Bruno Lage’s wait for his first point and Premier League goal at Molineux continued after Wolverhampton Wanderers lost 2-0 against newly-promoted Brentford.
Following the first league win of the season away at Watford last week, Lage would have hoped his side would have built on the momentum gained and made it back-to-back wins against promoted sides.
But that was far from the case. Wolves produced a sloppy performance and didn’t have the attacking impetus they’ve showcased during the early stages of the new campaign.
Lage’s side now sit 16th in the table, one point above the relegation zone.
It was a difficult afternoon against Thomas Frank’s side and Wolves’ backline never got to grips with Ivan Toney.
Ivan Toney dominates Wolves
The sheer presence of Toney was enough to radiate panic across Wolves’ defence. The striker won a first-half penalty after being man-handled to the ground by Marcal, before rising to his feet and coolly slotting the ball home from the spot to break the deadlock.
Six minutes later, Toney was able to shrug off a weak challenge from Max Kilman and then had the composure and vision to pick out strike partner Bryan Mbeumo, who made it 2-0.
Wolves’ defenders seemed at a loss of how to stop Toney, who won more duels (21) and more aerial battles (eight) than any other player on the field (BBC Sport).
It was clear that Wolves didn’t want to get too tight to Toney due to the threat of being bullied or being outpaced, but this allowed the striker more time on the ball due to defenders retreating.
Toney showed that his game is much more than physical attributes, but he can also create chances for his teammates and link up the play. He made more passes in the opposition half (22) than any of his outfield team-mates (BBC Sport).
Wolves were ‘frightened to death’ of Toney
Speaking on last night’s Match of the Day, former England international and Premier League winner Martin Keown spoke in glowing terms about Toney but not so much about Wolves’ defence.
Keown said: “He (Toney) caused real problems. They (Wolves) were frightened to death of him.”
The former centre-back described Marcal’s close marking on Toney as a ‘high tackle in rugby, let alone football’, but he felt the left wing-back made the reckless challenge out of ‘fear’ due to the threat Toney posed.
Wolves fans will hope that the performance against Brentford was a one off, but our defenders will need to show a greater physical authority when playing against other strikers.