Wolves player ‘didn’t deliver’ and the real damage being done by VAR
Raul Jimenez converted his ninth goal of the season to earn Wolverhampton Wanderers a share of the spoils against Southampton at Molineux.
Jimenez, who twice saw goals chalked off by VAR in the first half, stepped up to convert a penalty won by Matt Doherty to cancel out Danny Ings’ opener for the Saints.
It extended Wolves’ unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions ahead of another huge week in the Europa League.
Here are our findings from Wolves 1-1 Southampton.
Nobody wanted this
Yes, football fans wanted the introduction of VAR – but nobody wanted this.
Nobody wanted to be afraid to celebrate goals through fear of a VAR check chalking it off and that is exactly what it has come to.
The emotion a goal brings, where 30,000 people – at Molineux at least – joyfully clamber all over each other, is matched by very few things in life and if something doesn’t change we risk losing that.
Southampton might disagree having seen six goals against them ruled out by VAR this season which may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
But football as a whole needs to find a way of ridding itself of the 30 seconds of dread whenever a goal is scored so supporters can continue to live those euphoric moments.
Not Raul’s day
VAR or not, Peter Bankes seemed to take pleasure in winding up Jimenez, who Wolves are fortunate is among the most mild-mannered men in the Premier League.
Time and time again he gave aerial 50-50 challenges against the Mexican, incensing the home crowd in the process.
But the decision which riled Molineux most – and the one Nuno couldn’t get his head around – was Bankes booking Jimenez for handball following the first disallowed goal.
And Jesus didn’t make it any better…
Jesus Vallejo’s role at Wolves so far has been that of a squad player and he’s been demoted to fifth choice centre-back in recent weeks.
The Spaniard, who joined with a fanfare from Real Madrid in July, hasn’t yet lived up to the billing of a player on the books of football’s most illustrious club.
Vallejo was needed against Saints after Ryan Bennett picked up an injury early on and he didn’t deliver.
He sold Conor Coady short with a header in the first half which got the captain booked. He presented Ings with a golden chance at the beginning of the second half with a loose square pass. And he played his part in Ings’ goal with an aimless punt into midfield which Saints returned with interest.
Adama’s a marked man
Adama Traore has owned Wolves headlines since his heroics at Manchester City so sod’s law meant he struggled against Saints.
Southampton didn’t only play a very deep defensive line which limited Traore’s space to move into, they also doubled up on him at every opportunity.
Not once did Traore find himself in a one-v-one situation with Ryan Bertrand and for that the visitors deserve credit.
A clash of styles
Traore’s quiet afternoon affected Wolves. Without their X Factor they were at odds to break down a resolute team who arrived at Molineux with one idea: counter-attack.
It’s the way Wolves love to play and one they hate to play against, particularly at Molineux.
Quite often we see teams visit here and frustrate Wolves successfully. Nuno, who tends to find the answer, will now set about making his team attack more aggressively against those teams who attempt to play Wolves at their own game in WV1.