Cunha returns with a brace to deny Forest victory

13 Apr 2024
Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Gibbs-White haunts Wolves and Brazilian Cunha comes back from injury to score two goals as the points are shared at the City Ground

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Matheus Cunha scored twice as Wolverhampton Wanderers played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday.

Making his first Premier League start in over two months, Cunha put Wolves ahead with a fine solo effort, only for Morgan Gibbs-White to haunt his old club with a deserved equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

The topsy-turvy nature of the contest continued after the break, with Danilo tucking home to put Forest 2-1 up before Cunha punished some static set-piece defending from the hosts shortly after the hour mark.

Forest went closest to a winner, with everything going through Gibbs-White, but they had to settle for a draw that takes them one point clear of 18th-placed Luton Town as they continue their fight for safety. Despite drawing, Forest can take some comfort knowing that Burnley drew at home to Brighton & Hove Albion and Luton were comfortably beaten away to Manchester City.

The relegation battle

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
16 Brentford BRE 38 -9 39
17 Nott'm Forest NFO 38 -18 32
18 Luton LUT 38 -33 26
19 Burnley BUR 38 -37 24
20 Sheffield Utd SHU 38 -69 16
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How the match unfolded

Some calamitous Forest play almost gifted Wolves the lead after 27 minutes, as Ryan Yates passed straight to Joao Gomes inside his own area, but Murillo made a vital goalline clearance before Pablo Sarabia fired wide on the rebound.

Murillo's block on the line

Wolves did go ahead five minutes before half-time – Cunha collecting Jose Sa's throw out before wriggling between two Forest challenges and blasting a brilliant finish into the top-right corner.

That lead did not last long, though, with Gibbs-White meeting Giovanni Reyna's corner to send a header squirming past Sa before celebrating enthusiastically in front of his former fans.

Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Gibbs-White was involved again as Forest went ahead with 57 minutes on the clock. His bustling run into the box was stopped by Matt Doherty's tackle, but the ball dropped kindly for Danilo to prod home.

Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Yet like Forest in the first half, Wolves were back on terms within five further minutes – Cunha bundling over the line after taking advantage of Matz Sels' failure to gather Toti Gomes' header.

Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Danilo drew good stops from Sa as Forest pushed for a winner, but Nuno Espirito Santo was denied a victory over his former employers as Wolves stood firm.

Cunha back with a bang

Wolves have been forced to rely on teenagers Nathan Fraser and Leon Chiwome amid a spate of injuries to their first-choice attackers in recent weeks, even deploying wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri as a makeshift forward in their previous four games.

Their supporters, then, would have been delighted to see Cunha make his first start since early February on Saturday, having recovered from a hamstring injury quicker than expected.

He made an immediate impact, his two goals taking him to 11 in the Premier League this season and putting him ahead of Hwang Hee-chan with 10 goals as Wolves' leading scorer.

Six points adrift of the top seven in 11th place, Wolves' European hopes look to be fading, but with Cunha fit and firing, they may not be out of that race just yet.

The race for Europe

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
6 Chelsea CHE 38 +14 63
7 Newcastle NEW 38 +23 60
8 Man Utd MUN 38 -1 60
9 West Ham WHU 38 -14 52
10 Crystal Palace CRY 38 -1 49
11 Brighton BHA 38 -7 48
12 Bournemouth BOU 38 -13 48
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Gibbs-White relishes Wolves battle

Gibbs-White netted Wolves a fee that could reach over £40million when he swapped Molineux for the City Ground in 2022, but the midfielder has never been on the best of terms with his old club’s supporters.

Always highly motivated when up against Wolves, Gibbs-White was a livewire throughout, particularly when kissing the Forest badge in front of the away end after heading past Sa.

Gibbs-White only managed two goal involvements (one goal, one assist) in 48 Premier League appearances for Wolves, but now has 25 (10 goals, 15 assists) in 67 for Forest, benefitting from being the creative fulcrum of the team. If they are to survive, he will have a key role to play.

Club reports

Wolves report 

Next Premier League fixtures
Key facts

Nott'm Forest have won just one of their last 11 league games against Wolves (D5 L5), while they have failed to win each of their four against them in the Premier League (D3 L1). It’s the joint-most they have faced an opponent in the competition without winning a single game against them.

Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2) – their longest run across a single season in the competition since a five-game spell between October and November 2022.

Gibbs-White became just the fourth Nott'm Forest player to register double figures for both goals (10) and assists (15) in the Premier League (after Ian Woan, Bryan Roy and Steve Stone).

Wolves’ Cunha has been directly involved in nine goals across his last seven Premier League starts (six goals, three assists), as many as in his first 30 starts in the competition. Additionally, Cunha has scored three in three top-flight appearances against Nott'm Forest, his joint-most against an opponent in the Premier League (also three v Chelsea).

Cunha became just the fourth different player to score 10 or more goals for Wolves in the Premier League (after Raul Jimenez x2, Steven Fletcher x2 and Hwang).

Danilo has been involved in a goal in both of his last two home Premier League appearances for Nott'm Forest, as many as in his last 12 such games for the Tricky Trees. Furthermore, Danilo has been involved in a goal in both of his home games against Wolves in the top-flight, having provided an assist in Forest’s 1-1 draw against Wolves last season.

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