Adama Traore struck deep into stoppage-time to claim Wolves’ first Premier League win of the season and pile further misery on to West Ham with a 1-0 triumph.
A forgettable encounter at London Stadium appeared to be drifting towards a goalless draw before Carlos Sanchez dallied on the ball and had his pocket picked by Ruben Neves.
Livewire winger Traore had been on the periphery since his 62nd-minute introduction but Wolves’ record signing needed no second invitation to take centre-stage.
Michail Antonio and Marko Arnautovic drew fine saves from visiting goalkeeper Rui Patricio in an improved second-half showing from West Ham, but they remain rooted to the bottom of the table after four defeats out of four under Manuel Pellegrini.
GOAAAAAAAAAALLLL! ADAMA TRAORE GIVES WOLVES A LATE, LATE LEAD! pic.twitter.com/yaSPNtnx3H
— Wolves (@Wolves) September 1, 2018
Felipe Anderson forced Patricio into a fourth-minute save and the visitors’ panicked scramble to clear was out of keeping with their early control.
There was plenty of joy to be had down the West Ham left, with Matt Doherty forcing Lukasz Fabianski into a fine stop at his near post.
West Ham threatened sporadically – Robert Snodgrass firing into the side netting – but theirs was a ragged first-half showing.
Andriy Yarmolenko replaced Snodgrass at the break and Pellegrini’s tweak to 4-4-2 certainly unsettled Wolves.
Patricio did brilliantly to push away Antonio’s looping header when Yarmolenko dug out a 57th-minute cross.
Fabianski was off his line sharply to thwart substitute Leo Bonatini in the 73rd minute and had Jimenez to thank for wretched miskick when a goal seemed certain.
Patricio denied Arnautovic bravely at close quarters, taking a painful whack for his troubles, but Traore’s clinical strike made sure it was all worthwhile for the experienced Portugal international.
What it means: Winning runs required
A daunting list of forthcoming fixtures mean West Ham, for all their ambitious close-season investment, look set for another long, hard winter. Pellegrini is operating on the other side of a sojourn to the Chinese Super League and must show he has both the stomach and the tactical acumen for the fight. All seems rosy for Wolves, whose boss Nuno Espirito Santo will be glad of a win to go with their raft of deserved plaudits over recent weeks.
Pat on the back: Patricio shows class and experience again
For a team taking their first steps back in the Premier League, having a goalkeeper of Patricio’s vast top-level pedigree is proving vital to Wolves’ cause. Much like his flying save from Raheem Sterling last weekend, his stops to deny Antonio and Arnautovic showed a master of his craft at work
Boot up the backside: Jimenez leaves Wolves lacking bite
There will have been no man more relieved in black and gold than Mexico international Jimenez when the West Ham net rippled. His decision to play in Bonatini when he could see the whites of Fabianski’s eyes smacked of buck passing. His pitch to be part of a blooper compilation shortly afterwards perhaps explained why he took this course of action.
Key Opta stats:
– West Ham have lost their first four league games in a season for only the second time in their history and first since 2010-11 when they were relegated.
– Manuel Pellegrini is the first West Ham manager to lose his first four Premier League games in charge since Avram Grant.
– West Ham have lost three consecutive Premier League home games versus newly promoted sides for the first time.
– Wolves’ Adama Traore scored the club’s first ever 90th-minute match-winning goal in the Premier League.
– Traore scored his first league goal in 13 appearances, having not netted since March versus Brentford.
– Wolves ended their longest ever winless run in the top flight, having previously gone 17 games without a win in the Premier League.
4 – This is only the second time in their history that West Ham have lost their first four league games in a season (also 2010-11). Slump. pic.twitter.com/WROuWYKZpZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 1, 2018
West Ham travel to Everton after the international break and their next three home games are against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham. Wolves return to action at home to Burnley.
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