Wolves chalked up back-to-back Premier League victories after Raul Jimenez netted the only goal to reward a comprehensive performance against Burnley at Molineux
It was Wolves’ first three-point haul on home soil back in the top flight and was secured when Matt Doherty went roaming down the right wing and squared for Jimenez to produce a cultured finish, in off the post in front of the South Bank.
The margin a victory could, and probably should, have been greater, with Joe Hart in excellent form between the sticks for the visitors, denying Jimenez and Helder Costa to name two.
However, victory puts Nuno Espirito Santo’s men ninth in the Premier League after a second successive clean sheet and victory.
The wait for Wolves’ return to action had felt like an eternity, as Nuno’s side looked to build on the West Ham United victory, and they started lively following the international break, with Hart called into early action by both Diogo Jota and Costa.
The steady progress made throughout the opening 30 minutes should have been rewarded from a flurry of chances, which somehow Burnley survived. First Jota set up Jimenez, who watched his effort palmed away by Hart. The goalkeeper then got down low to turn away Doherty’s cross, before his defence cleared Jonny Otto’s rebound. That wasn’t the end of the waves however, and Hart had one more save in his locker, denying Doherty on the slide following a fine Ruben Neves cross.
With Phil Bardsley on a yellow card, Wolves were enjoying a greater sense of freedom down the left and once Otto cut onto his right foot and bent an effort, Wolves looked to be heading in front, only for James Tarkowski to head a crucial clearance.
The chances kept coming for the dominant hosts, who just couldn’t force the ball over the line. Willy Boly was the next to be left frustrated when he controlled and volleyed over, following a cleared Moutinho corner on the stroke of half-time.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Burnley 0
Immediately after the interval, Wolves should have been ahead. Jota raced onto Bardsley’s poor touch and laid the ball off for Jimenez, but the Mexican blazed over with the goal gaping.
The hosts were continually knocking on the Burnley door. First, Neves’ long-range effort was palmed behind by Hart, before Jota flashed a rasping effort just wide of the goalkeeper’s post.
So, when the opening goal finally arrived it was thoroughly deserved. Patient build-up was key as usual for Wolves, who fed Costa to slip in Doherty, the Irishman showed composure to pick out Jimenez and the striker guided the ball across Hart and in off the post.
Costa’s final contribution would see him curl an effort high into the South Bank following good work by Otto. The winger was then replaced by Adama Traore, still on a high from his West Ham winner a fortnight ago.
For all their dominance, Wolves could have been pegged back moments later when substitute Matej Vydra volleyed across goal and Jack Cork failed to connect at the back post.
Then came the first glimpse of Traore, with the winger attempting to squeeze the ball in at the near post, only to be denied by the feet of Hart. Leo Bonatini quickly followed Traore onto the pitch in place of the goal scorer Jimenez.
The striker could have been celebrating his first Premier League goal too, but after having his first shot blocked, Bonatini’s second effort was headed off the line by Tarkowski.
With time running out Johann Berg Gudmundsson curled a free-kick narrowly over and then failed to truly test Rui Patricio following a fortunate ricochet which fell at the feet of the Icelandic midfielder.
Still, with Morgan Gibbs-White now on the pitch, Wolves had an opportunity to make the game safe but when Traore laid in Bonatini, the striker couldn’t keep his effort down. Then, the winger put a cross on a plate for Bonatini and somehow he shot wide, however it mattered not.
Full-time: Wolves 1 Burnley 0
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Otto, Moutinho, Neves, Costa (Traore 66), Jota (Gibbs-White 87), Jimenez (Bonatini 76).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Vinagre, Hause, Saiss.
Burnley: Hart, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Lennon, Hendrick (Westwood), Cork, Gudmundsson, Barnes (Vydra 56), Vokes (Wood 70).
Unused subs: Heaton, Lowton, Ward, Long.
Referee: Andre Marriner