Must Do Better: Wolves 0 Portsmouth 1

I don’t know what was more dissapointing about today, the pathetically weak performance or the frustrating feeling of inevitability.

Five minutes into the game, I turned to my old man and said, ‘we’re gonna get turned over here’. You see, everything about Wovles was wrong; the team selection, the shape and balance of the side and the distinct lack of any real spark or creativity.

But perhaps most disappointingly of all, Pompey wanted it and Wolves didn’t. How we weren’t fired up for a game of such magnitude is beyond me and the visitors were able to cash in on our slow start, with what proved to be the only goal. From that point on, I never really believed we were going to get back in.

So the inquisition begins.

McCarthy has questions to answer over his team selection

McCarthy has questions to answer over his team selection

In my opinion, the first finger of blame should be firmly pointed at the manager, for glaring errors with his team selection. Mistake one: bringing Foley in from the cold, when Halford was doing a perfectly good job at right-back. Mistake two: not playing Kightly from the start. Mistake three: thinking Edwards and Henry can play together in a two man midfield.

And that’s just for a kick-off.

From a tactical point of view, we were a mess. There were gaping holes in the middle of the park and acres of space for Pompey’s attackers to move the ball around. Edwards spent far too much time galloping forward like a headless chicken and although Henry did a decent job of plugging the gaps, we were still far too open.

In defence, Elokobi had one of the worst games I’ve ever seen from a Wolves full-back. To say he looked sluggish would be a great understatement. As well as picking out a succession of woeful passes, he appeared to be running through treacle at times, getting left for dead on numerous occassions.

Going forward, we were laughable. I mean, what was the plan? All we seemed capable of doing was lumping the ball forward, hoping for Doyle and Keogh to feed off the scraps. On occassion when we worked the ball out to Jarvis, we looked OK, but that was soon figured out and he became more and more ineffective as the game went on.

One thing I will credit Mick with is that he had the good sense to change things at the half-time. The introductions of Kightly and SEB had me thinking we could turn things around, but it wasn’t to be and both were starved of possession in decent areas.

Of course we had our moments and also our share of bad luck. How we weren’t given a penalty for one of the most obvious handballs of all time I’ll never know. The ref might not have seen the incident but the linesman was looking straight at it.

But our real moment of opportunity came and went when Halford’s fierce volley was palmed out by James straight into the path of SEB. I would have put my house on our number 9 to find the net, so was obviously distraught to see him blaze over when it seemed easier to score.

Had we got the equaliser, I’m not even sure it would have been deserved. We were just poor today, front to back.

So who do I blame for defeat?

McCarthy, for putting the wrong players on the pitch?

The officials for missing crucial decisions?

SEB, for wasting our one golden chance?

All of the above and many more.

I don’t begrduge Portsmouth the win. They executed their game plan very well and looked a good side in spells. So for Pompey fan Rich, who wrote the preview for us, well done and enjoy your weekend. After the misery you’ve had to suffer thus far, you deserve your moment in the sun.

For Wolves, there’s a dark cloud hanging over head with only 7 points on the board and a succession of difficult fixtures to come.

I just hope we can lick our wounds, come back stronger and conjure up a big result to get us back on track.

We shouldn’t be losing the faith just yet, but Wolves quite simply must do better.

Comments

  1. mistake 4- playing keogh. is the penny dropping that he is hopelessly inadequate? i agree with much of that thomas. i had that feeling too,and said something similar to my dad. you cant contemplate blaming SEB though?! one chance, and to a bloke who is statistically more prolific than bully. i blame mick for showing him such jaw dropping disloyalty that he comes into the side rusty when he should have been playing all along. for weeks now. keogh can miss 100 chances and i’m either told. a) leave him alone,he’s young. b) but he brings the best out of kightly c) remember his selfless running to get there or d) he’s not meant to score, he creates!!! wrong team, wrong tactics today. time to do what burnley are doing…playing the players that got them here, and their new signings. hopefully the penny will drop with mick.

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  2. Frustrated wasn’t the word today, we were pretty poor although watching us again on match of the day made me feel a little better (i got a better view of that blatant handball for one)

    Interesting that SEB can’t be blamed, what if Keogh had missed that chance? Keogh looked pretty anonymous in truth and i think it’s time he was took out of the firing line for a while. It’s time for SEB from the start.

    To blame Mick is harsh in my opinion. I’ve been saying all week that Foley should start so i can’t moan about that. I do think Kights should have started though.

    But who would have started instead of Edwards? Milijas? I think Edwards has been playing better of late and they are both attack minded

    Sadly i agree about Elokobi’s performance. Maybe he’s not up to the prem

    And finally, i’d like to see Greg Halford take more pot shots at goal if that free kick was anything to go by!

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  3. Scoop says:

    Fair summary Thomas. We were shocking, absolutely shocking. I can only hope that this will be a watershed moment and from here on things change.
    Things like;-
    Mancienne to left back, Elokobi dropped,Keogh SOLD, Ebanks-Blake & Doyle given a prolonged run up front, Keogh SOLD, Kightly preferred to Jarvis, Keogh SOLD, Foley for Halford, Keogh SOLD, Big Chris restored to the bench, Keogh SOLD, Craddock back to partner Berra, Keogh SOLD, Milijas given a long run, Keogh SOLD.
    And in January, SPEND SOME REAL MONEY!!!!! Stuff the utterly phoney wage policy (which doesnt seem to apply to the Fat Controller) or prepare for another swift return to the Championship.
    ‘Learned our lessons from 2003′ my ar*e! The bottom team in the Prem showed us today the inadequacy of our squad. They were better than us all over the pitch and they’ve SOLD their prize assets!
    Out Of Darkness Cometh Light so its make do and mend til January and then pay whats required to get more quality in.
    P.S. And sell Keogh!!!

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  4. Nick Dalton says:

    Disgraceful comments guys. It was a pretty poor show today, only Doyle and Henry did themselves justice, but to put all the blame on Keogh is just too easy. Much to the annoyance of many small minded fans Keogh has been one of our best performers so far this season and to say we should sell him after one bad game is ridiculous and what has Milijas done to deserve a long run, the guy’s been average at best when he has played. Elokobi dropped and Mancienne moved to left back??? Do you want to go back to the Hoddle era with players playing out of position. Have you seen Mancienne playing at left back? How do you know he’ll play well there?

    We were bad today but if the ref had grown some balls and given us the penalty we deserved and SEB had scored with the rebound from Halfords free kick that he would have put away 9 times out of 10 last season the Keogh bashing would have to wait for another week. Unfortunately it’s the 2nd game in 2 weeks that we’ve been the better team and got nothing for it. We’re playing in the most competitive league in the world and it was never going to be easy. I respect your opinion Scoop but to call for our most dedicated player to be sold after 1 bad performance is bollocks and I can only hope you had a few to many beers after the game and you’re going to wake up Sunday regretting writing something so stupid.

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  5. @Nick – at last someone with common sense. @Scoop no disrespect mate but if you were trying to be funny or witty with the “Keogh SOLD” repetitive remarks, don’t give up your day job! Disappointing defeat coming from a very poor first half, however again plenty of positives and with a stonewall penalty and 2 other definite maybe’s I would say we were unlucky.
    Have to agree that Big George looks well off the pace and he disappoints me everytime he lumps the ball forward, I’m not sure Hill is any better though. Keogh was off the pace today, and looks a lot better away from home – now I wonder why his confidence dips at home, something to do with all the stick he gets all of the time – I’m not the biggest fan of Keogh but he certainly doesn’t deserve all the stick he gets.
    This was a game that was there for the winning, sloppy first half and bad refereeing (again) is what cost us, that’s all! We’ll be okay we just need to keep believing and stay behing the team – too much negativity is creeping in and the booing after the match needs to be cut out sharpish! Wolves fan = fickle = stupid!

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  6. Well said Nick and Jed. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me because i wasn’t critising players. Do fans think booing and heckling helps? They need to remember what division we’re playing in.

    Whether we were the better team is questionable, after all Pompey had a lead to defend and 2nd half they did that very well. For all our possesion in their half, how many chances did we have?

    I think fans just need to remember that we are going to lose a lot of games this season and enjoy the wins. After all 30 odd points and 17th position would suit me just fine

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  7. Thomas says:

    Listen guys, we can debate Keogh until the cows come home, but there will never be a truce. I can see both sides of the argument to be honest.

    He was bad today, there can be no debating that. I don’t think he significantly worse than any other players though, so singling him out is slightly strange. But that’s only my opinion.

    Ben, I’ve got to blame SEB for missing that chance. Whether it’s Blake, Keogh, Doyle or anyone of our other forwards, I’d be saying the same thing – he must score. Sure, he’s coming back from injury, but that kind of chance is his bread and butter. Misses like that one and like Keogh’s host of misses against Hull will end up costing us dearly.

    In reality, nobody is setting the Prem on fire, spare one player – Doyle. This guy for me is a one man show at the moment. If there was one positive to be taken out of the last couple of matches, it’s his performances.

    In regards to this ‘fickle fan’ debate, I really don’t know where that’s coming from. For my money, the crowd roared the lads on. OK, there might have been the occasional jeer, but that stems from sheer frustration, something I feel we were all entitled to be feeling.

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  8. Dazza in Brisbane says:

    How many more times do I/we have to say this? We are piss poor on the left hand side.Elokobi is a park player,a nd Jarvis is atrocious. Yes, we had a stone wall penno dennied, but, that shouldn’t detract from the Managers’ tactically naivety. We now enter a run of games that is difficult to see where any points are coming from. This Zubar thing is really starting to piss me off !!!

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  9. Hallam says:

    Nick, Mancienne has played at Full Back for Chelsea in preparation for the Champions League against one Lionel Messi.

    Yesterday we were awful, mainly in the first half. I for one thought Henry was poor whereas Edwards was better, but maybe I am just wrong. The team selection was wrong. McCarthy’s cracking up? I don’t know. But this ridiculous policy of playing players because they had a good game as opposed to a good season is getting out of hand. We needed to beat Pompey and we didn’t
    Now we face Everton, Villa and Stoke at the Brittannia. We’ll get a point out of 9 if we’re lucky but they are incredibly difficult games.

    Ending on a positive; I thought Hennessey played well, pulling off several good stops.

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  10. I seriously do not understand your Keogh debate as if i’m honest i don’t think there is one, Keogh is like the Kuyt of Liverpool in terms of effort and the Lucas in terms of one week the fans love him, the next they don’t. When Lucas arrived at Liverpool i was the first to make the point he was a shambles, if the fans would have known at that point in time he was going to be the temporary replacement for Xabi Alonso they would have jumped ship but the thing is the lad has improved, ok he has his off games but the fans have learnt to give him a chance.

    What i can’t understand in your case is that Keogh has always been a decent player, maybe he’s also had his off games but in terms of his commitment to your team and the work he puts in i don’t really feel you should be complaining. Who am i to judge i’m not a fan but i know a few and this is just my view on things.

    The other thing is your season isn’t over yet, i’s be happy to bet on Keogh having a match winning performance is several games to come and when this happens the Keogh bang wagon will surely be back in business. I think what it is, is that teams like yourself who generally have less patience obviously due to the long task ahead can’t allow mistakes etc, once Keogh has performed poorly that’s it, anything he does in a game the negatives are all picked out unless he scores or assists.

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  11. Hallam says:

    Yeah but then again, Keogh is crap. People will rely on last season him scoring against Derby, but that’s one game and since then he has not played well.

    People may argue at Wigan he scored, fair enough. But he has played nearly every game and has as many goals as Stearman. 1.

    I’m going to shut up because I really cannot be doing with this Keogh business. I don’t rate him. At all. Others may think different but I seriously cannot comprehend why.

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  12. It just seems some people like Keogh and many don’t and that’s that. People are entitled to there opinion and that’s fair enough. I may just smile to myself the next time the whole of Molineux chants ‘Keogh, Keogh’.

    As for Mancienne at left back, i’m quite supportive of this idea. A bit of pace there is what’s needed. Also we need big guys in the centre. All these free headers we’ve conceded; Giovanni, Givet, Turner and now Yebda. This needs to be cut out, it’s costing us dear.

    May i also say who ever clicked ‘very poor’ on our start to the season, wake up will you, we’re in the premier league!

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  13. A couple of questions and thoughts.

    Why does Hennessey kick the ball downfield when the other team ends up with possession at the end of the play? Is this a good tactical strategy?

    Second. Since Milijas plays for the national team of a country that is ranked 13th in the world, how is it he is not good enough to play for a team that is ranked lower within its own league?

    Is Mick giving the old team a try during the beginning of the season because he figures we might have a chance at some of the games even with a championship level team and he feels the new imports haven’t acclimatized yet?
    Let’s hope he starts playing the new players now that we are going to play games where we realistically have very little chance of getting points.

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  14. Hallam says:

    What did people think of Henry playing at the back when Mick brought the Hoff on yesterday?

    I thought he looked quite good.

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  15. Hmm, but he didn’t have much to do in that period in truth. I think Henry needs to be left alone as he was one of the bright performers yesterday.

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  16. Dreadful.

    Simple as that.

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  17. andrewwfc says:

    hello fellow bloggers – missed my first home game of the season yesterday, and by all accounts it was one to miss!

    Interesting tactical discussion. I think we might be paying the price for a poorly balanced squad. With Henry and Edwards in the centre of midfield we look far too open (maybe somebody who saw the game can confirm or rebute?). Castillo and Henry played well against Fulham and Sunderland (until Castillo got taken off). However, this leaves a selection dilemma. The obvious strike-force is SEB and Doyle, but with a defensive midfield pairing there is nobody linking up play in the middle.

    The options are therefore to sacrifice solidity in the centre of the park or quality up front to play a link-up man (Edwards, Keogh or Milijas). Difficult choice, but one that needs to be sorted soon.

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  18. Dazza In Brisbane says:

    It’s easy to fond a scapegoat, and it always seems to be Keogh. However, the Manager has to shoulder the blame for rubbish like that on Saturday. He has done NOTHING about strengthening teh elft hand side, wasted 2.5mill on a CD he won;t play, and look slike Milijas was a rank bad buy. McCarthy has been backed by Morgan, and the alarm bells must already be sounding in the Boardroom. It would be a brave man that predicts any points from our next few games. Some say you can;t judeg the team after 8 games… well, that’s over 20% of tehs eason gone, and, to be perfectly honest, apart from Blues, we are the worst team I have seen.In other words, I now think we are nailed on relegation fodder. However, Doyle looks the business and may help turn things around.Here’s hoping!!!

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  19. My issue with Keogh is not the bloke himself, who I am sure is great in the dressing room and a lovely chap, but the facts surrounding him that so many fans continually ignore.
    I just don’t understand how a £500k signing from a League 2 side, (who now wouldn’t get into that side according to their staff), who has a worse goal record than Paul McCloughlin, who is a proven failure in front of goal, keeps playing.
    And on a wider point, if a fan genuinely wants him dropped and makes his point on a message board (albeit crudely), then it is only because he is shit scared of our chances with him in the team. IE, the fan cares.
    Anyway, I digress.

    Nico: I saw Mancienne left back last season at home to Sheff Utd when Nathan Dyer was ripping Stephen Ward to pieces. I know it is only a cameo , but he shifted to the left, and Sheff Utd’s attacking intent died. He also came off the bench to play there against Swansea at home, to good effect.

    I feel sorry for Elokobi…Tore his cruciate, anterior and medial ligaments, played 10 mins against Doncaster, and now in the harshest league in the world. Also, a player plucked from D

    Anyway, this res

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  20. Shit, this laptop keeps sending messages without me finishing them!

    Sorry. I was just concluding by saying that Elokobi has never had an academy football education, a rounded development in the game, having been plucked from Dulwich Hamlet by Colchester. It is a tough tough ask for him. Never mind that injury.

    Anyway, need to consign this result to the dustbin and come back with a big performance against Everton. Castillo would do a good job in that game!

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  21. Sam 2.0 says:

    I was at the game and our midfield did not press at all. I was hoping that they would be at pompey like the fulham game but there seemed to be no drive. Also both big george and jarvis didn’t link up well. Both were found out of position or didnt cover the other one.

    Berra had another good game i thought, looked the best from the back 4 although (im pretty sure it was him) i was shouting at him to close down the cross that lead to their goal and he just kinda waltzed up to him rather than rushing him.

    Halford should have played at right back with kightly on from the start and used SEB as an impact sub. Keogh didnt have much success but i dont think he did anything wrong in particular but when SEB is 100% i would use him.

    In general it was just a poor poor game. but to the fat moaning woman who even complained about hennessey, said the words ‘dunno what mick has done for us recently’ and almost dropped her pie on me – go play on the M6 during rush hour you wench!

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