Max Kilman’s first goal in two years inspired Wolves to a dominant win over struggling Everton.

The defender’s opener, Matheus Cunha’s tap in and Craig Dawson’s strike wrapped up an impressive 3-0 win at Molineux.

The squad celebrated with team-mate Mario Lemina’s shirt with the midfielder missing the game following the death of his father.

For the Toffees, their Christmas decline continued, four straight wins earlier in December have now been followed by three successive Premier League defeats and a Carabao Cup exit.

They remain a point above the relegation zone after an insipid and powderpuff performance.

Wolves – with nine goals in their last three games – are now unbeaten in eight at home and earned a third straight Premier League win for the first time in almost two years to remain 11th in an increasingly impressive season.

Boss Gary O’Neil stressed pre-game he did not see Everton as a struggling side – without their 10-point deduction the Toffees would be above Wolves – but the hosts were never troubled.

A early break from Cunha, with Hwang Hee-chan and Pablo Sarabia for company, ended with the South Korean forward being crowded out and unable to find a finish after rounding Jordan Pickford.

It was a waste yet Wolves kept probing and Cunha’s 20-yard effort dropped wide.

The hosts coped without Lemina, who returned to France on Friday, with Joao Gomes snapping at the Toffees in midfield.

As a result, Everton were nullified as an attacking force and it was little surprise when Wolves took the lead after 25 minutes.

The Toffees only half-cleared a corner with the ball recycled to Cunha on the right to deliver a low cross.

Pickford pulled off a brilliant reaction save to stop Jarrad Branthwaite turning the ball into his own net but, in the ensuing scramble, Kilman poked the ball in – dedicating the goal to Lemina by lifting his team-mate’s shirt to the heavens.

It was just the skipper’s second goal for Wolves in 128 appearances – with his other also against Everton in November 2021.

There was little response from the visitors, bar Dominic Calvert-Lewin shooting across goal, and Wolves remained comfortable despite being unbale to fashion more first-half chances.

Passive and reactionary, Sean Dyche’s outfit desperately needed to improve after the break, but they fell further behind eight minutes into the second half.

Top scorer Hwang underlined why his team-mates will need to fill the void now he heads to the Asian Cup with South Korea – potentially not returning until mid-February – when he teed up Cunha.

Sarabia’s cute pass set him free on the right to outpace Michael Keane and it was a simple ball for Cunha to accept the gift for his sixth goal of the season.

It was the cue for Wolves to run riot and Hwang struck a post before Dawson added a third on the hour.

Everton struggled to clear and, when Cunha returned a fine cross, Dawson was left inexplicably unmarked to stick out a leg and find the corner.

The hosts’ only clean sheet of the season came in their 1-0 win at Everton in August, but they had little to fear at Molineux, even if Dwight McNeil rattled a post from distance.

Gomes and Hwang tested Pickford before the striker had a goal chalked off for offside, while the hosts also had the luxury of welcoming back Pedro Neto after a two-month injury absence.

The substitute even had a comeback goal ruled out for offside as Wolves were forced to settle for three.

Rangers have announced the loan signing of Portuguese forward Fabio Silva from Wolves until the end of the season.

Silva is set to join Rangers from January 1, subject to international clearance, and will become the first new arrival under manager Philippe Clement.

After joining Wolves from Porto in the summer of 2020 for what was then a club-record fee in the region of £35.6million, Silva had loan spells at both Anderlecht and PSV Eindhoven last season.

Silva, 21, has made more than 60 Premier League appearances, the last coming as a late substitute in the defeat at Sheffield United on November 4.

“I am very happy, when I spoke to people about Glasgow and about Rangers, everyone told me good things about the club and the history,” Silva said on the Rangers website.

“I played here once with Porto in the Europa League, so I already know the warm club, the environment and the stadium, so everything is perfect.

“I am very happy to be here, and I can’t wait to start training with the team.”

Clement is confident Silva can make an impact at Ibrox.

“He is a highly rated striker and it is fantastic to have him joining our squad for the remainder of the season,” the Rangers boss said.

“He is a young player who already has some great experience in his career in both England and in Europe. I am looking forward to working with him moving forward.”

Wolves sporting director Matt Hobbs feels Silva will benefit from the move to Scotland.

“This is a simple one – Fabio needs to play,” Hobbs said on the Wolves website.

“He is not getting enough opportunities here, so it’s a chance to go out and score goals and we’ll look at the future in the summer.

“Rangers don’t have a buying option, but hopefully he plays and scores goals and we’ll see where we’re at in the summer.”

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil hopes Hwang Hee-chan will be fit to face Everton on Saturday despite going off injured at Brentford.

Hwang hit two first-half goals in the 4-1 win in west London but limped off before half-time with a back problem.

The 27-year-old has scored 10 Premier League goals this season, although Wolves will miss him for up to four matches when he jets off with South Korea for the Asia Cup next month.

“It’s just a back spasm, he’ll be fine for the Asia Cup. Hopefully we can get him back for our game against Everton as well,” said O’Neil.

“We’ll see. It’s a tight turnaround but it was only a back spasm and he’s moving a bit better than he was when he came off. Let’s see how he does over the next couple of days.

“It’s 10 goals for him now, so an unbelievable return. But I do have big faith in everybody, whether we have to play someone else or whether we have to use some of the under-23s or under-21s who are already on the bench then no problem.”

Mario Lemina and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde were also on target at the Gtech Stadium as Brentford imploded defensively.

Yoane Wissa pulled one back but the return of Ivan Toney following his suspension for breaking betting rules, likely to be at home to Nottingham Forest on January 20, cannot come soon enough with the Bees hovering just four points above the relegation zone.

“I think either if we were number one in the league, bottom or mid-table, we would look forward to getting Ivan back,” said boss Thomas Frank.

“It’s getting closer. We had an in-house game the other day and he scored two goals. I looked at him and he looked pretty good. It will be just like a new signing.”

Brentford boss Thomas Frank told Nathan Collins he will never have a worse match after his horror show in the 4-1 defeat against the defender’s former club Wolves.

Collins arguably had his best game for Wolves – but unfortunately the centre-half left Molineux to join Brentford in June.

The Bees’ record signing endured a nightmare evening, handing Wanderers two goals with terrible passes, as Brentford slipped to a fourth straight defeat.

“I told him it will never be worse than this, with a smile on my face,” said Frank.

“He’s been a very positive player for us this season, he’s performed very well for us. It happens.

“Tonight he will be down but tomorrow it’s a fact that the sun will rise again. I expect him to walk into training with his head held high.”

Having already let Mario Lemina score with a free header, Brentford contrived to gift Wolves a second from their own kick-off.

They played the ball back towards goalkeeper Mark Flekken but Collins left his backpass short and, barely 10 seconds after the restart, Hwang Hee-chan had rounded the Dutchman and tapped into an empty net.

Brentford pulled one back immediately through Yoane Wissa but when Collins and Mads Roerslev allowed Toti’s clearing header to float through to Hwang, the South Korean flicked the ball over Ethan Pinnock and finished past Flekken.

Wolves lost Hwang to a back spasm moments before the interval, but his replacement Jean-Ricner Bellegarde wrapped up their victory with 11 minutes left.

Collins was again the fall guy when his lazy pass across the face of goal was intercepted by Matheus Cunha, who played in Bellegarde for a simple finish.

Brentford could soon be looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation battle after a sixth defeat in seven matches left them just four points above Luton in 18th.

“This is a good club, a good team and we have character in abundance and we’ll go again,” added Frank.

“A big thing is to stay calm and believe in the work we do and the processes. That’s what we’ve done in the past and that will get us out of this minor run of poor results.”

Victory completed a festive double for Wolves following their Christmas Eve home win over Chelsea, and was their first success in London in 15 attempts.

“I’m really pleased,” said boss Gary O’Neil. “Although we didn’t have loads of control of the ball we were able to punish them.”

The raucous travelling support sung O’Neil’s name throughout the second half.

He added: “The fans have been incredible for me and I have unbelievable respect for the fans. I understand how underwhelming it might have been when Gary O’Neil was announced as their manager but the connection with them has probably been my biggest positive so far.

“I’m sure if we keep winning 4-1 they’ll keep singing my name. We’ve had two fantastic results for them to enjoy over the festive period.”

Hwang Hee-chan scored twice as Brentford forgot how to defend and Wolves took full advantage with a 4-1 win in west London.

Hwang took his tally for the season to 11 as Wanderers followed up their Christmas Eve win over Chelsea by collecting another festive three points.

It was a first victory in the capital in 15 attempts for Wolves, their last coming in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in February last year.

But it was gifted to them by a Brentford side who could soon be looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation battle after a fourth straight defeat and a sixth in seven matches.

The Bees are riddled with injuries and suspensions – they had 10 players unavailable here – but there was still no excuse for some alarming defensive errors.

Nathan Collins arguably had his best game for Wolves; unfortunately the centre-half left Molineux to join Brentford in June.

The Bees’ record signing endured a nightmare against his former club, handing them two goals with terrible passes on an evening to forget.

Wolves were inches from taking the lead when Joao Gomes played Hwang in behind and his low cross was sliced narrowly over his own crossbar by Vitaly Janelt.

But from the corner, in the 13th minute, they did find the net after the ball was cleared as far as Pablo Sarabia, whose cross was met by a header from the totally unmarked Mario Lemina.

What came next was an utter farce from the hosts as they played the ball back from their own kick-off towards goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

Collins’ backpass to the Dutchman was woefully underhit and, barely 10 seconds after the restart, Hwang had rounded him and tapped into an empty net.

The crowd at the Gtech Stadium had barely caught their breath again when the Bees pulled one back, Yoane Wissa latching on to Neal Maupay’s clever flick and firing home.

Unbelievably, it could have gone from goalless to 2-2 in the space of five minutes but Jose Sa kept out a close-range header from Janelt.

Instead Wolves doubled their lead again when Toti’s powerful, clearing header was allowed to float between Collins and Mads Roerslev and straight to Hwang.

The South Korean turned, lifted the ball over the covering Ethan Pinnock and fired the ball past the exposed Flekken into the bottom corner.

Brentford could have pulled another back before half-time but Collins headed a Saman Ghoddos corner over and Maupay fired wide after being fed by Wissa in stoppage time.

Wolves lost Hwang to a back injury moments before the interval, but his replacement Jean-Ricner Bellegarde wrapped up their victory with 11 minutes left.

Collins was again the fall guy when his lazy pass across the face of goal was intercepted by Matheus Cunha, who played in Bellegarde for a simple finish.

Mauricio Pochettino lamented Chelsea’s lack of ruthlessness in front of goal after a flurry of missed chances contributed to a 2-1 defeat to Wolves at Molineux.

Mario Lemina headed the hosts into the lead early in the second half, rising to nod Pablo Sarabia’s corner into the far corner after the visiting defence had failed to make a serious attempt to clear the ball.

It was fair reward after a first half in which Gary O’Neil’s side held Chelsea off well, though they were helped significantly in their task by wayward finishing, most notably from Raheem Sterling who spurned a golden chance when he shot straight at Jose Sa instead of playing in Cole Palmer for a tap-in.

It was an inexplicable lapse in judgement from the England forward, who after a lively start cut a frustrated figure for the rest of the game, culminating in a yellow card for simulation in the final moments as he appealed for a penalty.

Chelsea had 16 shots on goal but tested Sa only infrequently as once again this season possession around the penalty area and decent sights of goal were not capitalised upon.

Matt Doherty added a second in the third minute of added time after Benoit Badiashile’s atrocious attempted clearance.

By the time substitute Christopher Nkunku headed his first Chelsea goal on his Premier League debut, there were few away fans who had remained inside Molineux to see it.

“We made a mistake, we need to blame ourselves,” said Pochettino. “That’s why we didn’t win today, because in the first half we had the chances to score. In the Premier League if you’re not clinical enough when you have chances, always you can concede.

“We didn’t compete in the first five minutes of the second half, we conceded too many corners. In these moments it’s about competing better and being stronger.

“I agree we’re our own enemy. I don’t want to take credit away from Wolves. They scored and they did their job. But in the first half we were the better side. And because of lack of capacity to score, we didn’t win the game.

Wolves had been tipped to struggle after O’Neil replaced former boss Julen Lopetegui days before the start of the season, with financial constraints placed on their transfer business by Financial Fair Play regulations over the summer.

They now sit level in the table on points with Chelsea boasting a near identical league record, despite Pochettino’s side having spent upwards of £1billion on recruitment during the last 18 months.

One of the summer’s big-money buys Nicolas Jackson, who cost £32million from Villarreal but has scored only seven times in the Premier League, was greeted with ironic cheers from visiting supporters when he was substituted, with frustration growing with his patchy, inconsistent form since arriving at Stamford Bridge.

“I didn’t hear the fans,” said Pochettino. “(But) always it’s about expectation, how you manage that. A striker that arrives at his age, a new league like the Premier League, it’s (important) not to blame him.

“The frustration from the fans you can accept. But we need to blame all together. Football is a collective sport and we cannot blame only one.

“But he is young, it’s his first season in the Premier League and  the expectation is massive. There is pressure to play for Chelsea.”

Wolves boss O’Neil reflected on a game that his side deserved to win despite having to name an inexperienced bench with players unavailable.

“It was a tough day for us with a call from the doctor this morning around illnesses,” he said. “I had to call up some young lads last minute to make up the squad.

“Going against what Chelsea had, especially late on in the game, I thought it might have been tricky for us once we started to tire.

“But the lads manage to produce another fantastic performance here in front of the home fans and we deserved the win really.”

Chelsea slumped to a third defeat in four Premier League games as second-half goals from Mario Lemina and Matt Doherty earned Wolves a deserved 2-1 victory at Molineux.

Lemina headed in unmarked from Pablo Sarabia’s corner early in the second period, just reward after Gary O’Neil’s side had weathered early pressure and the hosts had spurned a host of chances, most glaringly from Raheem Sterling.

Chelsea laboured to find a way back, but as so often this season failed to find the key pass in the final third, with Cole Palmer noticeably out of sorts.

Then in stoppage time and with the visitors committed forward, Wolves broke and Hugo Bueno crossed for Doherty to take advantage of a poor clearance to slam home a second.

Substitute Christopher Nkunku headed his first Chelsea goal in the dying minutes, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side slipped to a third away league defeat on the spin.

Armando Broja spurned the game’s first opening. After Sterling fed Malo Gusto down the right, his low cross into the box arrived perfectly at the foot of the Albanian, playing as a lone striker with Nicolas Jackson moved to the wing. Looking to shoot first time, Broja kicked at fresh air and the chance was gone.

Sterling was Chelsea’s clearest danger in the first half, running at Wolves down either flank and pitching inviting deliveries. The best of them fell to Jackson who had found space, but as the ball dropped, his touch failed to match his movement and the pass squirmed beneath his foot and away.

After half an hour, it was the turn of his team-mates to vent their anger towards the England international. Sterling did brilliantly to harry and dispossess Joao Gomes, Wolves’ last man, who dithered on the ball deep in his own half. With the defence stranded upfield, Sterling advanced on goal with Jackson and Palmer wide open beside him. Either player would have had a tap-in; instead, Sterling inexplicably went alone and hit a weak shot straight at Jose Sa.

Wolves’ best chances of the half came in the closing seconds, first when Sarabia fired just wide from the edge of the box via a deflection, then Hee Chan Hwang raced clear of Levi Colwill from a ball over the top and lashed over.

They began the second half with similar urgency, Gomes hitting a shot that nicked off Lesley Ugochukwu and grazed the post before defender Toti got forward from the back and drew an outstanding point-blank save from Chelsea’s stand-in goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

It was a warning the visitors did not heed and the goal moments later was an almost carbon copy of Toti’s chance. Sarabia’s corner dropped into the heart of the Chelsea penalty area, but despite the obvious danger no one in blue jumped or moved to attack the ball.

That left Lemina with a simple header, climbing above the grounded Ugochukwu to nod towards the back post and in beyond the stranded Petrovic.

Pochettino sent on Nkunku for his Premier League debut, with the ineffectual Broja departing. He nearly offered Chelsea instant reprieve, denied on the goal line by Toti, who gratefully booted clear.

Sterling then went close again, set up by Palmer on the right after Nkunku had picked him out only for an heroic last-ditch block from Craig Dawson diverting the ball over Sa’s crossbar. The balance of the game was tipping in Chelsea’s favour.

Their growing confidence led to their undoing. Three minutes into added time, Bueno broke down the left, Benoit Badiashile’s attempted clearance was atrocious and Doherty crashed it home to take the roof of Molineux.

Nkunku headed in from Sterling’s cross minutes later, but barely any Chelsea fans had stayed to see it.

Mauricio Pochettino called on the Premier League to reassess the way it schedules fixtures over the Christmas period to even out the time that teams have to recover.

Chelsea face Wolves at Molineux on Christmas Eve before welcoming Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge three days later.

Palace, by contrast, will have had double the recovery time having most recently played six days earlier on December 21 against Brighton.

Gary O’Neil’s side will also have enjoyed two extra recovery days compared with Pochettino’s team, with Chelsea having been in action against Newcastle in their Carabao Cup quarter-final on Tuesday.

The Blues will have played a total of eight games in December by the time they sign off 2023 with a game away at Luton on December 30.

Pochettino was asked whether he believed too much was expected of players over the festive period, but insisted that his priority was every team being given equitable time to recover between fixtures.

“The problem is the difference between the teams,” he said. “If we all play on the 24th or we all play on the 27th, we are in the same circumstance.

“But the problem is that one plays (on the 21st) another on the 27th. That is a big disadvantage or advantage. But I don’t complain.

“The problem is to organise the situation better, because it’s not fair. It’s not to make an excuse, not to open the umbrella before the rain.

“But come on, it’s a fact. It’s the reality.”

The manager reiterated his call for patience with summer signing Christopher Nkunku after he made a long-awaited debut during Tuesday’s quarter-final win.

The 26-year-old performed well on Chelsea’s pre-season United States tour before picking up a knee injury which required surgery.

Since then, the team have signed Cole Palmer from Manchester City, who can occupy similar positions in the final third of the pitch as Nkunku, whilst Pochettino has also gained more of a sense of his favoured starting XI and style.

“I don’t see him in a different way, only that after his injury he is a different player than before, because of the form today,” said the manager.

“Maybe in some positions it’s going to be tough for him to cope with the demands. You will see in the future.

“I’m not going to put pressure on him. I’m so happy that he made his debut against Newcastle. We’re going to push him, to help him to perform better every day.

“He needs to be clever also to understand that he needs to push himself. He needs to make a double effort, double in everything. He needs to make an impact.

“In the long term, he’s going to be important for the club and for the team.”

West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen is relishing their hectic schedule and urged his team-mates to make the most of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at Liverpool.

The Hammers’ made it seven wins in nine matches with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Wolves on Sunday after Bowen struck late on following a first-half brace by Mohammed Kudus.

David Moyes’ side are in the middle of a three-week period where they play seven times and next up is a midweek trip to Anfield with a semi-final berth on the line.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Carabao Cup (@thecarabaocup)


“It’s an exciting time. As a player, you want to be in as many competitions as possible,” top-goalscorer Bowen said.

“We’ve got a chance now on Wednesday night to get a place in the Carabao Cup semi-final and then we play Manchester United on Saturday too.

“That will be another tasty game and there’s a lot to look forward to. We’re glad we got the win. It moves us up the table and it makes things interesting over the Christmas period.”

West Ham moved up to eighth after Sunday’s result, which was inspired by their versatile attacking trio.

Lucas Paqueta created each goal against Wolves, finding Kudus for his 25-yard opener midway through the first half before he played in the summer recruit for his second in the 32nd minute.

Bowen rounded off the scoring after he collected Paqueta’s pass and it left boss David Moyes’ purring about his Brazilian playmaker.

Moyes added: “That is what Lucas Paqueta can do for us. I’m pulling my hair out half the time and the other part of it I’m celebrating because he can make passes that other people can’t see and don’t make.

“He’s a special player. I’ve not had huge amounts of special players with that individual talent. So, there’s a little bit of leeway we have to give him.

“I’m not someone who likes giving too much leeway to any of my players. I like to treat them all fairly but as I’ve got a bit older, I’ve realised that when you have that talent, you have to let them flourish.

“But I have to say as well, his work-rate for the team over recent months has been excellent.”

Bowen concluded: “We’re just playing with freedom and we have a real understanding me, Mo (Kudus) and Lucas.

“There were times when Mo was up front and I was out on the wing. Then times I was up front and Mo on the wing.

“That is the quality the three of us have, we can play with flexibility and on the training pitch it is the same. We all love playing together.”

Wolves head coach Gary O’Neil provided a positive injury update ahead of their Christmas Eve clash with Chelsea.

He said: “The good news is Rayan (Ait-Nouri) got through 25 minutes, Pedro (Neto) is nearly back and hopefully Jose Sa’s shoulder is not too serious.

“Disappointed (with the result) but still really positive around where we can get to and hopefully the turnaround we’ll see soon with some players back.”

David Moyes paid tribute to West Ham’s two-goal hero Mohammed Kudus after their 3-0 win over Wolves and admitted his upcoming absence will be “a huge blow”.

Kudus will link up with Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations next month and could miss up to nine matches if the Hammers continue to progress in both domestic cup competitions.

The £38million summer recruit took his goal tally for West Ham to nine with a classy first-half brace that set the hosts on their way to a comprehensive seventh victory from their last nine games.

“One of the radio (journalists) said, ‘How hard is Kudus working, how hard defensively is he doing the work,’ and I have to say Kudus is doing all the work for us as well,” Moyes said.

“A really good boy to work with and obviously his goals and assists are really the things that are standing out.

“It is a huge blow (to lose him) because he scores goals and makes goals. We’re going to have to find other ways.

“I have to say, we will hugely miss him.”

Kudus rifled home from 25 yards with his left foot in the 22nd minute after collecting Lucas Paqueta’s pass following a Wolves corner before he doubled his tally 10 minutes later.

Another counter-attack saw Paqueta’s through-ball left by Jarrod Bowen and Kudus collected the pass before he raced into the area and side-footed into the corner.

Bowen wrapped up the result with a smart low finish in the 74th minute to move into double figures for the season, but Wolves were left to rue Pablo Sarabia’s 58th-minute effort being ruled out.

A slick team move ended with Nelson Semedo finding Sarabia for a simple tap-in. However, VAR Jarred Gillett eventually decided the visiting attacker had been marginally offside following a three-minute check.

Moyes said: “A marginal VAR decision went in our favour and this is what happens in the Premier League. It could have turned in Wolves favour.

“They had started the second half much better and we didn’t, but that decision went for us and from that we got another counter-attack moment and were able to punish them.”

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil cut a frustrated figure throughout the 3-0 loss and, while he had little complaint over the decision to rule out Sarabia’s effort, he did express his bemusement at some of Vladimir Coufal’s challenges.

Coufal caught Jean-Ricner Bellegarde with a blow to the face at the end of the first half but avoided a yellow card before he did eventually get cautioned late on for a poor tackle on the same player.

O’Neil said: “Over the course of the game, I think his (Coufal) challenges warrant two yellows at least.

“I think the fact he wasn’t even booked for the one in the first half was strange.

“I don’t want to complain about the officials or VAR because it seemed all fine and it’s not what I’m here to do.

“Just disappointed the goal is deemed fractionally offside. Hard to tell and obviously we have to trust the fact the lines are correct, even though I will be pleased when they bring in the (semi) automated ones.

“Live it looked maybe just about offside, but disappointing because it was a big moment and a fantastic move.”

A first-half brace from Mohammed Kudus helped West Ham make it seven wins from nine matches with a 3-0 victory over Wolves.

Summer recruit Kudus scored against Freiburg on Thursday to help David Moyes’ team top their Europa League group and this latest result was further evidence the recent thrashing at Fulham was an anomaly.

Kudus’ third and fourth goals in his last five matches set West Ham on their way and, while Wolves attacker Pablo Sarabia had a 58th-minute effort ruled out for a marginal offside by VAR Jarred Gillett, the hosts deserved their victory, with Jarrod Bowen rounding off the scoring 16 minutes from time.

Moyes again made minimal changes from their midweek win, but the visitors were without number one Jose Sa due to a shoulder injury.

Back-up goalkeeper Dan Bentley was thrust into action and tipped over a Bowen delivery from one of the three corners won by the home side early on.

Matheus Cunha tested Hammers keeper Lukas Fabianski with a snapshot in the 12th minute, but it was West Ham doing most of the pressing.

Lucas Paqueta arrowed an effort wide before a 30-yard free kick by James Ward-Prowse was comfortable for Bentley.

Wolves ventured forward to force their first corner after 22 minutes, but, in an unfortunate twist of fate, it contributed towards West Ham’s opener.

After Craig Dawson’s flick-on was cleared by Emerson, Moyes’ side broke at pace and Paqueta found Kudus, who carried the ball before he cut inside and rifled home with his left foot from 25 yards.

It was a deserved breakthrough and, while Gary O’Neil’s team set about trying to restore parity, with Fabianski tipping wide Cunha’s curler before Jean-Ricner Bellegarde had a shot blocked, they were undone again in the 32nd minute.

Kurt Zouma intercepted Mario Lemina’s pass and within seconds a Paqueta through-ball which was left by Bowen allowed Kudus another sight at goal, with the former Ajax attacker able to slot home with his right foot.

Wolves had been punished for losing their shape twice before a frantic period ahead of half-time saw Bowen’s low strike hit a post and a flurry of cautions handed out.

O’Neil received a yellow card himself, not long after West Ham full-back Vladimir Coufal escaped punishment for catching Bellegarde with his arm, to compound a miserable first 45 minutes for the away side.

The visitors’ intent after the break was much improved and, after Hwang Hee-chan had a shot deflected wide, they thought they had reduced deficit in the 58th minute when Sarabia tapped home.

Yet O’Neil’s mood quickly returned to frustration when a three-minute VAR check deemed Sarabia had been marginally offside from Nelson Semedo’s cross.

It denied Wolves’ a superb team goal and, while they regrouped admirably as Cunha and Lemina fired off target soon after, West Ham hit them with a sucker-punch in the 74th minute.

Bowen exchanged passes with Paqueta and put on the afterburners to speed past Dawson before he tucked his finish into the corner for his 10th goal of the season.

Boss Steve Cooper praised his battling Nottingham Forest side for ignoring the “sideshow” of his future to claim a point at Wolves.

Cooper was reportedly on the brink of the sack after Wednesday’s 5-0 mauling at Fulham but Forest earned a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

Matheus Cunha cancelled out Harry Toffolo’s opener and Toffolo missed a golden second-half chance to win it.

It was a deserved point and Cooper, celebrating his 44th birthday on Sunday, was cheered off by the visiting fans at full-time.

He said: “I’m not going to lose sight of how much progress we have made, regardless what people want to write. I stay true to myself, represent the club and the city in the best way and stay on task.

“I’ve been here before. It doesn’t go into my mind, the only thing is the hurt after Fulham and how can we put a little bit of that right? The only thing which is important to me is the continued progression of the club. There’s no one person more important.

“I’m really proud of the team, the spirit, togetherness. If you look at the game in isolation, satisfying and fairly positive. If you add into the sideshows which might be going on – especially after Fulham – the players had two ways, to play with fear and hide, or to play with spirt, personality and quality.

“I said to the players just keep going, we know who we are. There will be ups and downs, we’ve had a few too many recently. It will be a rocky road, I believe we will progress this year.

“In normal circumstances it would be a positive day in terms of performance away from home but we’re disappointed with the chances we’ve missed and not winning the game.

“I’m really disappointed with the throw-in decision before their goal, it couldn’t be any worse of a basic human error. They need to do better.”

Toffolo gave Forest the lead after 14 minutes when he headed in Neco Williams’ excellent cross, despite Craig Dawson’s best attempts to clear off the line.

But the visitors failed to build on their lead and allowed Wolves a route back. The hosts dominated first-half possession and found a way through after 32 minutes.

A penetrating move saw Nelson Semedo and Mario Lemina combine to slip in Pablo Sarabia. He cut the ball back for the arriving Cunha to roll in his fifth goal of the season.

Forest would have gone into the break ahead if Cheikhou Kouyate had not shot too close to Jose Sa, after seizing on Max Kilman’s mistake.

The visitors emerged for the second half with more intent and Toffolo should have won it after 69 minutes but headed Williams’ cross over from close range.

Forest still needed Matt Turner to save from Cunha as Wolves extended their own unbeaten home run to six games.

“It would have been a real catastrophe if we hadn’t sealed a point at least,” said boss Gary O’Neil, with Wolves 12th in the Premier League.

“It was a tough game, to go 1-0 down against a team who were here to play very deep. It played into their hands. We responded pretty well and scored a really good goal.

“In the second half we lost our way probably. I leave slightly disappointed, we were trying to get more and we didn’t manage to test them as much as I’d have liked.

“Four points from the three games this week is a good return and 19 points so far is also a good return.”

Nottingham Forest stopped the rot with a battling point at Wolves to give Steve Cooper an early birthday present in the fight for his job.

The under-fire Forest boss, who turns 44 on Sunday, saw his side scrap to a deserved 1-1 draw to end a run of four straight defeats.

Harry Toffolo headed in the opener only for Matheus Cunha to level in the first half at Molineux.

Toffolo missed a fine second-half chance to win it but Forest at least claimed a first away point in two months.

It kept them 16th, five points above the Premier League’s relegation zone, while Wolves sit 12th after stretching their unbeaten home run to six.

Wednesday’s 5-0 thumping at Fulham had pushed Cooper closer to the brink at Forest, with former Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui a contender to replace him.

Defeat at Molineux would reportedly cost him his job and Forest fans unveiled a flag of the boss in support before the game – and they had more to celebrate after 14 minutes.

Cheikhou Kouyate initially won the ball in midfield and, after swapping passes with Morgan Gibbs-White, found Neco Williams on the right.

His excellent delivery reached Toffolo at the far post and the defender’s downward header beat Jose Sa and Craig Dawson’s desperate attempt to clear on the line.

Forest had something to cling to. Cooper had made seven changes from the hammering at Craven Cottage and the much-changed visitors were prepared to dig in and frustrate Wolves.

The hosts pressed with little initial impact, bossing possession, with only Cunha’s tame effort to show for their efforts – until the forward levelled after 32 minutes.

An incisive move cut through Forest with Nelson Semedo and Mario Lemina involved before Pablo Sarabia was slipped in to cut back for Cunha, who steered in his fifth goal of the season from six yards.

Forest’s ambition had seemingly been to protect their lead but, with parity restored, they needed to some more attacking impetus – which only arrived when Wolves gifted them an opening just before the break.

Kouyate seized on Max Kilman’s dawdling and was suddenly clean through but his low shot was saved by Sa’s outstretched leg.

Before that, Wolves had continued to probe without further success and Forest emerged for the second half with the momentum which previously eluded them.

Anthony Elanga rattled the bar from close range, although the flag went up almost immediately, and Cooper’s frustrations boiled over with the boss booked after a decision went against his side.

His mood would have darkened further when Toffolo missed a golden chance to restore Forest’s lead after 69 minutes.

Williams dispossessed Matt Doherty and sent in another excellent delivery only for Toffolo to head over from three yards, to leave Cooper with his head in his hands.

It would have got worse had Matt Turner not saved Cunha’s shot after the striker bundled his way through with 15 minutes left. But, with a point in the bag, Cooper left the pitch being serenaded by the travelling supporters at the end.

The latest round of Premier League fixtures brings the respective battles at both ends of the table into sharp focus.

Leaders Arsenal go head-to-head with surprise package Aston Villa and reigning champions Manchester City attempt to end a rare barren period at the top, while, towards the foot, Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper finds himself in the limelight for the wrong reasons.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding the weekend’s games.

Familiar face

Mikel Arteta may not be pitch-side at Aston Villa on Saturday as he serves a touchline ban, but another Spaniard who is well known to Arsenal will be. Unai Emery was in charge at the Emirates Stadium between May 2018 and November 2019, when the Gunners dispensed with his services after a disappointing run of results. Emery returned to England in October last year and has since guided Villa into the top three, just four points adrift of his former employers at the top of the table and a genuine threat on home soil.

Timing is everything


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Luton Town Football Club (@lutontown)


When Luton secured their promotion to the Premier League via last season’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final, their fans were able to dream of the days when English football’s aristocrats would head for Kenilworth Road. They could be forgiven for watching through their fingers when Manchester City make the trip on Sunday. City, for the first time in seven years, have not won in four league games, but the Hatters have managed only two top-flight victories all season. Few will give the hosts much chance of improving on that statistic this weekend.

Away the lads


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Newcastle United FC (@nufc)


Newcastle travel to Tottenham on Sunday desperately searching for form away from St James’ Park. The Magpies, who won eight times on the road last season as they surged to a fourth-place finish, have collected three points away from Tyneside only once in seven attempts so far this season, courtesy of an 8-0 drubbing of Sheffield United. Spurs have lost their last three games on their own pitch to Chelsea, Aston Villa and West Ham. Something seemingly has to give.

Everton back in business

Everton’s response to the 10-point penalty which has left them fighting for their top-flight lives has been hugely impressive. Thursday night’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle – their fourth in six league outings – lifted them out of the bottom three and proved the perfect preparation for Chelsea’s visit to Goodison Park on Sunday. The Blues currently lie in 10th place with 19 points, one fewer than the total the Toffees would have had but for their punishment.

Cooper over a barrel?

Spare a thought for Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper. He has bullishly played down suggestions he could be out of a job if Forest lose a fifth successive league game when they head for Wolves on Saturday. The Welshman guided the club back into the Premier League at the end of the 2021-22 campaign and kept them there last season with four points to spare, the same margin they currently enjoy over the bottom three.

Glenn Hoddle was appointed manager of Wolves on this day in 2004 .

The former England boss had been out of a job since leaving Tottenham in September 2003 and had previous managerial experience with Swindon, Chelsea and Southampton.

Hoddle took charge, succeeding manager Dave Jones for a second time having previously replaced him at Southampton.

Jones was sacked at the start of November following the club’s relegation to the Championship and a miserable start to the new season saw them languishing in 17th when Hoddle took over.

“I’m delighted to be here. I saw the massive potential Wolverhampton have got; their ambition paralleled my thoughts,” Hoddle said.

“Wolves are a Premiership outfit with the fan base and ambition – they’ve already had a taste, and it’s very clear to me that is where they want to be put back again.

“It’s a very big challenge. We’re not sitting on top of the league – there’s a lot of work to be done.

“That (the Premier League) is where everybody at this club wants to go. I picked that up very quickly, and that’s where I want to go. I’m delighted to be back in football as well.”

Hoddle steered the club to a ninth-placed finish in the 2004-05 season, but Wolves missed out on the play-offs by eight points the following season with a seventh-placed finish.

He resigned as manager in July 2006 and it remains his last job in management, excluding a short spell as coach at QPR under Harry Redknapp in 2014-15.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.