but the winger’s low cross was cleared before it found Kane.

That work was almost undone, however, when Hoever found himself badly out of position. Kane found Son in acres of space but fortunately for Wolves the forward had creeped offside.

Spurs continued to attack as they tried to force an opening. A Saiss block denied a Bale effort on goal, after a good move by the hosts, before Eric Dier turned behind an Alli cross after the midfielder had delightfully nutmegged Dendoncker and raced into the box.

The next chance fell to Wolves, however, and it was a carbon copy of the earlier run by Traore. The winger again picked the ball up in his own half and raced through the middle of the pitch, taking on several Spurs players. He laid it off to Silva on his right and the striker’s shot was just wide of the far post.

Wolves began to enjoy more time with the ball, but the hosts still looked more threatening. This time, Kane beat Hoever in the air and nodded down to Son. He shuffled the ball onto his left foot and shot from inside the box, forcing Rui Patricio into a good save.

Conor Coady then came to Wolves’ rescue. After a Spurs corner was headed into the air, Patricio failed to claim it and Kane nodded towards goal, but Coady cleared it on the line. The ball was then immediately recycled and as it came back in Coady again stopped it on the line.

But his heroics were in vain as on the stroke of half-time Kane put Spurs ahead. Hojbjerg lifted a wonderful long ball to Kane who raced in behind and finished beyond Patricio. A VAR check was made and the forward was just played onside by Semedo.

As the second half got underway Wolves should have levelled within the first five minutes. Vitinha swung in a cross and found Saiss from 10 yards who, despite being free in the box, directed his header straight at Lloris.

The hosts came back fighting, however, and should have had a second. Alli stole the ball from Joao Moutinho and played in Kane, who had his effort superbly saved onto the post by Patricio. Alli then followed up and smashed his effort onto the other post.

That second goal eventually came in the 61st minute. Hoever failed to shepherd the ball out of play and allowed Sergio Reguilon to steal it. He crossed for Bale who had a shot saved, before Hojbjerg slid in to make it 2-0.

Canadian forward Theo Corbeanu came on the 82nd minute for his senior Wolves debut.

In the end that was the only positive Wolves could take away as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.


Wolves: Patricio, Hoever, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Traore, Vitinha (Jose, 61), Gibbs-White (Neves, 73), Silva (Corbeanu, 82).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Ait-Nouri, Marcal, Boly, Kilman, Cundle.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Tanganga, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Lo Celso (Winks, 68), Hojbjerg, Bale (Sissoko, 89), Alli (Ndombele, 82), Son, Kane.

Subs not used: Hart, Doherty, Sanchez, Lamela, Bergwijn, Moura.