Cynical Bournemouth ignite the fight for survival at Wolves

Cynical Bournemouth ignite the fight for survival at Wolves… their victory ensures the most exhilarating story in European football this season will be the race to avoid the drop in the Premier League

  • Bournemouth sprung something of a surprise with their 1-0 victory at Wolves
  • The visitors made the most of a poor performance from the referee
  • Tough tests lie in wait but the win gives Bournemouth hope they can stay up 

Forget the title race. Nothing in top-level European football comes close to matching the fight for Premier League survival this year.

This time there is no comfort blanket. No hapless Norwich City to let the other 19 clubs breathe a little easier. Only 10 points separate bottom-of-the-table Southampton from Aston Villa in 11th. No wonder they were all so desperate to strengthen in January.

Had Wolves won here and Chelsea overcome Southampton, the rest might have started to feel more comfortable. Not now — not after Gary O’Neil’s boys threw a spanner in the works.

Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui understands the task ahead and believes his team need at least 17 more points to stay up.

He said: ‘When I arrived, we were bottom of the table and now we are in the middle of the fight. We have to get to 40 points. Now we are sad but tomorrow we have to be balanced. It will be a long hard race for a lot of teams.’

Bournemouth’s win at Wolves ignited their survival hopes as they bid to retain their top-flight status

Their win meant they ended the day out of the bottom three but there is little respite 


Wolves (4-2-3-1): Sa 6; Semedo 6, Dawson 6.5, Kilman 7, Bueno 7 (Ait-Nouri 62min, 6); Nunes 5 (Podence 62, 6), Neves 7; Traore 7.5 (Jimenez 77), Moutinho 6.5 (Gomes 70, 6), Sarabia 6; Cunha 5 (Costa 70, 6). 

Booked: Ait-Nouri, Gomes, Sarabia. 

Manager: Julen Lopetegui 6.

Bournemouth (4-4-1-1): Neto 7; Smith 7.5, STEPHENS 9, Senesi 8, Zemura 6 (Vina 85); Ouattara 5 (Semenyo 58, 6.5), Lerma 5.5 (Rothwell 46, 6.5), Billing 7, Tavernier 6.5 (Anthony 57, 6.5); Traore 7 (Mepham 81); Solanke 6.5. 

Scorer: Tavernier 49. 

Booked: Billing, Smith, Senesi. 

Manager: Gary O’Neil 6.5.

Referee: Michael Salisbury 4. 

Attendance: 31,222.

Bournemouth’s win meant they ended Saturday out of the bottom three but there is little respite for the Cherries, with their next games against Manchester City and Arsenal. As they scrap for their lives, O’Neil’s men made it clear at Molineux that they will go to any lengths to gain an advantage.

The visitors made the most of a bumbling performance from referee Michael Salisbury to slow the game down wherever they could. As gamesmanship goes, it was grim.

‘Maybe it felt like we were trying to see the game out but that wasn’t the case — they were genuine situations,’ insisted O’Neil.

Come off it, Gary. But if it keeps Bournemouth in the top flight and him in a job, O’Neil will feel it is justified. In the meantime, everyone else in the bottom half will feel a little more anxious.

Wolves were frustrated by Bournemouth’s gamesmanship and handed a heavy reality check

Julen Lopetegui said that it will be a ‘long, hard race’ for the teams towards the bottom

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