Wolverhampton Wanderers’ blushes were spared on Sunday as Diogo Jota’s late goal earned them a point in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
The first half was played at an energetic pace, and it was Wolves who had the better of it. Leander Dendoncker, Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota all had great opportunities, but none could find a way past the impressive Vicente Guaita before the break.
However, it was Palace who broke the deadlock just seconds into the second half, as Joel Ward’s effort ricocheted off Dendoncker into the back of the net. Things went from bad to worse for Wolves as Romain Saiss was dismissed for two yellow cards midway through the half.
Wolves fought for an equaliser and, with just seconds remaining, Jota bundled home a late effort to rescue a point for his team.
Key Talking Point
After one half in which they offered almost nothing in attack, Palace came flying out of the blocks in the second half. An ambitious run from Jeffrey Schlupp was rewarded with a goal, and the rest of the attacking line looked reborn after the interval.
Yes, Ward’s effort looked to be going wide before the deflection, but that’s not the point. There was ambition, desire and positivity from everyone involved, and they definitely deserved a goal for all their hard work.
I want their IDs checked at the end of the game Palace have got some ringers in for the second half! Who is this second half team??? 樂 礪
— SelhurstUnderLights (@SiBoy74) September 22, 2019
Given their struggles in front of goal, Palace will certainly take whatever they can get at the minute. Whatever Roy Hodgson said to his time at half-time definitely worked, and he needs to start saying that before kick-off. It was just unfortunate that they could not hold on.
Starting XI: Guaita (8*); Ward (7), Cahill (7), Sakho (4), Van Aanholt (6); McArthur (6), Milivojevic (6), Kouyate (7), Zaha (7), Ayew (7), Schlupp (6).
Substitutes: Benteke (5), McCarthy (6).
STAR PLAYER – Palace haven’t looked good in attack, and they didn’t even look particularly confident in defence for large parts of this game, but one position in which they looked more than prepared was in goal.
Guaita was in superb form for the Eagles, stopping two certain goals with fantastic saves. Palace would have certainly been well out of this game early on if Guaita was not on top form. Fortunately, he was.
Sorry but Vicente Guaita is the best goalkeeper outside the top 6. Slept on because we’re Crystal Palace and not someone like Leicester.
— Cal 礪 (@CPFC_Cal) September 22, 2019
Ok Guaita is our best ever premier league keeper. cheers
— george (@palaceaway) September 22, 2019
Perhaps buoyed by the knowledge that their goalkeeper was on form, Palace went on to score after the break and came incredibly close to winning the game, but they still owe their point to Guaita.
Key Talking Point
Wolves‘ recent struggles have been well documented. The surprise package from last season have been poor this year, so Nuno Espirito Santo opted for a new formation to try and turn things around.
Scrapping the 3-5-2 in favour of a 3-4-3 in the first half, Wolves certainly looked dangerous, but conceding the goal saw them revert to their old formation. You know, the one which hasn’t worked all season.
We play superbly with 343 all half. Concede an unlucky goal and Nuno changes formation and goes back to a system that hasn’t worked all season. 路♂️
— Jonathan Nuno Santo ⚽️ (@Johnybig32) September 22, 2019
They did manage to fight back and grab a goal at the death, but it was far from a convincing performance from Wolves. Fans have begun asking questions of Nuno Espirito Santo, and he needs to find better answers.
Starting XI: Patricio (6); Boly (6), Coady (6), Saiss (3); Doherty (6), Dendoncker (6), Moutinho (5), Jonny (7*); Traore (7), Jimenez (6), Jota (6).
Substitutes: Neves (6), Neto (6), Cutrone (N/A).
STAR MAN – Wolves could have easily given up a few more goals at Selhurst Park, but Jonny was there to save the day time and time again.
Defensively, he was confident and powerful, and he won a number of challenges to break up Palace’s attacks. He was often faced with the dynamic Wilfried Zaha, but rarely looked threatened by one of the Premier League‘s finest dribblers.
Jonny was successful with 100% of his tackles in the first 15 minutes vs. Crystal Palace.
Seven out of seven already. pic.twitter.com/uWGbN93U9I
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 22, 2019
The left-back kept Wolves on top in the first half, and he did all he could to try get them back in the game after the goal. Saiss’ sending off saw Jonny forced into a deeper position, which was hugely problematic for Nuno. Fortunately, they still managed to grab the equaliser.
Palace have already been eliminated from the Carabao Cup, so their focus will be on their next Premier League game, a home tie with Norwich City on Saturday.