As the turkey leftovers are scraped into the slop bucket and the tired tinsel sags on the tree, trust Wolves to stay in the festive spirit as we all trudge back to work.
We don’t have to wish it’s Christmas every day, but just rock up at Molineux to see these golden greats in action and study the league table every day thereafter. (Then scroll through twitter to read that a Valencia striker could be putting pen to paper.)
There have been some mightily impressive wins in this relentless charge through the Championship, but this 3-0 scalp over a top Brentford side might just be the best of the lot. Ok, so it didn’t involve an orgasmic last gasp goal, but the Bees looked every inch a team with 33pts from their last 17 games, while we had every right to feel a little jaded after our Ashton Gate glory.
At half time, a point wouldn’t have been a bad return at all as the away side threatened to pass us into submission, even if we did create all the chances in a curious game to call. Ten points ahead of Derby and 12 clear of third wouldn’t sound so bad under the circumstances, would it?
Evidently it did to Nuno, who got the players in at half time and sent them back out to play in the style we’ve become accustomed. Brentford’s high press was suddenly nullified through a more carefree approach and Cavaleiro was again the game changer when he came on for Costa.
Before Brentford boss Dean Smith could blink, they were 2-0 down after two moments of unadulterated beauty. In any other season they’d have been goal of the month – if not season – contenders. But as we’re spoilt rotten with such jaw dropping quality, they tussle each other for best goal of the game award.
The away side, preparing for the wand of Douglas, were fooled when Neves stepped up for a free kick instead, whipping the ball into the roof of the South Bank net. If the left one doesn’t get you, the right one will.
Within what felt seconds it was game over. Cavaleiro, dancing round defenders, cutting this way and that before pulling a tantalising ball across the box for the onrushing Douglas. In a throwback to Mark Kennedy’s strike in that Newcastle FA Cup game of yesteryear, time stood still as the Scot strode towards the ball…and arced it high into the top corner in a moment of dizzying bliss.
It was two ruthless passages of play to underline why we’re now 12pts ahead of Derby and 14 clear of third. A clinical, cold kill on an unsuspecting opponent who were at their most vulnerable when they were feeling comfortable.
From there on, we kept the ball particularly well, used our width and won the ball back with aplomb when the Bees were beginning to swarm, as typified by Romain Saiss once more. Ruddy, a spectator behind the unflustered Boly, Coady and Bennett.
To add gloss to the scoreline, Diogo Jota bagged a late third whilst lying flat on his back and enjoyed a standing ovation when replaced.
The full time whistle felt like another belated Christmas present, as did the sight of the league table on every television screen in the concourse on the way home, where those Christmas decorations can stay where they are.