Rui Patricio produced a heroic display as Wolves secure a narrow 1-0 win over Leeds United at the Molineux on Friday.
Wolverhampton Wanderers secured the Premier League double over Leeds United, thanks to yet another 1-0 win at the Molineux on Friday night. It was an important win for the Wolves, who were trailing their opponents in the league table in what has been a disappointing campaign.
Devoid of their main attacking options, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men did well to restrict Leeds as much as they could, limited them to just seven shots on target, only a few of which were clear cut opportunities. It wasn’t perfect, but just enough to keep them at bay, with Rui Patricio turning in a heroic performance in between the sticks.
The Whites are also culpable for being wasteful in front of goal, missing a few glorious scoring opportunities. They were also lucky to get away with certain opportunities for Wolves but were extremely unfortunate as Adama Traore’s long-range effort hit the back of goalkeeper Illan Meslier to find the back of the net.
The goal gave the hosts the incentive to sit back during the final phase of the campaign as they ultimately managed to snatch all three points. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at how these two sides performed in this crucial result on Friday.
Rui Patricio: 9/10
Rui Patricio was by far the best performer for Wolves in this game. He made a string of solid saves, including a late one to deny Helder Costa, to preserve his clean sheet and secure all three points for his team.
7 – Rui Patrício made seven saves to keep a clean sheet tonight. The last Wolves goalkeeper to make as many or more saves in a Premier League match while keeping a clean sheet was Marcus Hahnemann against Everton in March 2010 (nine saves). Wall. pic.twitter.com/vff307NfEo
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 19, 2021
Leander Dendoncker: 7/10
Leander Dendoncker had to remain alert as Leeds United poured men forward. Their offensive mindset restricted the Belgian from expressing himself in the build-up play.
Conor Coady: 6.5/10
Conor Coady had problems marking players or closing down ball-carriers on certain occasions. However, his leadership at the back was critical in helping Wolves secure a clean sheet.
Romain Saiss: 6.5/10
Romain Saiss was always going to have a difficult time dealing with the threat of Raphinha on the flanks. The defender did well for the most part but was poor in terms of his positional discipline from set-pieces.
Nelson Semedo: 7.5/10
Nelson Semedo offered excellent support for the Wolves attackers, with his marauding runs crosses forward. His crosses also caused quite a stir in the Leeds backline, with the right-back even testing Illan Meslier once.
Neves is 16th in the PL this season for tackles won, with 30.
Wan-Bissaka top on 44.
5th? Nelson Semedo (33). (Opta)
— Tim Spiers (@TimSpiers) February 19, 2021
Ruben Neves: 7/10
Ruben Neves had a decent game in the middle of the park. He dug in for his team, notably making four interceptions and preventing the opposition from dominating the midfield. He was, however, aided by the absence of Kalvin Phillips.
Joao Moutinho: 7/10
Joao Moutinho offered the assurance in possession, dictating the play whenever Wolves had the ball. May have had a difficult time if Leeds United had Phillips available though.
Jonny Otto: 6/10
Jonny Otto had a difficult time dealing with Raphinha, often struggling to keep up with the Brazilian’s pace and dynamism. A bad day at the office for him.
Pedro Neto: 7.5/10
Pedro Neto once again made an impression with his work-ethic and tactical versatility. He also tested the opposition with his attempts on goal while linking up well with his teammates.
Willian Jose: 6/10
It was a disappointing game for Willian Jose, who could have preferred more service upfront. It appears Leeds United were far too dynamic for his liking as the forward eventually made way for Fabio Silva late in the game.
Adama Traore: 7.5/10
Adama Traore was a menace every time he had the ball. While the attacker may not be consistent, it was his long-range effort that outdone Meslier, although the Spaniard was fortunate as the ball hit the back of the goalkeeper to find the net.
A thunderous shot from Adama Traore bounces off the bar and in off Illan Meslier 😳💥
Nothing the goalkeeper could do about that one! pic.twitter.com/pff5O3ZjQr
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 19, 2021
Fernando Marcal: N/A
Marcal replaced the struggling Jonny around the hour mark but his night was cut short by another injury just 20 minutes into his introduction. Subbed off in the 82nd minute. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Rayan Alt-Nouri: N/A
A late replacement for the injured Marcal. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Fabio Silva: N/A
A late replacement for Willian Jose. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Illan Meslier: 8/10
Illan Meslier was one of the best performers for Leeds United. He made a few excellent saves to keep his side in the contest and was rather unfortunate to concede the goal as the ball hit his back to find the net.
Luke Ayling: 7/10
Luke Ayling had a decent game in the right-back position. His trademark runs forward wasn’t as prevalent in this game, but the defender tried to make things happen with his forays down the flanks.
Pascal Struijk: 8/10
Pascal Struijk continues his excellent run of form with yet another impressive defensive display. He was quite competent in the air and had a certain authority that made it difficult for Wolves players to penetrate the backline.
Much better, not at our best but more solid at the back.
Really unlucky with the goal and they got the breaks tonight.
Struijk so much better back at CB.
We go again
— Bielsa's Cheese Wedge Ultras 🧀 🏆 (@Allcheese1) February 19, 2021
Liam Cooper: 8/10
Liam Cooper was another Leeds United player that impressed the onlookers. His leadership and ability in aerial duels made the Whites quite strong from set-pieces.
Stuart Dallas: 6/10
Back in his left-back role, Stuart Dallas wasn’t really effective going forward. He also had difficulties defending the Wolves attackers, at times and should have started in midfield.
Jamie Shackleton: 5/10
Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to start with Jamie Shackleton doesn’t pay off once again. The youngster offered dynamism but failed to influence the game as much.
Mateusz Klich: 6/10
Mateusz Klich was another midfielder who struggled to impose his authority in the middle of the park for Leeds. His offensive runs weren’t as effective as the midfielder even made way for Alioski late in the game.
Raphinha was the lone spark in an otherwise ineffective Leeds United attack. The Brazilian looked menacing on the ball, causing problems with his speed, movements and ability to pick out passes in behind the defence.
3 out of Leeds’ 4 big chances vs Wolves were created by Raphinha. He also created 3 other chances.
£17 million bargain 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Ztop53TYeQ
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) February 19, 2021
Tyler Roberts: 5/10
Tyler Roberts once again showed why he is not cut out for the Premier League yet. He struggled to cope with the intensity of the game and lose out on possession way too often, one of which even led to a crucial opportunity for Wolves.
Jack Harrison: 5/10
Jack Harrison had a quiet game against Wolves. He was barely involved in the game, which is quite uncharacteristic for the player.
Patrick Bamford: 6/10
Patrick Bamford had a bad day at the office, operating in the number nine role. He lacked the service and looked quite sloppy whenever he did the scoring opportunity. A poor performance from the ex-Chelsea starlet.
Pablo Hernandez: 6/10
Pablo Hernandez was introduced around the hour mark to add more creativity to the table for Leeds. Didn’t really make a huge impact on the proceedings.
Helder Costa: N/A
A late replacement for Harrison. Missed a glorious opportunity to equalise in the dying embers of the game. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Ezgjan Alioski: N/A
A late replacement for Klich. Did not play enough to warrant a rating and should have started the game.