It had threatened to be a frustrating afternoon for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. They had wasted some wonderful chances and it seemed that they were going to have settle for a second draw of the season. Instead, they managed to condemn West Ham to start the season with four consecutive defeats for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Deep into stoppage-time, the home areas emptied out. In the away end, however, they were having the time of their lives. Adama Traore had drilled a low shot past Lukasz Fabianski and Wolverhampton Wanderers were on their way to their first league victory since winning promotion to the Premier League.
West Ham went down that year and Manuel Pellegrini’s side would walk off to boos after another uneven performance. They had secured their first competitive win under Pellegrini earlier in the week, fighting back from a goal down to beat AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup, and they went close to taking the lead when Felipe Anderson cut inside and shot from 20 yards in the fourth minute. Rui Patricio plunged low to his right to push the Brazilian’s effort away and the Wolves goalkeeper was relieved to see Willy Boly stop Michail Antonio from reaching the loose ball.
The home fans roared, sensing that Wolves were vulnerable. Yet it was a flawed start from both sides and the visitors refused to be cowed after that early flurry from Anderson. They were dangerous on the right, taking advantage of Antonio’s failure to protect Aaron Cresswell, and threatened when Matt Doherty tested Lukasz Fabianski with a swerving drive.
By the end of the first half, however, it had become clear that Wolves needed a sharper edge in attack. Their football was pretty on the eye and there were times when Joao Moutinho oozed class in midfield. Yet they made poor choices in the final third and struggled to create chances for Raul Jimenez, who needed better service from Diogo Jota and Helder Costa.
All the same, Pellegrini paid Wolves a compliment by replacing Snodgrass with Andriy Yarmolenko during the interval. West Ham was crying out for a spark and the substitution almost paid off at the start of the second half, only for Patricio to claw Antonio’s looping header away after a tricky run from Yarmolenko. Arnautovic was also giving his markers more to think about, using his strength and skill to good effect on a couple of occasions.
Yet while Yarmolenko saw a goalbound volley blocked by Connor Coady with 20 minutes remaining, it would be pushing it to say that West Ham was dominant. Wolves also had their moments and Fabianski had to be alert when Moutinho’s free-kick from the right found the unmarked Jimenez.
West Ham’s goalkeeper held on to the Mexican’s effort, however, and he would later prevent Wolves from profiting on the break. Jimenez tore down the left and Leo Bonatini looked certain to score when the ball reached him 12 yards from goal. Fabianski sped from his line to deny the substitute, however, and West Ham would breathe another sigh of relief when Jimenez tripped over his own feet after being released by Ruben Neves.
Wolves were almost punished for their profligacy when Arnautovic wriggled clear in the 82nd minute. Patricio, however, rescued his side with a magnificent save from the Austrian’s rising shot and that stop would prove crucial.
When Neves and Bonatini combined to release Traore, the winger had time and space to shatter West Ham.
Source: The Guardian