Wolves 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

I said to Paul Lambert back in November that we should adopt Jurgen Klopp’s ‘entertainment first’ philosophy.

Serve up something exciting and win, lose or draw the fans will come back desperate for more.

Given the nature of this unspeakably grim affair, it will take a seismic effort for even the most optimistic to summon the strength to reconvene on Tuesday.

Nobody expected total football but I’m sorry Paul, it should never have been this bad.

Sure, Blackburn played three at the back, swamped the midfield and tried to eek out an ugly win to preserve their Championship status.

But their situation is understandable.

Wolves in contrast should have been able to play with freedom and adventure having escaped the shackles of responsibility.

Instead they were leaden footed and lacking ideas throughout in one of the most inept outings of the season to date – and that’s saying something.

The team selection set the tone.

Sure you can argue it’s the same eleven that saw off Leeds, but going to Elland Road and setting up camp is a much different proposition to breaking down a side on the cusp of relegation – at home.

George Saville playing left midfield at Molineux should be forbidden. I feel genuine sympathy for him being deployed in a position to which he patently isn’t suited.

And when Matt Doherty limped off with a hamstring injury in the first half, good old George was shunted into the back four.

That meant no width being offered on either flank with neither Coady or Saville comfortable getting forward to expose Blackburn’s defensive shape.

In a repeat of that desperately poor showing against Rotherham, it was then left to everyone else to flap about hoping that something would magically happen.

Saiss lashed cross field balls out of play, Edwards ran around in no particular direction and Cavaleiro repeatedly fell over.

A total shambles.

It would be unfair not to mention back-to-back cleansheets, which is a grain of comfort. I thought Conor Coady in particular put in some wonderful tackles and clearances.

But we needed grit and effort two months ago when things were going south.

With nothing left to play for there is only value in entertainment.

And we are not entertained.

Wolves Vs Blackburn Rovers Preview

Be honest, would you take a defeat to see Blues sucked into the bottom three?

Now we’re out of the brown stuff ourselves, what else is there to play for?

For the third preview straight I’ll mention beating last season’s 58 point tally. That would be nice. We’re on 54 with four games left to play so should be doable.

Maybe if we can string a couple more wins together a top half finish? Villa are on 58 points in 12th but we’ve got a game in hand.

That one might be ambitious but something to strive for rather than just getting the deck chairs out.

Blackburn

It’s Wolves away, Villa at home and Brenford away that will decide Blackburn’s fate. They’re a point behind Forest in 21st and three points behind Blues with a better goal difference.

I think they need two wins and that’s probably achievable when you consider none of their opponents have anything left to play for.

Getting rid of Owen Coyle in favour of bringing in Tony Mowbray seemed like a sidewards step and he hasn’t been able to steer them clear of trouble as yet.

Sam Gallagher looked quite useful in our match up at Ewood Park earlier in the season. He’s bagged 12 goals in a struggling team and could be a viable summer target for Wolves when he returns to parent club Southampton in May.

Rovers have one of the worst away records in the league with just 3 wins and 12 defeats in their 21 matches to date. That ratio needs improving in their final two matches if they’re to survive.

Wolves

Fair play to Paul Lambert and Wolves for seeing out a very good win at Elland Road on Monday. An unexpected bonus after the previous two performances.

It would be nice to see two up front for this one to put real pressure on a team who need a result. The pace of Dicko and Weimann should ask a lot of questions.

I’d bring Hause back in alongside Williamson because I think he’s worth persevering with in favour of Stearman who I think will leave.

Saiss is a player yet to convince me that he’s got the all round game to be considered a nailed on starter. Yes he can spray a few passes around but he loses possession too frequently and seems to be overrun by stronger opposition.

Will Costa play? Probably not, but I remain optimistic of seeing him at least once more in a gold shirt.

Predictions

I think we might win this one. Marshall will probably do something significant against his former employers and now the pressure is off, Molineux can relax a bit.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!

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Blackburn Rovers 1 Wolves 1

Ironic that Blackburn Rovers fans were the ones staying away from Ewood Park while ours were subjected to Danny Batth, Jed Wallace, David Edwards, Conor Coady and co on the pitch.

This team, in disgusting green shirts, produced yet another vomit inducing performance to hopefully spell out to Fosun what Jeff Shi might have been denial over until 7.30pm last night.

Namely, that we are in a relegation fight.

We can deliberate how it ever got to this stage – after finally banishing Morgan and Moxey and pumping millions into the side – but it’s better to get our heads around it and start scrapping from here on in.

With Jorge Mendes’ grubby influence casting a shadow around the club – coupled with our inability to shift the deadwood that cost Jackett his job – and it’s doubtful a new manager would fare too much better anyway.

In this instance, Rob Edwards did ok. While I’ll never agree with Dave Edwards and Conor Coady in a three man midfield, his subs were at least positive and made some sort of impression. Eventually, we will probably play Costa, Texeira and Caveleiro in the same team from the start in a 4-2-3-1, which is patently the best solution for this hare-brained squad and the one we’ve all be calling for. (Heck, Jack Price might even make the bench when fit, too.)

Getting the job on a full time basis would be a major comedown from the early days when Fosun got the party started and promised world domination, though.

A new manager isn’t the biggest issue anyway right now. More pressing is the structure of the club itself, where literally nobody will take any responsibility for signing Paul Gladon and Ola John and a clear conflict of interest remains with Mendes, his clients and the stake he owns in Fosun.

While his mucky hands remain on the tiller, there may be more choppy waters ahead.

Whatever direction we will be heading, the journey is sure to be memorable. The tripe served up on the pitch like that up at Ewood Park, less so.

Blackburn Rovers Vs Wolves Preview

The Championship is ridiculous.

 

Although I wasn’t surprised or bothered about Walter Zenga being ejected, it’s amazing how quickly things unravel in this division.

To think just five games previous we were a point outside the play-offs with a game to come against the league’s bottom side and everything looking rosy.

And even within those five matches, it’s not a stretch to say we could easily have avoided defeat at Wigan and won at Villa park, which would still have seen us within one victory of the top six.

But I think the consensus in football, rightly or wrongly, is ‘nearly isn’t good enough’. And Wolves have been nearly for too much of this season.

Blackburn

Blackburn-Rovers-iconRovers looked dead and buried after the first five games or so, but credit to Owen Coyle for showing signs of turning it around.

I think he’s recruited well, particularly up front. Bringing in Marvin Emnes, Danny Graham and young Southampton forward Sam Gallagher has given them an edge. The three have 10 goals between them already.

Conway and Marshall are two very strong Championship midfielders too, so the supply line is there for those forwards to thrive.

Survival is a good achievement for them as they’re going nowhere fast under the current ownership. In my darkest moments, it’s the direction I fear we could be heading.

Their fans are planning to arrive 18 minutes into the game and leave after 75 minutes in protest against Venky’s on Saturday, which promises to create a strange environment.

Wolves

So what will Rob Edwards do? It’s always very interesting to see how a coach responds when given the opportunity to step up.

wolves-team-for-blackburn

He’s been in and around the team all season so will no doubt have his own thoughts about who should and shouldn’t be playing and a preferred system.

I look at this group of Wolves players and think it’s about finding that balance between work rate / physical power and technical ability.

Packing out the midfield with at least two grafters (in the above instance Edwards and Coady) and then trying to get the likes of Costa and Teixeira playing off Bodvarsson is how I would approach this game.

It will also be fascinating to see if Edwards brings anyone in from the cold like Price, Saville, John or Wallace, who’ve barely featured in recent weeks.

Rob Edwards

Predictions

Like Rob Edwards, I also think Blackburn are in a false position based on recent performances. This will be a very tough game.

My concern is they could prove a bit more streetwise than Wolves, depending on the team the caretaker sends out. And in a tight game, that’s often the difference.

But I’m hoping we get a few more per cent out of our better players going forward to ask questions ourselves.

I’ll go for a score draw – 2-2.

Up The Wolves!

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Wolves 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

There was a time when emulating Man Utd equated to something rather good.

Wolves Blackburn

Sadly, the modern day translation is a long sequence of horrible, scoreless encounters played out in front of an agitated home crowd.

Our own little theatre of dreams.

On the plus side, many of us can look back on this season of six stalemates (and counting) and proudly declare ‘I was there’.

Much like Chorley, the great collapse of 2002 or that five goal blitzkrieg suffered at the hands of Odemwingie and co, it’s a badge of honour to have been present and accounted for in times of misery.

But seriously, we should just move on.

Today proved that however Kenny Jackett shuffles the pack (with one obvious caveat), you’re not going to get this squad playing attractive, free-flowing football.

Joe Mason was a ghost, Adam Le Fondre predictably ineffective and our attacking play as toothless as it’s been since Jordan Graham’s season was prematurely ended.

451, 442, that doesn’t matter either. This team just doesn’t have the personnel, creativity or cutting edge to get it done.

We have three players who would liven things up. Two are still on the treatment table and the third has been inexplicably exiled.

And it’s Kevin McDonald’s continued absence I simply cannot reconcile with every turgid passing minute.

I want to believe he’s broken the rules or is hankering for an exit, because to leave him out for tactical reasons defies all logic.

What you can’t argue with is that the midfield has been more compact, organised and well drilled of late.

And combined with a settled back four and a goalkeeper rediscovering his best form, goals haven’t been going in at the wrong end either.

Sadly though, supporters don’t place value on a strong defence and performances are nearly always evaluated solely on what a team does with the ball.

I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong either, because sport is supposed to be entertainment.

And despite now being six games undefeated, we are anything but entertained.

Wolves Vs Blackburn Rovers Preview

Tuesday’s win restored the equilibrium.

Blackburn Wolves

Thanks to George and Jack, Wolves are 12 points off the play-offs and the same margin clear of the bottom three.

Now that’s what I call midtable.

In fact the game itself was our season in a nutshell, which is to say shockingly poor for long periods punctuated by spells of hope and promise. And one seriously horrific injury.

Blackburn

Blackburn-Rovers-iconIt would take an unlikely sequence of results for Blackburn to get dragged into trouble, but another win will extinguish any lingering doubts.

Paul Lambert brought the new manager bounce after replacing Gary Bowyer, but things quickly got tougher and they’re more or less back where they started.

They haven’t scored many goals this season, which is little surprise given the departure of Messrs Gestede and Rhodes.

Like Wolves, it must be frustrating for Rovers fans as they looked to have the makings of a good team last season, but key players have left and the remainder have struggled to find consistency.

As an outsider looking in, I’m not sure they’re heading in the right direction, but if they can scrape together a few quid I wouldn’t be surprised if Lambert turned it around.

Wolves

That tackle on Zyro was appalling. What makes it worse is the lack of public acknowledgement from either Karl Robinson or the swine who inflicted the pain.

Team for Blackburn

It’s ruthlessly bad luck for the big Pole who’ll likely miss the whole of next season even if things go to plan.

Adam Le Fondre took his opportunity with a lively second half cameo and the returning James Henry laid on both goals.

Whatever your opinion on Henry, he’s consistently provided or scored goals throughout his Wolves career.

I’m not sure you’d pin your hopes on him individually for a 46 game promotion push, but looking at our current squad, he’s a nailed on starter for me.

The gaffer

Predictions

We’ve been solid but far from spectacular so the only thing you’d feel safe predicting is a solid but unspectacular performance.

That might be enough to account for a struggling Blackburn team, who’ve lost four of their last five matches.

And given that they’re among the worst away sides in the Championship, I’ll back us to get another narrow win.

2-1

Up The Wolves!