Wolves went unbeaten in eight on Saturday as they drew with Bournemouth in the Premier League. The draw was by no means dull with three penalties, nine yellow cards and a bloodied up João Moutinho thrusting referee Roger East into the spotlight. Wolves fought hard after they fell behind to a first-half penalty and finally managed to pull themselves back level in the 83rd minute when Raúl Jiménez also scored from the penalty spot. This means that Wolves have now scored 74% of their league goals this season in the second half of games (26 out of 35), which is a league-high ratio.
Wolves had 56% of the possession, managing to make a total of 10 shots, only two of which were on target. Bournemouth didn’t manage much better, also getting in ten shots, only three of which were on target.
Wolves won less duels, aerials, and tackles than Bournemouth but committed more fouls. Both teams picked up a lot of yellow cards, Wolves receiving five and their opponents receiving four. It was a scrappy, dirty game of football which, while entertaining, was also frustrating. With Ryan Bennett now on eight yellows, and Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota both on seven, Wolves will have to be careful, as if any of them reach ten it could mean a two-match ban.
The Beast from the East
Just like the beast from the east, which caused havoc across the UK, Roger East managed to cause his own kind of havoc in the Premier League. After making a multitude of questionable decisions, the referee has suffered serious criticism in the aftermath of the match.
This was the first Premier League game to have three penalties since West Ham v Watford in April 2016. The three penalty decisions have all come under fire, the third one probably the most as the foul was clearly outside of the box, and possibly wasn’t even a foul at all.
East has also come under fire for completely missing a clear handball from Chris Mepham in the box, and only giving a yellow card for an elbow in the face that left João Moutinho bleeding and writhing in pain. It is hard, sometimes, to critique the referee so much because their job is not easy, but unfortunately, it was a day of bad decision after bad decision for Roger East.
A shining light in a tough game, came in the form of the substitute performance from Adama Traoré. In previous weeks, there have been glimpses of improvement from the speedster, and Saturday’s performance was impressive. His passing has improved leaps and bounds, and he managed to put in some good crosses. He wasn’t on the pitch long, but his impact was definitely noticeable and I think as time goes on, we’ll continue to see him grow into a more confident player.
In the 13 minutes that he played, he had 75% passing accuracy, made two key passes, two accurate crosses, won three out of six duels and made two fouls. He also won the one tackle he was involved in.
In what proved to be a difficult and scrappy game, Wolves showed that they have what it takes to fight. Walking away from that game with a well-deserved point is impressive, and means that Wolves have now equalled their highest ever Premier League points tally of 40, which was set in 2010/11.
Next up they will face bottom of the league Huddersfield away on Tuesday night. In the reverse fixture at Molineux earlier in the season, Wolves lost 2-0 and having struggled against the bottom teams this season, they should be looking to step up and improve.