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!

* Betting on the Championship and on Wolves can be tough sometimes however if you looking for betting tips there are a number of top resources available in the UK. Betting Tips 4 You is one of the best out there as they cover every single game and have writers that provide full match previews and rationales.

Leeds United 0 Wolves 1

If you can’t have your own party, you might as well ruin someone else’s.

‘You’re going nowhere, we’ll see you next year’ was the gleeful chorus emanating from the away end as Wolves helped ensure Leeds ended the bank holiday outside the play-off places.

Thanks to Nouha Dicko’s well constructed first half strike and favourable results elsewhere, we will indeed be here next year.

Phew.

As for Leeds, they’ve got three games to scramble back into the top six and escape the same fate.

This match was a painful reminder for them about how unforgiving this division is and just how difficult it is to forge an escape.

Wolves, hopeless in their last two outings, carved Leeds open for fun in the first half and could easily have been over the hills and far away before the home side bothered turning up.

But with just a one goal deficit to overturn, they made it an uncomfortable finale, launching high balls for their giants to attack.

Jansson, Doukara and Wood could all have done better with good headed chances, while we have Kortney Hause to thank for keeping Kemar Roofe’s late effort out.

The recalled Stearman and Williamson mopped up the rest in highly accomplished outings. Will either earn a new deal I wonder?

Andi Weimann seems certain to sign up on a permanent basis and he looks a good addition for second tier football – full of energy and commitment with enough quality to hold his own.

The Austrian played through the middle alongside Nouha Dicko and should have added his name to the scoresheet, but his smart runs in behind remain a good option.

As for fellow January recruit Ben Marshall, the former Blackburn man continues to go from strength to strength.

He’ll be an important player next season and more additions of his Championship-proven pedigree should be the first order of business for Thelwell and co.

The mere fact that Paul Lambert used the term ‘bare bones’ in his post match interview when describing his bloated squad shows how little he thinks of much of the supporting cast.

Summer starts now.

Leeds United Vs Wolves Preview

Wolves have managed to achieve yo-yo club status without leaving the division.

Five consecutive league defeats here, five consecutive league wins there and now back to back losses and a strong possibility of another setback tomorrow.

That’s difficult to accept as a football fan and shows exactly how difficult it is for any manager to get a handle on this group of players.

There’s obviously talent within the group. Our cup exploits and occasional league upturns show that Paul Lambert has something to work with.

But he’s got to discard the dead weight sharpish, develop a settled group and with that will come greater consistency.

For now though, we can expect a typically bumpy landing to finish the campaign.

Leeds

It did appear in the early months that Gary Monk would be just another manager Leeds use up and toss on the scrap heap.

But he’s worked wonders in a limited period and with limited resources to give them that consistency that has alluded Wolves for years.

It’s helped their cause no end to have Chris Wood rattling in goals left, right and center proving why we pursued him, albeit unsuccessfully, for so long.

Their win at Molineux earlier in the season was as ugly as they come, but you could see they were compact and difficult to break down, ingredients for success at this level.

A late goal at St. James’ Park on Friday (Woods’ 25th of the season) got them a useful point, but 7th placed Fulham are now breathing right down their necks, just three points back and with a superior goal difference. Only a win will do for them.

Wolves

Over to you Paul. I have no idea what team I’d pick other than knowing that the difference between any lineup that includes Helder Costa is considerable.

If Ikeme is back I’d put him back between the sticks. Andy Lonergan had a great games versus Forest but should have done better with goals conceded in all three of his other recent appearances.

It seems like madness to me that Weimann banged in a few goals when played through the middle and has subsequently been shifted out wide. I’d give him another go as our main striker.

Who knows what we do in midfield. I’m starting to think that none of the individual players we have in there are good enough.

Saiss has played poorly and nearly cost us goals in his last two performances, while Edwards, Price, Saville and Evans have their own deficiencies that counter balance their positive attributes. I’m not sure I’d hang my hat on any of them to get us promoted.

Predictions

We need one more win to be absolutely certain of safety and if we get stuffed tomorrow and other results don’t go our way, there might be some pressure on that Blackburn game next weekend.

I think we’ll probably lose here, but even a point would be welcome to stop the latest rot.

2-1 Leeds.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 2

At least the ‘supporter experience’ away from the pitch is slowly changing for the better, with a master-blaster missile launcher sending T-shirts high into the stands for fans to clamber over empty seats for.

Meanwhile, a couple of wolves (or huskies of some description) were paraded as the teams entered the pitch, in a precursor for the intimidating levels of menace that would surely follow.

The seagulls, supposedly crushed under their ravenous jaws as our bloodthirsty pack runs wild at Molineux.

Sadly, the script went to pot as soon as our eyes were averted from the canines and across to Steve Sidwell and Dale Stephens in the middle of the park, who made Romain Saiss and Dave Edwards – in particular – look like docile little pugs.

If the t-shirt operator could have just loaded his torpedo with half a dozen white tops for some of these woeful failures to wear instead of their gold shirts, we might not have endured such misery.

As it was, we were easy meat for Brighton, who possess every single virtue that no-amount of football coaches can ever instil into our bunch of hapless losers.

On this point, think on Paul Lambert. They cost Kenny Jackett and Walter Zenga their jobs, and if you don’t make remedial changes to this squad as a matter of absolute urgency, then you’ll be losing yours too.

They are lethal and scary in equal measure, but only in making you wonder how such levels of inconsistency can blight professional footballers of supposed Championship level.

Take Kortney Hause as an example, who has been regularly resolute and occasionally majestic at the back, yet puts in a performance which is quite incomprehensible. To watch him get bounced beneath a high ball for the first goal was the stuff of Brown Westhead Park and typified a performance that cannot be rationalised.

Andy Lonergan’s limp wristed effort to keep out Knockaert’s shot thereafter was pathetic, while his attempt to stop his second was little better.

Then there was Matt Doherty, who has looked so easy-on-the-eye as a converted left back at times this season, but was so bad, and so lacking in the basic prerequisites, that you wonder if it were the same player. His body language certainly suggested that he couldn’t give a toss.

And as for that midfield axis of Dave Edwards and Romain Saiss…

…It was the stuff of nightmares, as the undroppable Welshman consigns the Moroccan to the same scrap heap that Price, Evans, Prince, Saville and co have all been tossed onto, while he continues to blacken a Wolves shirt with no accountability and no-shows like this. Go figure.

To watch Dale Stephens cruise around in second gear – while his mind remained light years ahead of our Welshman’s flailing arms and feeble gesticulations – made it clearer than ever that Wolves will never reach the levels required to challenge for promotion while he is anywhere near the starting XI.

It’s not like we’re hankering after past glories with him either. He was a squad player purchased from Luton Town 10 years ago and has never been entrusted to mount a promotion challenge under McCarthy or Jackett (League One) because he is so painfully limited. (see Henry / Jones and McDonald / Price). Who said nice guys never win?

As the PA system weeped before kick-off: ‘You’ve got to get yourself together, you’ve got stuck in a moment, and now you can’t get out of it.’

We didn’t really need Bono’s reminder, but there was never a truer word said yesterday.

Unless we bring in seven new players – having circumnavigated Financial Fair Play rules which are seemingly applicable to only us – we’ll be stuck in the same moment alright, watching the next Brighton & Hove Albion breeze into Molineux to celebrate promotion next year as we all watch on in stoic lethargy.

Not so much the vision of feverish wolves that the club will want us to feast over next season…

…Just more of the same old tails, wagging the same old dog.

Wolves Vs Brighton & Hove Albion Preview

I think we’re safe from relegation. That’s the only big plus to come out of last weekend.

For Blackburn to make up 11 points on us with only 15 left to play for (18 in our case) seems unlikely.

Add to that all the teams between us and the bottom three, most of whom have to play each other and it would take a horrible combination of results to send us down.

It would be nice to take matters into our own hands though and maybe even power into the top half.

I’d like to see us beat last season’s tally of 58 points too.

Brighton

The Seagulls are close. Very close. A win tomorrow won’t mathematically guarantee promotion but probably as good as.

I doubt Huddersfield will manage more than 86 points anyway so they’re probably home and dry.

Good for them I say. They’ve chipped away at the top six for years and deserve their chance in the Premier League.

Chris Hughton has proven himself a very good manager and shrewd additions like Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert have taken them on a stage.

I’d like to see them win the league ahead of Newcastle, but any sentiment obviously goes out the window tomorrow.

Wolves

I think Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is worth a start, particularly if Helder Costa doesn’t make it back.

But hopefully our star man will return and give us the best possible chance in a difficult looking fixture.

Paul Lambert might be tempted into ringing the changes after last weekend’s limp showing, but I’d prefer to keep the nucleus of the side that won five in a row.

Predictions

It’s fair to say that Brighton have established themselves at the top with a staggeringly good home record and solid but significantly less impressive away form.

They’ve won 10, drawn 5 and lost 5, scored 25 conceded 23. It’s still the second best away record in the league so perhaps it doesn’t inspire that much confidence.

The bookies have us at 15/8 for the win compared to the Seagull’s 11/8. If you’re brave enough to take a punt on the Wolves against the Championship leaders, these football betting tips might come in handy.

That said, a lot of their away matches are tight so we should be in the game. Sadly though, I expect their Championship wherewithal will win out.

1-2.

Up The Wolves!