Wolves v Espanyol: Match Thread KO 8pm 20.2.2020
By Ivybridge Wolf
February 19 2020
When we managed our brilliant qualification into the Europa League, I’m sure the enormity of the qualification rounds and group stages had maybe been overlooked, at least for a few of us? Well, it did me. But here we are in late February and we’re still in it, the proper knock outs start here. Trips to Northern Ireland, Armenia, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Turkey have now culminated in our next Spanish opponents, Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona, Espanyol for short! Both Wolves and Espanyol started off in the same second qualifying round of the competition, however, have since faired very differently in their respective leagues. Espanyol, as it has been well documented, have actually got off to one of their worst league starts in years, P24 W 4 D L 13 Pts 19, nevertheless don’t necessarily be sucked in by that. This is because their 6 league matches in 2020 have amassed 9 of those points with 2 wins, 3 draws (one v the other Barcelona team) and 1 loss. Essentially their current form, combined with our excellent ability to draw matches and perhaps not convert chances makes this fixture anything but a foregone conclusion. Naturally Nuno and the lads won’t be resting on their laurels, but this will be a much sterner test that a cursory glance at stats might first suggest. Indeed, Albelardo, the Espanyol manager has promised today that they are not just in Wolverhampton ‘for sightseeing or as tourists’, though hat’s off that he’s heard of some of our brilliant local attractions e.g. Dudley Castle, Black Country Museum, Wightwick manor, Bantock Park etc. Well done sir!
On the massively positive, I'm going to see this match and can't wait. This is the reason why I'm publishing early - Cheshire hopes to catch up with the match thread in the second half. As for me, it'll be my first ever European night at Molineux with every hope that despite the caution I've expresed, we really have a great chance to progress to the last 16 of the competition. I do expect it to be a tight encounter and with any luck provide some of the excitement witnessed in our previous Europa macthes. Surely one priority has got to be to strive for a clean sheet tomorrow night. Our recent games have seen us struggle to score for sure, but we have certainly shown how we can shut up shop at the back, due in no small part to the return to our defence of Big Willy!
As for the team, I expect Nuno will pick a reasonably settled side, maybe with Moutinho reintroduced into the staring eleven, at least. Wherever you follow our fortunes, (it's on BT) enjoy the match and fingers crossed that we give a good account of ourselves.
Please offer your thoughts and comments on this important fixture, in the usual way, on this thread.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:02:29:16:30:34 by Cheshire wolf.
Can you imagine my horror to see that the club shop have generated an official Wolves / Espanyol ‘half and half scarf’.
I thought that these abominations were only plugged by cockney barrow boy types down side streets but no, we have one actually generated by the club 😳😳🤬🤬👎🏻👎🏻
Horrendous crime against football. Hate them.
Seem to be generally in control of the game and apart from Rui trying to gift them a goal they haven’t really offered up much of a threat.
Traores crossing has been atrocious, Raul and Jota deserve better service.
Wolves 4 Espanyol 0
Well done lads, barely a foot wrong over 90 minutes.
I personally think that Espanyol, whilst completely second best, were at times, not a bad outfit. They kept the ball well, passed it around pretty well, approach play reasonable but of course not a great deal in terms of ‘end product’. In the first half we probably contributed to most of their good moments (the Patricio comedy show WTF!!!) but in the second (which they started off much the better) they went mighty close with a couple of headers which flashed passed the post.
Having said that, what a great deserved win! In the first half, we just didn’t quite hit the right notes enough. I strongly felt that if we upped it just a little they were there for the taking and once in my life, I was right. We did and they were.
The goals were brilliant, watching as I did from my J3 (upper) seat. On the way up and in the Combermere Arms we were lamenting the lack of goals (and perhaps a dip in form) of Diogo and Ruben being a bit inconsistent and hoping ‘tonight was the night’. Well, what a response from both. Thought Ruben was very good in midfield and THAT volley!! Wow. And Jota, the first was instinctive, his third was well worked with a clinical finish. The second was an absolutely outstanding team goal!
What a position to be in going into the second leg, and yes, Big Willy was highly influential in our 3rd clean sheet in a row. In fact, so many good performances and a lovely high energy cameo from Pedro Neto.
To cut a long story we got home at 2am and for a change, with my 7am alarm, I got up, still high as a kite and went to work with a bounce, Reading that for once we seemed to take the lion share of the national press and a great interview with The Doc on the Robbie Savage 5 Live show this morning.
Now, as Billericay eludes ...... let’s keep this spark going in the premier league starting versus the Canaries on Sunday. Brighton is my next match. Can’t come soon enough.
The back three were all on top form and Neves was excellent, even without his goal.
Not sure if Jiminez intended a back-pass or if he just mis-hit it but he played Patricio into all sorts of trouble. That being said, Rui made a right dogs dinner of clearing it and was lucky to get away with it. If that had been Ruddy, he would have been pulled to pieces.
The final slight negative for me is that I must be the only person in the World who thinks that Traore's final ball is, shall we say, inconsistent, and last night it was certainly more miss than hit. No-one can do anything with crosses that are over- hit, don't get past the first man or are 12 feet in the air.
Jota looked back to his best and his 2nd and 3rd goals were fantastic and if Neto's shot hadn't hit a post we would be purring about that. When it came to goals though, Neves was simply outstanding.
The tie is surely won now and hopefully we can get another win on Sunday and push on in the league.