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Tottenham 1-2 Wolves: Player ratings as Joao Gomes double downs Spurs

Gomes Wolves

FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Spurs slipped out of the top four as two goals from Joao Gomes helped Wolves to a deserved 2-1 victory in north London on Saturday afternoon.

The disciplined Wanderers went ahead on the stroke of half-time when Gomes headed in from a corner before Dejan Kulusevski levelled proceedings with a smart finish at the start of the second half.

However, a burst of pace from Pedro Neto helped Wolves counter and Gomes arrived in the box to smash in the winner, cementing their place in the top ten.

How the game unfolded

Both sides had been dealt injury blows in the build-up to Saturday’s meeting. Tottenham were without influential full-back duo Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie, while a hamstring injury left Wolves bereft of the goals of in-form forward Matheus Cunha.

Spurs were left aggrieved as Anthony Taylor let some tough challenges go early on, resulting in Guglielmo Vicario being called into action for the first time as he diverted Nelson Semedo’s strike to Hwang Hee-chan. However, his first-time rebound sailed slowly into the crowd.

Ben Davies sent a powerful half-volley over the top, but the opening 25 minutes largely consisted of Tottenham probing the well-drilled Wolves outfit, who looked to break quickly through the likes of Hwang and Neto.

The hosts were kept at bay during the first half, failing to register a shot on target, and the visitors took full advantage with the opener minutes before half-time.

Gomes – all 5’8 of him – was left totally free at a corner, allowing the Brazilian midfielder to rise highest and plant a beautiful header into the top corner, leaving Vicario stranded.

With Aston Villa ahead at Fulham at the break across the Premier League, Spurs needed another big second-half performance to lay claim to fourth place for another week, just as they did in the late win over Brighton.

It took until the 61st minute to break the Seagulls down, but they were level again seconds into the second period thanks to a slick run from Kulusevski.

A throw-in bounced between Richarlison and Pape Matar Sarr before the Swede took it on, squeezing past Craig Dawson and sliding his finish between the legs of Jose Sa.

Tottenham have ridden the wave of momentum when coming from behind this season but their high line invited another Wolves opportunity as Pablo Sarabia crashed a first-time shot straight at Vicario.

That warning wasn’t heeded and Spurs were caught out just after the hour mark as the Wanderers took the lead.

Wolves turned over possession with Tottenham camped in their half before Neto took it on and ran over half the length of the pitch. The Portuguese winger held off Emerson and picked out Gomes, who arrived with perfect timing to lash his side ahead again.

A triple change from the bench came as Ange Postecoglou looked to summon more late drama, though Wolves continued to look solid and should have put the game to bed through substitute Jean-Ricner Bellegarde. However, the midfielder tried too much as Emerson recovered to make a last-ditch block.

Spurs couldn’t summon a grandstand finish, Ben Davies heading the last chance wide, as their five-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an end, allowing Wolves to extend their own unbeaten spell away from home to four matches.

Tottenham player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Kulusevski Tottenham

GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 6/10 – Made some big stops when Wolves got in behind Spurs’ high line.

RB: Emerson Royal – 4/10 – Evidently not as comfortable as regular right-back Porro, struggling to play smoothly infield.

CB: Cristian Romero – 5/10 – Charged around with his usual intent but could have organised his defence a little better.

CB: Micky van de Ven – 5/10 – Recovery pace didn’t always bail Spurs out of trouble.

LB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – Also looked a little uncomfortable at full-back, though was always keen to get round the outside when possible. Headed wide with the last chance.

CM: Pape Matar Sarr – 5/10 – Caught on the ball before Wolves’ winner and could’t affect the game with his forward runs as Wolves sat deep.

CM: Yves Bissouma – 7/10 – Won the ball back frequently, managing a team-high of five tackles, and helped with some vital interceptions.

RW: Dejan Kulusevski – 7/10 – Didn’t get much change out of Ait-Nouri before catching Wolves napping with the equaliser. Delivery from wide wasn’t quite there.

AM: James Maddison – 5/10 – Struggled to play incisive passes behind Wolves and didn’t manage a shot on target.

LW: Son Heung-min – 5/10 – Largely shackled well by Semedo and was on the periphary on the game.

ST: Richarlison – 5/10 – Made some nice flicks at points but largely struggled to get into the game, being brought off before full-time.

Substitutes

SUB: Timo Werner (71′ for Bissouma) – 5/10

SUB: Rodrigo Bentancur (71′ for Sarr) – 6/10

SUB: Brennan Johnson (71′ for Richarlison) – 5/10

SUB: Giovani Lo Celso (85′ for Emerson) – N/A

SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (86′ for Maddison) – N/A

Subs not used: Brandon Austin, Oliver Skipp, Radu Dragusin, Bryan Gil.

Manager

Ange Postecoglou – 4/10 – Reliance for quality delivery on Porro and Udogie was shown without the pair. Changes couldn’t enforce a late turnaround this time.

Wolves player ratings (3-4-3)

Wolves

GK: Jose Sa – 6/10 – Rarely called into action aside from the goal which nutmegged him.

CB: Max Kilman – 6/10 – A few hurried clearances here and there. Probably the least comfortable of the visiting defender.

CB: Craig Dawson – 7/10 – Made a couple of shrewd blocks and took time out of the game when necessary.

CB: Toti Gomes – 7/10 – Helped stifle Wolves’ right flank and showed impressively quick feet on occasion.

RWB: Nelson Semedo – 8/10 – Stood up tall during his one-on-one duels with Son in the first half.

CM: Mario Lemina – 7/10 – Combative in the middle of the park, dropping deeper late on.

CM: Joao Gomes – 9/10 – Left wildly unmarked to head in just his second Premier League goal. Busted a gut to support Neto before firing in his third.

LWB: Rayan Ait-Nouri – 7/10 – Got up and down the left and didn’t shirk his physical battles with Kulusevski.

RW: Pablo Sarabia – 7/10 – Whipped in the corner which assisted Gomes’ header.

ST: Hwang Hee-chan – 6/10 – Lifted over a great chance on the rebound early on.

LW: Pedro Neto – 8/10 – Looked threatening every time he isolated Emerson out wide. Scampered away and picked out Gomes for the winner.

Substitutes

SUB: Jean-Ricner Bellegarde (73′ for Sarabia) – 6/10 – Should have made it 3-1 but it proved academic.

SUB: Boubacar Traore (88′ for Hwang) – N/A

SUB: Matt Doherty (90′ for Neto) – N/A

Subs not used: Dan Bentley, Santiago Bueno, Hugo Bueno, Tommy Doyle, Tawanda Chirewa, Nathan Fraser.

Manager

Gary O’Neil – 8/10 – Another characteristic performance from O’Neil’s side, suffocating Spurs of any space to work with while pouncing on the counter.

Player of the match – Joao Gomes (Wolves)