Stoppage-time goals from Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina saw Wolves produce a stunning late comeback to beat a depleted Tottenham 2-1 at Molinuex.
The damage from Spurs’ stunning 4-1 defeat at home to Chelsea on Monday was laid bare at Molineux, with Ange Postecoglou forced into four changes thanks to the suspensions of Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie and the long-term injuries to James Maddison and Micky van de Ven.
It looked as though the absences of those key players wouldn’t affect Spurs, who raced ahead inside three minutes thanks to Brennan Johnson’s first goal for the club.
But that was as good as it got for Spurs, who were subdued throughout and saw Wolves miss several chances before Pablo Sarabia volleyed a leveller past Guglielmo Vicario in the 91st minute.
The Spaniard then set up Lemina for the winner in the 97th minute, seeing Spurs slip to their second straight defeat and miss the chance to replace Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Wolves: Sa (6), Kilman (7), Dawson (7), Toti (8), Semedo (6), Bellegarde (6), Lemina (7), Gomes (7), Ait-Nouri (6), Hwang (6), Cunha (7).
Subs: Doherty (6), Kalajdzic (6), Sarabia (8), Doyle (6).
Tottenham: Vicario (6), Porro (6), Dier (5), Davies (6), Royal (6), Hojbjerg (6), Bissouma (6), Sarr (6), Kulusevski (5), Son (5), Johnson (7).
Subs: Bentancur (6), Gil (6), Lo Celso (6).
Player of the match: Pablo Sarabia
How Wolves undermined Spurs’ title credentials
Life had been plain sailing for Postecoglou before this week, with Spurs setting the pace at the top of the Premier League and remaining unbeaten in their first 10 games.
But the first bumps in the road all came at once on Monday, with four key players becoming unavailable and an emphatic first defeat handed to Postecoglou and his side.
- Wolves: Jean-Ricner Bellegarde and Joao Gomes came into the side, with Tommy Doyle and Sasa Kalajdzic dropping to the bench
- Spurs: Injured pair James Maddison and Micky van de Ven were replaced by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Eric Dier, while Emerson Royal and Ben Davies came in for the suspended Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie
As a result, the trip to Wolves looked to be an interesting test for Spurs – both of the depth of their squad and their ability to bounce back from adversity.
They looked to be passing that test during the opening exchanges, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Emerson Royal, Eric Dier and Ben Davies slotting into the team and Johnson putting his side ahead from Pedro Porro’s low pass.
But Spurs took more than 40 minutes to register their next shot and only remained level thanks to Vicario’s sharp low save from Lemina, while Davies bailed out Dier’s mistake by blocking Rayan Ait-Nouri’s dangerous effort.
The pattern of the game remained unchanged after half-time, with Spurs unable to assert any control but Wolves unable to show any quality in the final third.
Vicario was largely unchallenged, with Hee-Chan Hwang and Matheus Cunha both putting good chances wide.
But Sarabia’s introduction from the bench in the 87th minute changed the game, with the former Paris Saint-Germain winger scoring just four minutes later as he volleyed in Cunha’s pass.
And the 31-year-old wasn’t done there, next popping up on the opposite wing in the dying seconds to thread a ball into the onrushing Lemina, who poked a finish past Vicario.
The goal sparked wild celebrations at Molineux – and poses real questions about Spurs’ credibility as title challengers.
Ange: We ran out of steam
Postecoglou admitted Spurs lacked fluency due to the changes he was forced to make to his starting XI, saying: “We started well but we could have been a little bit more positive and aggressive with the ball.
“We made so many changes so we’re not going to get the same sort of fluency. The second half I thought wasn’t too bad.
“Maybe because we were winning the game and a lot of those guys haven’t played that many games, there was a bit of self-preservation – just get through to the end. It’s understandable.”
Asked about the mood in the Spurs dressing room after back-to-back defeats, the manager said: “Disappointed, obviously. It’s part of the pain in football. You’ve just got to take it.
“I can’t fault the players’ effort or their commitment. It was always going to be a tough game and we couldn’t hold out.”
Opta stats: Spurs suffer late heartbreak again
- Wolves’ win is just the eighth time a side has won a Premier League game having trailed going into the 90th minute, with Tottenham the only side to lose more than once (also against Everton in December 2012).
- This is the first time Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou has lost successive games as a manager in all competitions since doing so with Celtic in September 2021 in the Europa League and Scottish Premiership.
- Wolves have conceded the opening goal in each of their last four Premier League games, though have only gone on to lose one of those games (W2 D1).
- Brennan Johnson scored his first Premier League goal for Tottenham, and only his second goal away from home in the competition after netting against Everton at Goodison Park in August 2022, which was his first ever top-flight goal.
After the international break, Wolves are back in action on Monday November 27. They travel to Fulham on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.
Meanwhile, Spurs play on Sunday November 26 when they host Aston Villa on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 2pm.