Amidst a backdrop of complaints to the EFL and FA about Wolves, a potentially pivotal run of four fixtures in ten days started with Leeds away, and an opportunity to break the longest streak of the season without a win – three games.
Cardiff had closed the gap at the top of the league to just three points with a win the previous evening, so Wolves were under pressure at kick off to get a positive result.
An excellent performance from start to finish, with goals from Romain Saiss, Willy Boly and a first goal for Benik Afobe in his loan spell from Bournemouth resulted in a fully deserved 3-0 win. But for the efforts of Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the Leeds goal and several missed chances, the scoreline and margin of victory would surely have been even more convincing.
Wolves seemed to have their energy back, and controlled the game from start to finish in a welcome return to form – the basics on which the season has been built were back in evidence as they looked after the ball, keeping control of the game with quality possession and a good shape.
All of this appeared to be a promising sign ahead of the visit to Aston Villa on Saturday for the late kick off. A first half that was fairly even saw Adomah (who continued to cause problems for Danny Batth all evening) give Villa the lead, before Diogo Jota deservedly levelled for Wolves after brilliant work from Matt Doherty, leaving the game well poised at 1-1 as half time came.
Unfortunately for Wolves, two goals in quick succession from Chester and Grabban gave Aston Villa a 3-1 lead which was to prove critical as Wolves struggled to get into the second half. A Ruben Neves free kick which appeared to be handled in the penalty area may have provided an outside chance of getting back into the game, but with Bjarnasson adding a fourth goal late on the hosts ran out deserved victors – a clinical performance in attack (four goals from four shots on target) was too much for Wolves to deal with.
All of which leaves two home games this week – against Reading and Burton – and surely two wins are vital to Wolves chances of remaining in control of the promotion race. maximum points from these games would have the league leaders on 82 points with eight games remaining, and realistically around ten points from securing promotion.
Plenty of twists and turns lie ahead in the remaining seven weeks of the season, and with Cardiff, Aston Villa and Fulham all in good form and chasing hard Wolves will be under pressure to perform well and get the results needed to secure promotion back to the Premier League.