Leeds United 0 Wolves 3

Given the circumstances, this must go down as the most impressive victory of the season.

Sure, Leeds were dire but Wolves exploited that weakness to the maximum and controlled the entire game.

If there were jitters after a series of results that saw the hunting pack pick up the trail it was only evident through wasteful finishing in a first half that could have yielded several more goals than the two that were eventually registered.

Quite how Diogo Jota left Elland Road without scoring is still anyones guess. Another horror miss was so nearly wiped from the memory with that sizzling strike that thundered back off the bar but his all round game was certainly much improved.

Similar can be said of Bonatini. No goals – again – but impressive link up play that contributed to a really slick team performance.

Indeed, Benik Afobe, who did find the net with the type of pacy run in behind we’ve been lacking, said afterwards that the gaffer is all about ‘shape’ and ‘the team’ and never has that been more evident than here.

This was reminiscent of the early season form, dominating the ball and zipping it around while the opposition feebly attempt to work out what’s going on.

It was also a timely reminder, just when it was needed, of why this side find themselves in such a preferable position coming around the final bend.

Ruben Neves will be back for the last big push and assuming his automatic inclusion at the weekend, one of Romain Saiss and Alfred N’Diaye are about to suffer some grave misfortune.

They were both excellent last night and made consistent contributions in both boxes as Wolves took sole ownership of the midfield.

Danny Batth was back in at the expense of the similarly unfortunate Ryan Bennett and made a solid contribution.

Sure the odd aimless hoof down field looks painfully out of place surrounded by such esteemed company, but he dealt with everything without the ball and assisted the pivotal second goal.

Willy Boly scored it and along with Coady, Doherty and Douglas (who deserves special mention for consistently reliable set piece delivery) made John Ruddy redundant as the keeper collected yet another cleansheet.

It’s onto Villa Park and the opportunity, particularly in this type of form, to put one foot in the Premier League.

Bring it on.

Leeds United Vs Wolves Preview

I’ve done all my predictions to the end of the season for Wolves, Cardiff and Villa.

Even though Fulham are coming like the proverbial express train, I’ve discounted both them and Derby as being able to catch us on the basis that if they did, we’d have crumbled miserably anyway.

My estimates have Wolves on 98 points, Cardiff on 92 and Villa on 91.

The projection for Wolves is pretty modest too, with only three wins expected from the next eight games, but then a strong finish to see us over the line.

If it played out as per my guesswork, things will be getting fairly tense in the coming weeks so I’m hoping the lads will exceed expectations.

Leeds

I haven’t managed to speak to a Leeds fan, but I’d be keen to know why they’ve fallen away again after a strong start.

Was it injuries to key players? A manager lacking ideas? Or simply a team that just stopped performing?

I’m not sure Paul Heckingbottom is the man to get them where they want to be and his record to date of two defeats, two draws and one victory won’t be hoisting them up from midtable anytime soon.

But if you dissect those results in greater detail the former Barnsley manager has a had the toughest introduction possible.

Sheffield United, Derby and Middlesbrough away. Bristol City and Brentford at home. And now the league leaders.

It’s a tough ask, particularly at a club notorious for itchy trigger finger.

Wolves

Given that they haven’t played for a week and a half you’d hope for a high intensity performance, which is always a necessity at Elland Road.

We need more from our front three, whoever forms that combination. For me, only Cavaleiro can boast any sort of consistency of late.

Costa needs to rediscover that cutting edge that made him so potent last season and we haven’t seen the best of Jota for a good while. Perhaps the rest will have done the trick?

Predictions

Leeds have the home record of a midtable side with seven wins, five draws and five defeats. I don’t think there’s a huge amount to fear.

However, they have some good individuals and after getting spanked by Boro last Friday I would expect a response, particularly in a televised game.

I’d like to see us get four points from the next two games (I’ve only predicted one though) and I think this could be a draw.

1-1.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 4 Leeds United 1

It’s not often that a sky full of fireworks greet your arrival into Wolverhampton for the game, but such is the dazzling fare on show at Molineux these days that you’d think they’d been organised especially.

Something to do with the Christmas lights in Queen Square apparently, but if Nuno had have arranged them as a pyrotechnic precursor to the football then you wouldn’t have been surprised. A sign of things to come.

Everything else the great man touches generates similarly explosive results and at times during last night’s 4-1 drubbing – particularly in that first half-an-hour or so – I was more in awe of Cavaleiro and co as I was when the Roman Candles were going off.

Molineux was crackling under the night lights and only a handful of seats remained in the house before kick-off, primarily due to the traffic around Wolverhampton with those lights being switched on. Gunpowder in the air, gridlock around the city and for the first time in years, Wolves and its immediate surroundings feel positively aspirational.

From where we came and all those mind-numbing seasons which seemed to roll into one, the transformation has been quite astounding. Only a year or two back it was a former CEO of Stockport County no less – commissioned by Jez Moxey – to tell us that if we want success, we should think again.

‘We believe in much more than the results on a Saturday afternoon,’ Jez once said. ‘We believe in these young players. It is working. (as we sat somewhere in the region of 13th place).

‘If you say you will not renew your season ticket unless X, Y or Z, then that is not a relationship I would want with supporters.’

I shudder when I think back to those days of managed decline, when expectations were managed as if we were Proles in an Orwellian world. Now we get fireworks before a ball has been kicked!

It is precisely those M&M seasons of doom that this 4-1 victory – and all the others before – feels so difficult to comprehend because after years of footballing abuse, I feel like another kick is on its way. Another slap around the chops to bring me back down to earth. To midtable obscurity.

Like a liberated state, free from the clutches of repression, it feels like we’re breathing, living and dreaming again for the first time in years. Perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub!

Last night it was Leeds United and an accompanying bag of worry about their spritely front-line and an inevitable good result following a morale boosting win against ‘Boro at the weekend. Before that it was Villa, with a different bag of the same worry, who must surely knock us off our perch as they were so good on paper. And it was Villa, basically.

All attentions turn to Saturday and Bolton now. Maybe I’ll dust down a hessian bag of Trotter angst for their arrival too. They have always had the sign on us, broke my heart in 1995 and are showing signs of a revival under Parkinson.

Old habits die hard, I guess. After last night’s beautiful win – and the sum of Nuno’s drooling parts making a mesmerising whole – I should pack it in. Replace my ingrained pessimism with a more intoxicating brand of feels.

Let myself free. Fly on the wings of Cavaleiro, Jota, Neves and friends and enjoy this ride like the South Bank are doing. Live in the moment like those players last night and think positive thoughts.

No matter how many negative ones I put in the way of this phenomenal side, they keep kicking them away. In style, of course.