Barnsley 1 Wolves 3

Typical of Wolves to go to Barnsley on a miserable Tuesday evening and lose…

…After an FA Cup win at Anfield, a £13 million record signing and a genuinely fresh-thinking season ticket offer, these last four days have never felt less typical.

The times they are a-changin’, with this 3-1 win offering more evidence of such, not least when we look lethal from set-pieces, score early in another game and prevent that inevitable goal from a former player (Hammill).

Playing Barnsley minus top scorer Sam Winnall and talisman Conor Hourihane meant we were facing them at the perfect time but again, when does fate befall us in such a favourable way?

Hopefully this league win will alleviate any lingering looks over our shoulders towards the bottom three, just a week or so since our Norwich defeat raised one or two alarm bells.

Clearly, Paul Lambert is engendering a special bond amongst his players – and those fans who made the hike up to south Yorkshire – and his words to the Fans’ Parliament a month or two ago ring true:

‘You have a brilliant club, but you’ve just come off the rails a bit and need to get back on track. But forget it (the past), it’s gone.’

Beating Liverpool, signing Costa and now David Edwards scoring a brace away from home suggests we’re getting back on track and embracing what the future might hold, rather than moither over yesterday’s misdemeanours.

This game sounded as good as over when Alex Mowatt clattered Jack Price to see red within minutes of Dave Edwards nodding home Connor Ronan’s free kick to put us two-up. It could conceivably have been three at half time too, had the referee not reversed an initial penalty decision which looked a cast iron spot kick.

Earlier, Kortney Hause did his best Richard Stearman impression to score from a dead ball while the fans were still taking to their seats.

Being hypercritical, we sounded a bit ragged against 10 men near the end when the game was already sealed from Edwards’s second.

But when we’re building more momentum (as typified by Connor Ronan tonight) it’s best to just enjoy this heady ride while it lasts – without looking back!

Barnsley Vs Wolves Preview

Is there really a match tonight?

After Saturday’s legal high and the mouthwatering prospect of Chelsea’s visit to Molineux in the next round, can there be a more stark contrast?

But regroup we must as there’s still a considerable amount of work to be done in the league.

I find it very difficult, given how Wolves are playing and the feel good factor, to envisage us slipping down into relegation strife.

But even so, everyone will feel better when there’s a bit more distance and a few more places between ourselves and the bottom three.

This is a really tough fixture against a team who continue to succeed against the odds.

Barnsley

It must be so frustrating for Paul Heckingbottom to see his best players continually getting picked off.

Defender James Bree and captain Conor Hourihane were the latest to leave with Aston Villa recognising the talent both possess.

They follow Wolves academy graduate Sam Winnall out the Oakwell exit door after he departed for Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the month.

Reinforcements have arrived in the shape of Leicester midfielder Matty James and Leeds’ highly rated youngster Alex Mowatt.

But it’s a big ask for a team with so much upheaval to continually regroup and consistently win matches as the Tykes have been doing this season.

They’ve won 7 out of their last 10 matches in fact and come into the game just a point outside the play-offs. The 23 goals they’ve conceded at home is the highest of any team in the league.

Wolves

Signing a genuine superstar like Helder Costa for £13 million seems unfathomable when you consider we’ve dined out on budget recruitment, free transfers and loans for so long.

If we can fend off summer interest, he’ll be a key addition next season, particularly if the goal is still promotion from the Championship.

In the here and now I can’t see the Portuguese man getting a rest tonight. I’d have Bodvarsson and Mason down as definite starters and probably Price too.

But it will be fascinating to see if Paul Lambert rewards any of Saturday’s heroes who haven’t been in the team a chance to stake a more regular claim. I’m thinking about Hause, Evans and Saville in particular.

The injury to Ivan Cavaleiro is a blow because despite inconsistent performances, he’s still a threat down that left flank. Andi Weimann’s performance at Anfield proves he’s a more than able deputy though.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

We’re in a great place right now. The performances are improving, the manager has stacks of options and the whole club is bouncing.

I thought yesterday’s announcement about season tickets was also fantastic. Not only is it great value, it also shows an intent to get Molineux full again.

Despite the fact Barnsley are seventh and we’re down at the bottom, I’ll back us to get the win and hopefully avenge the 4-0 tonking they handed out at Molineux.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

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Wolves 0 Barnsley 4

Clearly the swirling thunderstorm was a bad omen before kick-off.

 

Sinister, black skies overhead, followed by one whopping great false dawn on the sodden Molineux pitch.

Successive League One teams have now come to town and absolutely embarrassed Walter Zenga’s side – and presumably Fosun – as Jorge Mendez’ precious little talents flap around hopelessly like little kites in a hurricane.

Forget the bootlicking drivel spouted after Burton Albion’s emasculation…Collectively and individually we were pathetic on that day and against an outrageously superior Barnsley side tonight, we were as bad as the very worst performances I’ve seen over the past 12 months.

At least Kenny Jackett’s sides were disciplined and knew what they were trying to do when they were boring us all to alcoholism.

Save for a Paul Stancliffe own goal at the South Bank end and this was every bit as embarrassing as when Steve Agnew and co thrashed us 25 years ago. Aside from Stale Solbakken’s consecutive nails in the coffin against Peterborough and Ipswich and these were the worst consecutive home games in short succession that I have ever had the misery to endure.

The writing was on the wall tonight the moment Zenga hooked Jack Price at half time, our one and only shining light who could actually pass the ball. A disgraceful decision.

The haplessly one-paced, one-dimensional Coady remained, as did our flawed 4-3-3 formation which saw £200k Portsmouth plodder Jed Wallace appal on the right and the apologetically meek Joe Mason apply chalk to his boots on the other side.

Aside from Reading, this game went the way of every single other this season, whereby we literally wrote off the first 45mins owing to misfiring formation and misfiring players within it.

Barnsley were quicker in mind, fleeter in foot, sharper in possession, stronger in battle and distressingly superior in every single facet of the game. Winning 4-0 was the very least they deserved.

With Jorge Mendez’ grubby pawprints all over most of the powder puff, pretty little lightweights I’ve had the misfortune of watching in the last 180 minutes – supplemented by the usual crap we’ve all grown tired of – then 4-0 defeats are just rewards for us, too.

The ensuing match reports will doubtless paint a different picture, with fawning mistruths and grotesque marks out of 10, (the boys need to bed in folks / the future looks bright / there’s positives everywhere / there’s strength in depth) as nobody appears to be able to call a match like they see it.

For Oniangue, see an inferior Olofinjana and for Texeira and Costa I’d have referred you to Adam Hammill, but that would clearly be an injustice on our ex-winger who looked light years better than the flaky pair put together. As I still shake my head from Cavalerio’s migraine inducing performance against Burton, I couldn’t even compare him to Silas.

Only Mark McGhee’s opening 0-1 loss to Port Vale can compare to this burst bubble. And with no heartbeat, spine or intellect behind this disparate group, I can’t see an another one being blown up any time soon, not unless Silvio, Saiss and Ola John are world beaters.

Oh well, Newcastle up next…

Wolves Vs Barnsley Preview

Goals alter opinions and Burton’s late equaliser on Saturday influenced a few perspectives.

Had we got out with a scrappy one nil, it would have been seen as a good afternoon’s work. The new team toiled but eventually found their feet to get the job done.

Instead, we’re left dwelling on the patchiness of individual and collective performances and fretting about Barnsley.

What it is to be a Wolves fan.

That 94th minute leveler for the Brewers cost us a morale boosting climb to 4th in the table. We’re now back in 12th.

Barnsley

barnsley-logoThe Tykes are off to a flyer and victory over Preston at the weekend moved them up to third. Not bad for a side who came up via the play-offs.

Highly rated Newcastle forward Adam Armstrong has arrived on loan and he netted the winner at Deepdale. Having scored 20 on loan at Coventry last season, he’s one to watch tomorrow.

Adam Hammill is also back at the club where he’s enjoyed the majority of his success to date. With a turgid record against former players, you can wager he’ll be another threat.

Similar can be said of Tom Bradshaw, the former Walsall striker who was tenuously linked with a move to Wolves prior to his summer switch to Oakwell.

There’s been at least 2 goals in all of their Championship fixtures to date so a tight, cagey affair seems unlikely.

Wolves

Walter Zenga reckons he’s got the players to name two different elevens and I think he’ll make a lot of changes tomorrow.

wolves-for-barnsley

Bodvarsson and Mason should both be nailed on starters and I can see Wallace being given a run out in place of either Costa or Cavaleiro.

Neither John or Saiss were included at all Saturday so it will be interesting to see if either emerge for this one.

Hause and Iorfa are the obvious options at the back. Does rotation also apply in defence? We shall see.

Walter Zenga

Predictions

Still impossible to make any semi-educated predictions at this stage, but having gone big and failed against Burton, I’ll revert to fence sitting this time.

2-2.

Unlike Burton I think they’ve got the firepower to hurt us in the final third so we’ll need to improve or it could be even worse.

Up The Wolves!

Barnsley 2 Wolves 2 (video highlights)

Barnsley 2 Wolves 1

At 9.30pm, the perfect storm had gathered.

Barnsley Wolves

A blackening performance, a damning consequence and a walk of shame towards 1,000 enraged away fans.

‘Typical of Barnsley to put the tunnel there,’ you could imagine Karl Henry saying.

A relentless hail of verbal missiles pierced the chill air, fired with more venom than a frontline soldier.

The imposters kept their heads down, perfecting the art of ignorance as if it were a Compton training ground drill.

Just like their roles on the pitch, none of them – bar Danny Batth – were prepared to front up and take it.

Their passive acceptance was as telling as the faces of Doyle, Johnson and Ward, who swaggered in their bubbles of immunity.

Tellingly, those three faces were the only ones smiling during our pitiful surrender, sniggering in their tracksuits when they were supposed to be getting loose.

Jason Scotland, meanwhile, warmed up properly.

Oakwell view

In a six pointer that assumed seminal proportions, young Jack Robinson made his debut.

Three minutes before kick-off, Johnson was sauntering around an empty pitch (with Davis) instead of being where he should have been…

…Next to the youngster in the changing room offering words of encouragement.

It’s bad enough having players that aren’t good enough. It’s something else entirely when they believe they’re actually too good in the first place.

More worrying than an endless losing habit is that after 33 games, 16 defeats and a bottom three position, some of these players still genuinely think they’re above all this frivolous nonsense.

Dave Edwards was one, shirking his responsibilities like a failed Sunday League bully, blaming Batth for the first goal because he’s a new kid on the block.

Karl Henry was another, backing up none of his pre-match words with a sterile performance that stank of complacency.

And in Kevin Foley, we saw a player who refused to sprint to take a throw-in when the fourth official was loitering.

End of game Barnsley

The most galling thing of all was the feckless surrendering of a great advantage we’d seized.

We flew out the blocks for the first 10 minutes and scored a belting goal through Sigurdarson, who looked unplayable both as a target man and a ‘striker on the shoulder.’

Yet as soon as he broke the deadlock via the menacing Sako, Dean Saunders pushed him into midfield to isolate the previously lively Ebanks Blake.

It was a decision to typify this entire season. Weak, subservient and completely unfathomable to the naked eye.

With the initiative lost, the game would go the same way. David Edwards didn’t challenge for the first and Kevin Foley went AWOL for the second.

When Dean Saunders was appointed on January 7, Steve Morgan enthused that he had more energy than the National Grid.

Forty days later and with the nuclear fall-out flying, he couldn’t even lift his head.