Wolves 2 Man Utd 1

If you believe in omens or things that are ‘just meant to be’ you perhaps wouldn’t have been surprised to see the enigma that is Wolverhampton Wanderers conjure up another barnstorming victory under the Molineux floodlights.

For the rest of us mere mortals though, living in a world of £50 million transfers, unbeaten records and defensive howlers, it was a win for the old gold that frankly seemed impossible.

But on the day the Premiership officially went bananas, it appeared fitting that Man United’s reign as ‘invincibles’ should hit the skids against the league’s bottom club.

Who scored? Who cares?!

Five minutes in, that scenario looked ominously out of reach. By this time, Nani had already skipped inside to lash home the opener and Fergie’s boys were asserting their authority with consummate ease. A sense of normality had taken hold. Order had been restored.

Or so it seemed.

Cue neat interplay, quick-thinking, a short-corner, a pin-point cross and the most accurate of headers from George Elokobi. Suddenly Molineux’s rocking.

Enter Ronald Zubar. The mercurial-villain of Wednesday night.

Not content with wrestling the ball back on the edge of the Wolves’ box, he sets off on an exhilarating 80 yard dash, leaving Wayne Rooney in his wake and culminating with some neat trickery to draw the foul from Nemanja Vidic.

Fellow Serb Nenad Milijas obliges with the most perfect of deliveries that a Doyle/Elokobi sandwich bundles passed a stranded Edwin Van Der Saar.

Dreamland.

Suddenly it’s the very best of Mick McCarthy’s Wolves.

Hennessy kicking and handling impeccably.

Christophe Berra throwing his body on the line to deflect Wayne Rooney’s goalbound effort over the bar.

What a night for the Scot. Much-maligned but a player I’ve grown to admire greatly for mammoth performances such as these. He was ably supported once more by the ever-improving Richard Stearman. Our two centre-backs were colossal and ensured United’s red-hot strikeforce were unable to fire.

Then there were the full-backs. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. Night and day. Will you ever see two such contrasting performances inside the space of a week?

The crowd sang Zubar’s name from the start, cheered loudly when his name was announced and he rewarded that faith with a long-overdue return to form. The Frenchman was notably touched by the gesture and will no doubt look back on the night as one of the finest of his career.

Henry struggled to find his footing in the game but grew in stature and was a key-figure in the second half, tracking back and making more than one important interception. His distribution is often criticised (rightly in my opinion) but don’t ever underestimate his contribution to the cause.

Sorry Jonny. Too good for you I'm afraid.

With Milijas and O’Hara, the midfield suddenly looked exciting, mobile and capable. O’Hara on his home debut, showed glimpses of brilliance and fitted into the side superbly after a hit and miss opening twenty minutes. He rode his luck with a reckless challenge on Darren Fletcher having already been booked, but his energy and touch of quality have already established him as a fans favourite.

What about Adam Hammill too? This is a guy whose made the step up from the Championship and already looks at home amongst the elite. I think his pace and trickery add a dimension to the side that was lacking with Hunt on the opposite flank to Jarvis.

Speaking of Jarvis, he was another who improved immeasurably from Wednesday. He made up for that squandered chance at the Reebok with a perfect cross for Elokobi’s equaliser and certainly benefited from playing alongside another livewire in O’Hara.

Kevin Doyle was man of the match by some distance though. Alan Shearer was even purring over his performance on MOTD. The Irishman bounced into Vidic and Evans all night, holding the ball up superbly, twisting and turning into space and causing United headaches with his exquisite movement.

Whether or not he can rightly lay claim to the second goal is an irrelevance. Selfless performances like this, for the team, is the reason we hold him in such high regard. What a talented footballer he is.

How about a word or two for the manager? Criticised, battered and hung out to dry so often this season. Perhaps no more so than after the Bolton game seemed to suggest we’d fallen through the trapdoor.

But once again we’re back from the dead and that’s because Mick McCarthy got his tactics 100% spot on. Every single decision he made last night was correct and make no mistake about it, he outwitted perhaps the greatest manager of all time.

It was a stark reminder that we should all show a little bit more faith in our manager and our team.

They certainly deserve it.

Highlights

Comments

  1. Kowloon Wolf says:

    The big difference for me was that Doyle, Jarvis and Zubar all turned up and did the business (should we say ‘put in a shift’?) That hasn’t happened very often in the last few weeks. Long may it continue! 😀

    PS Happy days! Chaos for our neighbours … Di Matteo has just been sacked too …

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  2. Sleachy says:

    I said before the game that we’d need a 2 goal cushion going into the last 10 minutes to stand a chance of finishing with any points, and with a difference of only one they were among the longest minutes of my life since a certain January afternoon in 2004. But we found the concentration and effort levels that have often eluded us during the closing stages of so many games this season and recorded a fantastic, famous victory. Invincibles my arse. Huge credit to Super Mick, Clipboard, Henry, Zubar, Ward, and all the other maligned numpties. My cousin said during the closing stages of the game that a draw or loss here will end our season, as the psycological ramifications would have weighed heavy round our necks anytime we had anything to defend in the dying moments of future games.
    Highlight of the game for me was Giggs losing his cool and Scholes resorting to Maradonna tactics. Can’t wait to see the man u muppets at work tomorrow; is that really what they have to resort to to win a game?
    Fantastic day, great feeling, keep the faith and we will stay up comfortably again.
    UTW!

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  3. Karlir-Johanarnt Kristjanson says:

    We’re strong at Molineux. If we could produce somewhat similar performances away, we wouldn’t have to fear relegation. Our two next matches are two very difficult ones. Arsenal’s defensive problems, conceiving four goals against Newcastle (with one man less, red card to Diaby), gives me hope about a point or more. It seems like Arsenal are very vulnerable on set pieces, a part of our attacking game that has been our strength lately 🙂

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  4. Clive from Houston says:

    Well.
    We are still bottom.
    Last time we beat United we got relegated.
    But who gives a shit???!!!!!
    What an utterly brilliant performance and result.
    And, what a perfect weekend.
    Arsenal give us tremendous hope for next weekend by conceding 4 after being up by 4.
    And, to cap it all The shit fire their manager, who I thought was doing a reasonable job………..of taking them back down!!!
    Oh Happy days.
    Let’s revel in this win for a while, before we start bitchin’ again.
    COME ON ME BABBIES!!!

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  5. Fair play to Mick, i’d been on his back a bit this week, he picked a great attacking line up with Hammill, Jarvo, Milijas and O’Hara.

    A great performance and special mention for Zubar who replied to Tuesday’s gaffe superbly shackling Giggs and Rooney for the most part.

    We need to press on from here now. Previous wins against the big boys proved false dawns, we need to beat the teams down with us. We’ve beaten 5 of the top 7 and are bottom which tells its own story.

    We also need to be picking up draws away (or wins preferably!). Blues have won 3 games less than us at the time of writing, and are above us.

    If nothing else, this season has given us some great memories!

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  6. Well my voice still hasn’t come back properly from yesterdays battering. What a brilliant performance! Well chuffed. Only thing is the last few times we have done this we have gone on to blow the momentum. Anything at Arsenal (dare i even say another ‘unlucky’ or respectable defeat) and we will be in a good position to take on the shit and Blackpool. Can’t wait for Albion game now, partly just to get rid of the tickets covered in shit that have been sat in my room since December!!! UTW

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  7. Martin says:

    Really excellent description of a wonderful evening Thomas. Mick and his team have certainly given a reposte to those of us who have been largely critical of late, with a truly wonderful performance and result. His team selection and tactics on this occasion were spot on. His latest signings, O’Hara and Hammill, look to have added substantially and he resisted his normal urge to start Ward whatever and wherever.
    However, this doesn’t mean criticism of previous signings, tactics and selection was unjustified, in fact it begs the question, why not more often? We’ve got the facilites, finance and support to make positive results and happy Saturdays like this more of the norm. If that happens, faith in the manager and team wiil take care of itself.

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  8. the visitor says:

    ‘Maybe the happy clappers will finally get it now.’ (ben-post Bolton)

    Perhaps the saddoes who are not applauding will understand at last.
    It’s not that we don’t ‘get it’.
    It’s just that we disagree.

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    • Kwolf says:

      Yeah because that one win has sorted everything.

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      • the visitor says:

        well, I did say ‘perhaps’.
        You seem to have missed the point.
        we’ve always disagreed.

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        • Who’s not applauding? Incidentally, who predicted we’d win 2-1? You’re right though.

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          • Ben I’m livid. Fell asleep on the couch unexpectedly during the early match (11pm ish) and I’d have gone for a cheeky Wolves 1 – 0 Utd. I’m peeved.

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            • Kowloon Wolf says:

              I’m just wondering how anyone can fall asleep unexpec…. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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              • Thanks Kowloon, but combine getting up at 4am on Thursday morning to watch the Bolton game, work Thu and Fri, cricket all day Saturday and a really comfortable new couch, it kind of snuck up on me. That’s 2 matches I’ve missed predictions for.

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                • Stourbridge wolf says:

                  I’m with Ben. A great result, a great day out for those that went, a great memory of beating one of the best teams in the world – but… we are still second from bottom so lets not get carried away.

                  I would prefer it if we more consistently beat the teams in our own mini league and were in the safety of mid table (Blackburn, Stoke etc). I would also prefer it if we had more to show for the £18m we spent in the summer!

                  Lets just enjoy the win (and the fact Albion have sacked their best manager for years!) for a few days before we get spanked at Arsenal!

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          • the visitor says:

            likewise who was clapping after Bolton?

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            • Oh I get it…We’re giving it the old ‘I’m a better fan than you’ line.
              How about you write a blog about how much more of a superior fan you are for applauding the lads off against Bolton. Funnily enough, I did exactly the same with my little boy and wife after our 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke. (do me and my family pass your saddo test?) Did you go to that game? Did they deserve it? More to the point, did I look you up afterwards to ram your viewpoint down your throat?
              It’s such a shame that we record a mesmeric win against one of the best teams in Europe, yet some fans choose to bask in it by rushing for the moral highground, instead of staying in town for a few beers.

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              • Stourbridge wolf says:

                Wish someone would clap me out of the office when I have a sh*t day at work.

                “Well done Stourbridge Wolf – you generated no money for the company, told our best customer to f*ck off and were generally sh*t today!”

                Well done for clapping after the Bolton game you ‘superfan’ – given the chance would you also have given Zubar a bl*w job to make him feel better about his backpass?

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              • the visitor says:

                my point was (I’m typing as slowly as I can) that no one was clapping after the bolton game(specifically after Ronald’s backpass) just as no one wasn’t applauding after man u game. so I’ll ignore the irrelevant holier than thou rant that ensued because you didn’t ‘get it’

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                • Hmm. So you’ve enlightened us all by saying that we didn’t clap when we lost 1-0, but we all clapped when we won? What exactly was your point again?! (I am typing marginally faster)

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                  • Stourbridge wolf says:

                    I haven’t had the clap since I met the wife 15 years ago?

                    Not suprised no one clapped after the Bolton game as everyone would be in shock after Zubar’s stupidity. The team looked as shell shocked as the fans from what I saw.

                    PS I dont think its the speed of your typing that is the issue, more an inability to provide a succint post.

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                    • Stourbridge, I did honestly clap when we lost at home to Stoke. I thought I should show resolve in front of the boy, despite wanting to throw him at the players. PS, I want to work in your office!

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                    • Stourbridge wolf says:

                      I did a slow hand clap after the home game with Stoke last season – does that count?

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                    • These are the days says:

                      He who claps last…

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  9. johnok says:

    Well,after that fantasic win and it was a fantastic victory over the best
    team in the land.we must start beating teams around us to have any chance
    of staying in this division.

    So come on lads lets have more of this and keep us up.
    we don’t want to go back to that f..king division where we was once founder
    members….coul’nt stand it.

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  10. Super Kev Doyle says:

    Unlike against Chelsea, where we nicked a goal, defended for our lives and rode our luck, I thought we were better than Utd for alot of the game yesterday, and certainly more creative.
    This makes me cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season, as our defeats against Wigan, Blackburn, Bolton etc have seemed to result from us struggling to get anything out of games when it’s not a ‘backs against the walls’ job, and we have to actually open up and play. With Milijas, Hammill, O’Hara and an on form Jarvis playing we look a lot more exciting.
    I imagine that, like in last season’s run in, Mick’s going to stick with a 4-5-1 as we look a lot more solid playing that way. Might mean we don’t see a lot of SEB or Fletcher but it’s our best route to survival.

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    • Adam B says:

      It is so frustrating that Mick found this out last season about 4-5-1 and then somehow forgot it in the summer and spent half his budget on Fletcher – a player I quite like but, as a cute left-footed forward, alarmingly similar to Bothroyd – a man Mick bombed out the club.

      We have wasted points playing 4-4-2 this season, I am convinced of that.

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      • Super Kev Doyle says:

        Agree completely. I’ve also been impressed with a few of Fletcher’s touches and despite a pretty underwhelming season for him he is still our top scorer! However, I think 4-5-1 is our best set up, and we don’t have anyone better to play up top in that system than Kev

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  11. What a match. So good. Was bragging to other Utd mates (everyone has united mates), whose response was – you deserved it, can you please beat Arsenal too.

    For the record, I love the Jeckell and Hyde of Zubar and Elokobi. Seeing them celebrating the win (and clean sheet at Brum), and Elokobi’s celebration against Utd. They’re exciting, and for one I’d prefer that than a Foley type who lets us down far less but isn’t going to do the spectacular that scores a screamer against Utd, nor draws the winning corner against Chelsea or the free kick we scored from against Utd. These are quality players, who no one else will want because they have the capacity to be awful, just awful, and I enjoy that.

    How good has the transfer window been for us? I’d say excellent. Hammill is the replacement for Kightly that we’ve lacked for a long time, O’Hara looks good in a 5 man midfield (as does Henry, who is found out time after time in a 442).

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    • Adam B says:

      I know it was just a flippant remark but you prefer Elokobi to Foley?

      Because Foley makes less mistakes but is less likely to score a screamer?

      Steady on. Foley has scored more than either of them this season alone. Elokobi was horribly exposed for the first goal and Zubar threw away a point on Wednesday.

      I love their enthusiasm but if we go down it will be because we have arguably the most calamitous back four in the history of the Premiership.

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      • The Wanderer says:

        +1 Foley is one of our better players; he is always ready to have a shot at goal and is usually on target – great opening goal against Sunderland this season.

        I prefer Foley over Henry any day.

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        • For the record, I didn’t say Foley was an ordinary footballer. I think quite the opposite. However, if you asked me to choose between the 2 types of fullback, and which I’d prefer to have in my team. I’d rather have the crazy maurauding type.

          Not that many would care, but Marseille had fullbacks of contrasting styles last season, and again I’d prefer Taiwo to Bonnart any day of the week. Didn’t mean Bonnart was a poor player, just prefer the attack, mauraud, get forward, cross from the byline, shoot type full back.

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        • Foley holding in a 5 man midfield is quite a good option. He seems to get lost playing in the centre in a 442.

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  12. Clive from Houston says:

    How many times has it been said that last season a winning formula was discovered eventually, and why oh why has it taken McDinosaur so long to use it, with the right players, again?
    And why does he insist on bringing Ward on?
    Is he still trying to snatch defeats from the jaws of victorys???

    Roll on the Arsole match, let’s see if we can actually keep this wonderful momentum going.

    FOMM

       0 likes

    • First question – valid and such questions should be asked – hopefully it’s not too late.

      Second question – I don’t mind Ward as a left midfielder almost playing as a 2nd left back, he offers enough each way to play that role (but not enough in either way to play as a left back, nor a winger).

      Third question – I don’t think so, I really liked the bringing on of SEB. It means we don’t just get deeper and deeper and ultimately concede. He gives another outlet ball which is really useful.

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    • The Wanderer says:

      Ward’s best position imo is left midfield and this is where Mick played him.

      I watched how he played and overall he had a good 20 odd minutes – he looked good going forward, and while never an out and out striker he can cross the ball as well as anyone in our team. He had one minor moment against Nani late on but did a job for us – putting a shift in so to speak…well played Steven Ward.

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      • Clive from Houston says:

        I totally disagree with everything you have written about Foley and Ward, they are just ordinary plodding lower level championship bit players in my opinion, and together with MM, should be resigned to that division.
        Yes, he got the tactics right on Saturday, but 15 other times this season he hasn’t, and I would take those 15 times over the 4 wins against the “big” clubs any day.
        Let’s see where we are at the end of the season.
        Hopefully stiil in the Prem, but…………………..

           0 likes

        • Stourbridge wolf says:

          I guess the test will be if we are relegated.

          Foley is ok, but I couldn’t see any other Premier league club coming in for his services if we go down. As for Ward – he’d be lucky to find another Championship club IMO.

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  13. Clive from Houston says:

    “Wolves predated United as the big dogs of English football. The statue of England icon Wright at the gates of this fine, old ground is a tribute to a time when the Wolves shirt set the gold standard. Bronze Billy looked an inch taller on Saturday night.”

    “Manchester United handed reality check with defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux”

    “United descended on Molineux with the hauteur of invading Romans seeking to crush and collect. They ran into hostile hosts ready to fight. The result was an ambush. The early goal from Nani meant nothing. Wolves smashed the conceit out of United. The crowd blew the lid off the stands and first George Elokobi, then Kevin Doyle set the night on fire with their set-piece plunder.”

    Finally, some decent pro Wolves reporting from this morning’s electronic Telegraph.
    COME ON ME BABBIES!!!!

       0 likes

  14. Stourbridge wolf says:

    How bad is our pitch?

    I thought we spent £1million not so long ago to put it right? Make that £19m we wasted in the summer?

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    • The Wanderer says:

      Pretty bad; bad winter – no under-soil heating at Compton Road.

      Ironically I reckon it helped us a little on Saturday.

         0 likes

      • Stourbridge wolf says:

        Get this Wanderer – I heard that we actually paid to have undersoil heating at compton, but no one upgrated the power supply so it doesn’t work!

        I think they should stop Moxey’s bonus for such incompetence!

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  15. wakester says:

    An absolute fantastic result against the best team in england and 1 of the best in euro n world. But we av bin ere b4 n mick as changed things around 2 try and get a result. Whatever was said b4 the game say the same again 4 every match till the end of the season is a big game n i think it is about wolves went on a run just like everyone esle as. Mick don’t fuck this up and try and play players out of postion. I wud like 2 c blake n fletch play a little more but at the mo that can w8. Only down side is i ay an henry fan and think we can play sum in his place!!!!

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  16. Thomas says:

    If you ‘Like’ one Facebook page today (other than the official Wolves Blog one that is) make it this one:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/When-George-Elokobi-Starts-Dancing-You-Know-Shits-Gone-Down/169658179747261?v=wall

       0 likes

  17. http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/02/06/wolves-2-1-man-united-tactics/ is also an interesting analysis of the match. It shows we’re a limited side, but when we stay within those limitations we’re effective.

       0 likes

  18. Stourbridge wolf says:
    • Thomas says:

      What a shit story.

      He didn’t even say anything about coming back to Wolves. He just said he wanted to test himself in the Premier League again.

      I hate sites like that. Weak, short articles, centered around a quote and a shitty headline.

      Sorry for the rant.

      On a serious note, Keogh will be gone if we go down, but I fancy he’ll be back in our plans if we’re plying our trade in the Championship.

         0 likes

      • Stourbridge wolf says:

        Totally agree – cr@p story about nothing (guess it will make the Express and Star in around a weeks time!!!!)

        I hope we never see Keogh back in a gold shirt – a willing runner, but that’s about it for me.

        I’ll never forgive him for his shot from the half way line against Arsenal! (how quickly I forget his goals at Derby that pretty much secured our promotion!!!).

        Thanks for the memories Andy!

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  19. Super Kev Doyle says:

    while everyone’s sharing links I’ll throw this fairly positive piece about McCarthy into the mix:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2011/feb/09/mick-mccarthy-barnsley-wolverhampton-wanderers

    the bit about us being a ‘revelation’ might be slightly generous, found it quite funny to read about his continuous pass-backs as a player to p*ss off the fans though

       0 likes

  20. These are the days says:

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