Wolves were irresistible here, producing their best performance of the season so far, but charging supporters £14.95 for the privilege of watching it only reinforces why pay-per-view must be scrapped.
Nuno Espirito Santo had bemoaned the Premier League’s television model before this game and it was a travesty that many Wolves supporters will have missed out on seeing such a classy performance.
Wolves were rampant in the first-half, with young wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri producing a fine goal on his debut, as Nuno’s vision of football was played out in high definition in front of an empty stadium.
The absence of fans at Molineux has proved a constant frustration for Nuno, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and many of them boycotted the game on TV in protest at the hefty fee demanded on top of their existing subscriptions.
Wolves are now third in the table, level on points with Everton and Liverpool, in what was a frustrating evening for Crystal Palace who had captain Luka Milivojevic sent off in the third pivotal incident involving the Video Assistant Referee.
Nuno said: “Football without fans is difficult and it’s hard for the players to keep their focus when there is silence.
“We are missing the edge of Molineux and it is a challenge for us. The idea is to sustain our form as every game is tough.
“The table doesn’t mean anything at this moment, we have to keep building. I think we were good but we should play better.”
Wolves are evolving their style of play under Nuno this season, moving away from a ruthless counter-attacking team to one focusing more on possession.
With the team in transition, Nuno had insisted patience would be required yet they were outstanding from the start here, attacking Palace with speed and intent, and taking the lead in the 18th minute through the teenager Ait-Nouri.
Signed on a season’s loan from Angers, the 19 year old made an excellent impression on his first Wolves appearance and produced an excellent finish from 20 yards, striking the ball beautifully into the corner across Vicente Guaita with his left-foot.
It was the first time Wolves had scored in the first-half since the opening day of the season at Sheffield United and came during a period when Palace appeared to be hitting their stride.
Michy Batshuayi had seen a goal disallowed for offside only 60 seconds before, in the first of three controversies for Palace on the night.
But Wolves were in control and the second goal in the 27th minute was inevitable as Palace struggled to repel a bombardment from the home team.
It was another rapid break down the flank, with Daniel Podence volleying in at the far post from Pedro Neto’s cross on the right.
Palace did respond and were denied a penalty by VAR seven minutes before half-time.
Patrick van Aanholt was clipped by Willy Boly in the penalty area and, though referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot, replays proved the Palace defender had strayed offside before the challenge.
Palace battled to claw their way back into the game but never really tested Rui Patricio and Milivojevic was dismissed in the 86th minute, after a lengthy review, after catching substitute Joao Moutinho late.
The Serbian midfielder did get the ball but his studs were clearly up and VAR concluded it was a red card.
Hodgson disagreed with the decision. “I don’t think it was a red card, it was a fair challenge. I’ve spoken to the referee and I'm very disappointed with that one. It's the worst part of the evening in a way.
“I think we will appeal it because to get three games [with suspension] for that would be a gross injustice. It would be three games for something I really don’t agree with.
“It wasn’t the sort of situation that would make you jump up and think it was a terrible challenge. But you’re always disappointed when you play and lose.
“Wolves started the game strongly and we didn’t. As a result they had a 2-0 lead and though we played evenly with them after that it wasn’t possible for us to get back in the game.”