Tottenham v Wolves: Hosts boost Europa League hopes with comfortable win



Harry Kane scores
Harry Kane has now scored 22 Premier League goals this term

Tottenham boosted their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League with a comfortable Premier League win over Wolves.

Spurs, who are five points adrift of a top-four place, leapfrog West Ham into sixth on goal difference, with Everton, who play later on Sunday, three points further back.

It was a deserved victory for the hosts who hit the woodwork three times after creating a number of excellent chances.

Harry Kane, who saw an early effort cannon off the left-hand post, set Spurs on their way, calmly slotting in the opener from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s superb pass on the stroke of half-time.

While Wolves carried a threat on the break they were forced to ride their luck at times, with Kane and Dele Alli both hitting the right-hand post within seconds of each other.

And Hojbjerg unsurprisingly doubled Spurs’ advantage, reacting first after Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio had parried a Gareth Bale effort to slide the ball into the bottom right corner.

Romain Saiss, Adama Traore and Fabio Silva all had good opportunities to reply for the visitors, but not for the first time this season it was a frustrating day in front of goal for Wolves, who remain 12th in the table.

Kane and Alli star for dominant Spurs

This dominant Spurs display was brimming with everything that was absent in their defeat at Leeds eight days ago.

Interim head coach Ryan Mason will have been delighted by the purpose and poise that his players exhibited and will now be optimistic that Spurs can secure a place in next term’s Europa League.

While it was not their goal at the outset of the season, that may provide some consolation at the end of a topsy-turvy campaign and would undoubtedly be a preferable outcome to ending up in the Europa Conference League, which would involve a qualifying round over the summer.

Kane, who scored for the first time in a month, will be probably be keen to avoid that situation, particularly with the rearranged European Championship coming into view.

The England captain served early notice of his intentions with a brilliant long-range strike that smashed the base of the Wolves post and was excellent throughout.

Alli also impressed in front of the watching England boss Gareth Southgate, showing glimpses of the qualities that once made him a first choice for the Three Lions.

In his third consecutive start, he ghosted past Saiss on the right touchline during the first half and the only disappointment will have been that he did not cap a fine display with his first top-flight goal since 7 March 2020.

Wolves miss killer instinct

Despite a recent upturn in form, Wolves are going to finish in their lowest position since returning to the Premier League in 2018-19.

And while there can be few complaints about the quality of their overall football, it is easy to understand why – with only the three relegated clubs and Burnley having managed to find the back of the net on fewer occasions.

The club paid a significant sum for Fabio Silva last September, but the teenager has had to acclimatise to a new country in difficult times and is still very much a work in progress.

That was highlighted by the way in which he spurned two early chances that could have put the visitors in front.

His first effort was blocked and he then dragged a shot wide from an almost identical position on the right-hand side of the Spurs penalty area just before the half-hour mark.

Silva, 18, also lacked conviction when presented with a gilt-edged chance by Morgan Gibbs-White midway through the second half and was withdrawn with eight minutes remaining.

While captain Conor Coady was excellent at the back and twice cleared off the line before the break, it is at the other end of the pitch where boss Nuno Espirito Santo is likely to focus this summer.

Dele ‘loves football’ – what they said

Spurs interim head coach Ryan Mason speaking to BBC Sport: “The most important thing is to win. Today our performance was excellent – we controlled the game. Our attacking players will be disappointed there weren’t more goals – they deserved them.

“[Dele Alli is] professional. It’s not easy for professional footballers to spend a long time on the sidelines. Dele has started the last three games – that says a lot about him. He loves football, he runs and he fights. He’s disappointed he didn’t get a goal because he deserved one, he had a really good game.

“This is Tottenham Hotspur. We want to be playing in the biggest competition in the biggest games. This season hasn’t gone to plan.”

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo speaking to BBC Sport: “We were missing lot of things. Not all the game but mainly on the moments when we conceded we were missing discipline, organisation and being aggressive to solve a simple situation.

“We repeated the same mistakes. We didn’t test [Hugo] Lloris, we got into good situations but didn’t put the ball on the goal. The finishing was very bad. We want to keep trying to improve and finding new solutions to our game.”

On Raul Jimenez, who remains sidelined with a head injury: “He’s OK, he meets the specialist on Tuesday and based on that information we will decide [what to do next]. He is working and training but we have to be really patient and cannot afford any kind of mistake.”

Mason’s home comforts

  • Tottenham have won each of their first three home league matches under Ryan Mason. Mason is the first Spurs boss to do so since Harry Redknapp in November 2008.
  • Wolves have failed to score in 12 Premier League matches this season, the most games in which they’ve failed to net in a Premier League campaign since 2011-12 (13).
  • Tottenham had 24 shots in this match, 13 of which were on target – both figures exceed any amount they had in a single Premier League match under previous manager Jose Mourinho.
  • Wolves faced 13 shots on target in this match – since 2003-04, only against West Brom in February 2012 have they ever faced more in a Premier League match (14).
  • Since winning three of their first five away games in the Premier League in 2020-21, Wolves have only won two of their last 13 on the road in the competition (D5 L6).
  • Wolves’ Fabio Silva had seven shots in this match, the most by a teenager in a Premier League match since Mason Greenwood’s seven for Manchester United vs Cardiff in May 2019 – the last teenager to exceed seven shots in a Premier League match was Giuseppe Rossi for Manchester United vs Charlton in May 2006.
  • Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg both scored and assisted in a Premier League game for the first time, in what was his 145th appearance in the competition. He’s the third Dane to score and assist in a Premier League game for Spurs after Christian Eriksen (nine times) and Allan Nielsen.
  • Tottenham’s Harry Kane has scored 22 goals and provided a further 13 assists in the Premier League this season- the only players to exceed Kane’s 35 total goal involvements in Europe’s top five leagues this season are Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
  • Tottenham’s Harry Kane has hit the woodwork nine times in the Premier League this season, the most since Kevin de Bruyne in 2016-17 (also nine). Since full shot data has been available for the Premier League (2003-04), the only player to hit the woodwork more in a season is Robin van Persie in 2011-12 (10).

What’s next?

Tottenham host Aston Villa in their penultimate Premier League match on Wednesday, 19 May (18:00 BST).

Wolves travel to Everton for their next top-flight game on the same evening, also at 18:00 BST.

Player of the match

HøjbjergPierre-Emile Højbjerg

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number16Player nameCoady

  2. Squad number8Player nameRúben Neves

  3. Squad number11Player nameRui Patrício

  4. Squad number37Player nameTraoré

  5. Squad number27Player nameSaïss

  6. Squad number18Player nameGibbs-White

  7. Squad number28Player nameJoão Moutinho

  8. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

  9. Squad number60Player nameCorbeanu

  10. Squad number12Player nameWillian José

  11. Squad number32Player nameDendoncker

  12. Squad number2Player nameHoever

  13. Squad number20Player nameVitinha

  14. Squad number17Player nameFábio Silva

Line-ups

Tottenham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 25TangangaBooked at 86mins
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 15Dier
  • 3Reguilón
  • 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forWinksat 69′minutes
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 9BaleSubstituted forSissokoat 89′minutes
  • 20AlliSubstituted forNdombeleat 82′minutes
  • 7Son Heung-Min
  • 10Kane

Substitutes

  • 2Doherty
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 8Winks
  • 11Lamela
  • 12Hart
  • 17Sissoko
  • 23Bergwijn
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 28Ndombele

Wolves

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 2Hoever
  • 16Coady
  • 27Saïss
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 37Traoré
  • 20VitinhaSubstituted forDa Silvaat 63′minutes
  • 18Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forNevesat 73′minutes
  • 17Fábio SilvaSubstituted forCorbeanuat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 5Marçal
  • 8Neves
  • 12Da Silva
  • 15Boly
  • 21Ruddy
  • 39Cundle
  • 49Kilman
  • 60Corbeanu

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