Brentford 0 Wolves 0

A stalemate against the league’s bottom side isn’t traditionally a cause for optimism.

But I agree with Nuno’s assessment that Brentford are in a false position, so in time this result will likely be viewed as a decent one.

Zooming out a bit, 10 points from 5 games is a solid return with that magical 2 point per game average usually good enough for automatic promotion.

When we reconvene after the international break, back to back home matches should provide a good opportunity to return to winning ways.

What we learned from Saturday is something we probably knew already – we need more cutting edge.

Chances were created and squandered at Griffin Park with Bonatini among the culprits. That elusive striker can’t arrive soon enough.

I still think the Brazilian has a lot to offer, but equally I don’t think asking him to lead the line for 46 matches will get it done. With Nouha Dikco seemingly set for an exit, reinforcements are needed more than ever.

Other than the lack of goals this was a decent enough performance and although the woodwork and John Ruddy were both tested, it’s another cleansheet. That’s 3 shutouts in 5 matches, which again is cause for optimism.

The coach kept faith with the team that had done the business prior to Cardiff, with only Ruben Vinagre breaking through.

And the flying wing-back was at the center of everything as Wolves tried to breakthrough. He also stood up to some serious examination in his own defensive third.

I like the player and with Barry Douglas unlikely to give up his spot without a fight, we’re well stocked for the position.

The focus now becomes beefing up the areas of the pitch where we’re not so well equipped before the transfer window closes.

With Dave Edwards departing hot on the heels of Joe Mason and Dicko also on the verge, at least one midfielder and preferably two strikers must be on the shopping list.

The club have done an excellent job thus far in reducing numbers, while adding the right quality and a few more key additions in the next week will complete the picture.

Busy days ahead.

Brentford Vs Wolves Preview

Victory at Griffin Park was the catalyst for survival last season. This time, our aspirations are greater.

It was good to bounce back in the cup, but even more important for rectifying last weekend’s defeat is putting some more points on the board.

That should be an achievable goal given that our next two fixtures are against the two teams currently sitting in 24th and 23rd position.

Yes, it’s early days but both Brentford and Millwall have gone four games without getting a victory and it can’t all be down to bad luck.

Brentford

Brentford logoDean Smith believes his side have been playing well enough to win games and from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of them, he’s probably not wrong.

They play attractive football and have good technicians, but like Wolves they have to earn the right to play their intricate passing game.

Keeping things tight at the back has been a problem and the nine goals they’ve conceded already is the reason they’re at the bottom of the pile.

If they go a considerable way through the season letting in over two goals a game, it’s going to be a long old campaign for the Bees.

But I suspect they’ll come good. They obliterated QPR 4-1 in the cup on Tuesday so that will give them some confidence going into this one.

Wolves

Nuno has some real headaches over team selection for this one after so many did themselves proud at St. Mary’s the other night. I don’t envy his position.

Would I play Vinagre over Douglas? Price over Saiss? Cavaleiro over Bright? Deslandes over Miranda? Honestly, I have no idea.

What I would say is that I don’t want to go back to making three, four, five changes to the team for every single league game so my approach would be evolution over revolution.

You might bring in Cav and maybe one other, but I’d keep the nucleus of the side that has generally performed very well in all the league matches to date.

Predictions

Theoretically, this should be a decent game for Wolves. If both teams want to get the ball down and play and it becomes about who can retain their shape and then find the right passes, you’d back us to win out.

I’m nervous because I think Brentford are due a good result and we’ve put a stonking great target on our chest with our summer transfer business and all the ‘best team in the league‘ plaudits.

But I have confidence in our coach and the group of players, so I’ll back us to get back to winning ways.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

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Brentford 1 Wolves 2

Performance and result – finally.

We’ve had both in recent weeks but not together since winning at Barnsley at the back end of January.

The latter remains the most important of course, but the former was a stark reminder about what this group of players can produce when they all turn up.

Paul Lambert’s more balanced team selection helped, returning to the side that secured victory at Anfield save for Danny Batth replacing Richard Stearman.

But this wasn’t a backs-to-the-wall defensive masterclass. It was Wolves on the front foot attacking throughout. 24 shots on goal in total, which must be a season high.

Perhaps the only worrying aspect of the night is that despite controlling much of the play, we came within five minutes of losing.

In fairness, Brentford’s goal was well-worked and ruthlessly dispatched. But Wolves should have been ahead long before and level much sooner.

That familiar wastefulness in the final third oh so nearly cost us again, with Nouha Dicko and George Saville the main culprits after some excellent build up play.

But credit Wolves and the manager who continued to throw everything at Brentford until they eventually buckled under the onslaught.

Ben Marshall’s influence in the last two games has been clear. Two pivotal assists, one on Saturday for Andi Weimann to profit and last night the teasing ball that allowed Matt Doherty to crash home the equaliser.

That’s what we’ve desperately lacking of late, our key match winning players making those killer final passes for others to latch onto.

Once Marshall and Cavaleiro were on, it also freed up Helder Costa to ghost in and thunder home the winning goal.

I’ve been critical of our star man of late, but only because he seemed to be operating on the periphery. Last night he stepped back in and looked up for the scrap.

You could see his visible frustration as team mates squandered chance after chance and then the release after netting the winner.

We need more of that in the remaining games, not just from Costa but everyone else.

The standard has been set.

* Check out all this weekend’s Premier League predictions and enhanced odds over at this website.

Brentford Vs Wolves Preview

Perhaps I’ve been a little hypocritical.

I’ve been banging on for weeks about the need to collect scrappy points and we’ve done that in the last two matches.

But I don’t feel my comments on Saturday were unjust. Rotherham were incredibly bad and yet Wolves were lucky to beat them.

Now we’re off to Griffin Park where we’ve been skinned alive on our last two visits hoping for something much better.

It’s a difficult fixture, but it’s one of our games in hand and yet another chance to create breathing space. We need a big performance and the result to go with it.

Brentford

Brentford logoFrom the outside looking in, it seems like a bit of a nothing mid-table season for the Bees. Not that we have any right to turn our noses up at such luxuries.

And for a club that have spent many years in League One and lower, they’re probably not too unhappy about being considered a solid Championship outfit.

Losing Scott Hogan late on in the January transfer window was probably a bit of a blow to their immediate aspirations, but that money could help them improve next season.

Their home form has been decent, but not overly intimidating thus far with 7 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats.

Rajiv van La Parra scored the winner for Huddersfield on Saturday and they won’t fancy losing two at home on the spin.

Added to that I get the genuine sense that Dean Smith hates Wolves, so they’ll probably be running around like feral dogs desperate to heap more misery on our already horrible season.

Wolves

I get that Paul Lambert wants to send out players that are going to scrap for every point, but I think he should be showing a bit more adventure.

I might be the only one, but I really feel like Helder Costa has checked out. You can’t ask players with limited ability to be better, but you can ask players with ability to try harder.

For the moment, I’d give Cavaleiro a go down the left and keep Marshall down the right.

Weimann has a goal a game record as a central striker so must start. Maybe playing alongside Dicko with Edwards making way in midfield?

And of course, I’m not fan of midfielders at full-back, so I’d change that too, but not holding my breath on that one.

Predictions

I don’t like the look of this fixture so would be happy with another ugly draw. Even that would take us a point and a position further away from danger.

That said Fulham on Saturday looks even worse, so perhaps we should be going all in on this one trying to get a win?

1-1.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 3 Brentford 1

Convincing? Not so much. But pleasantly reassuring all the same.

Reassuring in the sense that after such an impressive victory against Newcastle last Saturday it was a relief to see the same eleven a) make it onto the pitch and b) follow up with another win against a good Championship outfit.

I thought Zenga might find it impossible not to tinker, but the Italian stuck to the script and was rewarded with a far more cohesive showing than we saw against Burton or Barnsley.

That said, Brentford weren’t really pulling up any trees themselves until they went 2-0 down and started turning the screw in search of a way back.

Wolves had grown into the game as a bitty first half progressed and it was great to see them shift up a gear after the break and take charge of proceedings.

Joao Teixeira looked the most likely route to goal throughout, so it was no surprise to see him latching onto Helder Costa’s pass before confidently turning inside and stabbing home.

His second was one of those free kicks that’s both a cross and a shot if bodies run across the ball. Some people call them lucky but if you put the ball in the right area with pace, you deserve that reward.

He might have had a penalty in the first half too, but despite being sat right in front of it, I still can’t decide whether he dived or was pushed. Either way, the twisting run that preceded it was mesmerising.

On days like this where he chips in with a few goals, it’s hard to believe there’s a more effective playmaker than the young Portuguese man knocking around in the second tier.

Physically, there’s still a major question mark of course and the same can probably be said of Costa and certainly of Cavaleiro. But all three suggested they might be finding their feet with telling contributions when it mattered today.

One person you can’t accuse of shirking a scrap is Jon Dadi Bodvarsson. He is our talisman and the linchpin around which the whole team functions. Without him, forget about it.

I break out in a cold sweat every time he hits the deck thinking our season is about to vanish in a puff of smoke. But up he pops, ready to batter his way through another challenge.

Brentford tried everything imaginable to stop him today but the big Icelander eventually won the day, busting through late on and teeing up Cavaleiro to hammer in the final nail.

Had we not scored that goal it wasn’t difficult to envisage more late heartbreak in front of the North Bank as the Bees buzzed around our penalty area and repeatedly occupied uncomfortable positions.

But Wolves did enough, just enough, to get it done.

And with this team developing and hopefully growing stronger with each passing week, that’s all we can ask.

Wolves Vs Brentford Preview

Excitement or trepidation?

Probably both.

That’s just how it feels supporting this Wolves team. You might argue it’s always been that way, but even more so this season.

Hopes were built up prior to Burton and Barnsley with the bubble obliterated before being patched up and re-inflated at St. James’ Park.

Losing in the cup was a bit of a pill but our league aspirations will be well and truly back on track if we can overcome Brentford.

Brentford

Brentford logoEven though we beat them on our way to winning League One and scored a narrow home victory the following season in the Championship, Brentford feel like a bogey team.

They’ve twice thrashed us on their own patch and won comfortably at Molineux last time out. I suspect this season won’t be any easier.

Scott Hogan is the league’s form striker with 6 goals already, including a hat-trick against Preston last Saturday.

At the other end of the pitch, their defence boast the best defensive record in the league having conceded just 5 in 8 matches.

And of course you know Dean Smith – born in West Bromwich with a 10 year Walsall association – will be well up for this one.

Wolves

With Ola John and Silvio back pushing for places and Nouha Dicko not far behind, selection headaches are piling up for Mr. Zenga. But this should be relatively straightforward no?

team-for-brentford

The same team that beat Newcastle, or something very close to it, will surely start tomorrow.

I’ll never stick my house on anything with Zenga, but that eleven must be at the forefront of his thoughts.

There was an insinuation that Bortwick-Jackson was caught out for Matt Ritchie’s opener in midweek, so that could open the door for the likes of Silvio, Hause or Stearman.

Ivan Cavaleiro didn’t feature at all in midweek after only getting a late cameo in the league game and considering his price tag, I’d expect him to also be involved at some point too.

Predictions

Went for a defeat in the league and a win in the cup against Newcastle so what the hell do I know?

I do know Brentford are looking like a well oiled machine. I also know Wolves are backed to win and expectation levels are sky high, which is normally ideal conditions for a swift kick in the goolies.

So I’ll hop back onto the fence and say 2-2.

Up The Wolves!

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