Aston Villa 4 Wolves 1: Steve Bruce's team tear apart Championship leaders to move within four points of automatic promotion places

And it left boss Nuno Espirito Santo nursing yet another wobble as their seemingly unstoppable march to the title ground to a shuddering halt at Villa Park.

The talk leading into the game centred on Wolves’ use of super agent Jorge Mendes and his Molineux connections.

But Villa made a mockery of that as Nuno’s men faded badly.

Wolves transfer business counted for nothing on a day when they were very much second best to their West Midlands rivals – and now Nuno is looking over his shoulder yet again.

Cardiff are now just three points behind the league leaders – and Wolves are seven ahead of third placed Villa.

Villa’s excellent second half display sealed the points after Diogo Jota had cancelled out an Albert Adomah opener.

Bruce may have gone into the game saying he was ‘envious’ of Wolves’ signings.

But he had no need to here as his players took star billing to leave Wolves looking shellshocked.

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But Bruce’s men eased clear of their Midlands rivals after the break – with fit again Jack Grealish pulling the strings.

James Chester made it two before Grabban found the net again before a wonder goal from Icelandic sub Birkir Bjarnasson who beat three players before delivering a pinpoint shot with six minutes left to give Ruddy no chance.

And that was enough to allow the Villa bench to relax – and take the Mickey out of the trademark wild celebrations from the Wolves bench that Bruce made it clear before the game he had no time for.

It made it 10 wins out of 12 for Villa who are now closing in on the automatic slots.


Villa made the ideal start but were pegged back 13 minutes later.

Bruce’s side attacked the Holte End and went ahead after eight minutes.

Adomah scrambled the ball home from close range for his 15th goal of the season when Wolves skipper Danny Batth failed to clear a Mile Jedinak header from Rob Snodgrass’s corner.

Wolves had made a slow start but it did not take them long to get into their stride.

John Terry had to hastily clear from a Matt Doherty pull back.

And it was wing back Doherty who was the architect of the Wolves equaliser after 20 minutes – although a series of defensive errors from Villa gave a helping hand.

Doherty eased past left-back Neil Taylor and his cross was missed by Terry. James Chester got a foot to it but that only wrong-footed keeper Sam Johnstone – and Jota forced the ball home past Ahmed Elmohamedy.

But it was a case of Jota tormenting Villa again after he scored one and made one as Wolves won this fixture in October to go top of the table,

Wolves looked the better side for a while but the game turned scrappy before the break.

Jota, Adomah and Baath were all booked. But Batth was within inches of making it two for Wolves when he just failed to connect with a Barry Douglas cross.

But Villa were ahead again after 57 minutes – from another Snodgrass inspired setpiece.

The Villa wide man was fouled by the returning Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.

Snodgrass took the resulting free-kick and Chester attacked the ball, sticking out a foot to steer the ball past keeper John Ruddy.

Villa Park erupted again four minutes later when in-form Grabban made it three.

Grealish fed Adomah on the left and he subtly delayed his cross to the near post where Grabban was on hand to poach yet another goal.

That was enough to worry Wolves boss Nuno who made a double substitution after 67 minutes with Benik Afobe and Romain Saiss coming on.

Conor Coady then scythed down Snodgrass with a sliding tackle that earned him a yellow card from ref David Coote.

It made a tally of eight yellow cards – with Wolves collecting five of them.

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