Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 West Ham United
- Goals: Leander Dendoncker (£4.4m), Patrick Cutrone (£5.6m)
- Assists: Joao Moutinho (£5.3m), Pedro Neto (£5.0m)
- Bonus: Dendoncker x3, Moutinho x2, Conor Coady (£5.0m) x1
Leander Dendoncker (£4.4m) was the most-owned Wolves player to deliver a return at Molineux on Wednesday night as Raul Jimenez (£7.7m) failed to make it five consecutive Gameweeks with an attacking return.
The 22.5%-owned Mexican may have blanked against a leaky West Ham outfit but it was not for a lack of trying, with Jimenez topping the shot charts in the Gameweek 15 clash.
Dendoncker – still in 9.4% of squads despite being part of Wolves’ back three in the absence of Willy Boly (£4.8m) – poked home in the 24th minute directly from a Joao Moutinho (£5.3m) corner. The Portuguese midfield maestro has three assists and a goal in the past five Gameweeks.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s troops are now unbeaten in ten Premier League matches – perhaps not the most significant stat in Fantasy terms but it does illustrate Wolves’ excellent form following a ropey start to the season. On the other hand, Wednesday night’s shut-out was the club’s first since Gameweek 8.
Nuno, who gave his players Thursday off following their victory, was pleased with his side’s effort in defence. The Wolves boss said:
It was a good game, a good performance, I think we played very well. We had to be organised and manage the game.
West Ham are a very good team but we got a clean sheet and I’m very happy for that. I’m giving them a day off after 21 days without a day off.
However, Nuno did feel that his side might have made better use of counter-attacking situations, adding:
We had chances, clear breaks and counter-attacks that we should define better, clear chances.
Jimenez was probably the guiltiest party in that regard. The forward’s loose touch after a rapid Adama Traore (£5.2m) break saw the Mexico star shoot straight at David Martin (£4.0m) in the 73rd minute.
West Ham’s current no. 1 made five saves against Wolves, putting him joint-third for that particular statistic among goalkeepers across Gameweek 18.
Martin kept the score at 1-0 in the first half with a good stop from Diogo Jota’s (£6.1m) drive, while he also prevented Jonny (£5.4m) scoring from close range on 54 minutes after the defender was put through by Jimenez.
West Ham’s only big chance of the game fell to Robert Snodgrass (£5.2m) after he was set free by Pablo Fornals (£6.0m). The Scot’s control let him down, however, as Rui Patricio (£5.2m) claimed the ball in a collision that ended the Hammers man’s involvement in the tie.
On his opportunity, Snodgrass explained:
For my chance I took a good first touch, the second I tried to go on my left and the keeper’s just come out and done well. I’m disappointed because it’s a chance I should have taken, and have done most of my career.
We’ll just go back to the drawing board and take the positives from the game because I thought there were some good performances and on another day I take that chance to make it 1-1, so I’m gutted.
Wolves ended the contest late on as Jimenez’s 84th-minute replacement Patrick Cutrone (£5.6m) slotted home a pass from fellow substitute Pedro Neto (£5.0m).
West Ham have now conceded 62 chances from set plays this season, fifth-bottom in the league. On that problem and his side’s performance, Manuel Pellegrini said:
I think that, for me, the big mistake we made was conceding from the set piece again. It was a very tight game in the first 45 minutes. We dominated most part of the second half.
We had one option [chance] to draw the game, but we didn’t take that option and finally they counter attacked and found the space for the second goal.
Before this game, we have conceded too many. Newcastle scored three from set pieces, Crystal Palace two, Bournemouth by set pieces, it’s at least eight or ten goals.
Questioned on why the impressive Michail Antonio (£6.9m) was not part of the matchday squad, Pellegrini stated:
It was a risk for him to play this game. He is not able to play and I hope he will be recovered for Monday.
The Irons boss added on Snodgrass:
I think [he will be fit for Gameweek 16]. We will see tomorrow, he had a big kick to his chin but hopefully he will be OK.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Dendoncker; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Doherty; Jota (Neto 72′), Jimenez (Cutrone 84′), Traore (Bennett 89′).
West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Martin; Cresswell, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Fredericks; Rice, Noble (Holland 71′); Fornals, F. Anderson, Snodgrass (Yarmolenko 62′); Haller (Ajeti 80′).