Wolves 2 Derby County 3

During his time on caretaker duty, Rob Edwards has often spoke of a desire to see Wolves play with a clear identity.

This is perplexing to me as to my knowledge the team has been doing just that from this season’s beginning.

Early leads have been handed to the opposition with unfathomable regularity and bountiful character has been shown just as games have grown irretrievable.

That is more or less the story of our season so far and today was no different, though the first half showing did manage to set a new barometer for sheer awfulness.

Incoming manager Paul Lambert (a good choice in my opinion) knows a thing or two about haphazard defences from his arduous time in the Villa Park hotseat but today’s defensive quadrant, not to mention those behind them in reserve, promise to provide his toughest challenge yet.

Danny Batth was disgracefully signalled out as the chief offender but the reality was that, despite him being at fault for Derby’s second goal, he was far from alone in the mistakes making department.

Dominic Iorfa, Matt Doherty and the laughably overrated Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (who has looked more like a FC United loanee than Manchester United since his arrival) were all guilty of error throughout the 90 and it’s hard to imagine that the opposition will have an easier first half than the one they enjoyed today.

However, our problems are certainly not restricted to defence. Though our attacking players are certainly not short of quality, one or two were exposed today as being devoid of the sort of character and commitment that is expected at the Molineux.

Joao Teixeira is a player I’ve struggled to warm to since his arrival and his rotten attitude was there for all to see today, with the deputy gaffer deciding after a mere half hour that he wasn’t up for it.

Meanwhile, Ivan Cavaleiro continued to make his pitch for the moniker of worst record signing of all time with another fitful display that does little to dispel the suspicion that he’s actually no better than the chap we farmed out to Bolton this summer.

Perhaps more patience needs to be afforded to our contingent of summer signings but with almost half the season gone we ought to think about when’s fair to label Jorge Mendes’ stable of foreign imports as flops.

Credit where it’s due though – we had a go at Derby in the second half and may have taken a point had the referee been a bit more consistent in his decision making.

It’s hard to bemoan bad luck when you consistently make life difficult for yourself though and until Wolves can cut the amateur mistakes out of their game it’s hard to see us getting anywhere close to realising Fosun’s ambitions for the club.

Over to you Paul.

Wolves Vs Derby County Preview

It looks like being Paul Lambert.

 

And if you read my previous blog you’ll know I’m in favour based on the candidates that were known to be in the running.

There’s too much heat around Nigel Pearson for him to be taken seriously and Tim Sherwood has no Championship pedigree.

Experience of the league was a key requisite for me so that ruled out any other experimental appointments from abroad. The timing just isn’t right.

In the mean time Rob Edwards and Scott Sellars will be armed with the task of trying to win our first game since the end of September.

Derby

derby_county_f-c-_logoOn the face of it you would have thought Derby would have been dead certs to be in the top six at the start of the season.

They appointed a manager in Nigel Pearson (who for all his faults) has successfully navigated the Championship.

Additionally, he was given the funds to re-shape the team and spent decent money on Vydra and Anya who have both proven themselves at this level.

That said, they did allow Chris Martin to leave on loan (I wanted him at Wolves) and Jeff Hendrick departed for Burnley, both of whom have been key performers in recent times.

This is definitely a transitional period for what’s been a fairly settled squad in recent seasons.

But poor results saw the powers that be surprisingly turn the clock back and invite Steve McClaren in for a second bite. That has the whiff of not really knowing what to do in terms of taking the club forward.

Wolves

More than a few people didn’t like the team selection at Blackburn but I didn’t think it was far off.

team-for-derby

If it were me, I’d drop Danny Batth who I think is struggling lately and give Richard Stearman a run in the side.

I’d also swap Saiss for Teixeira and bring Cavaleiro in for Wallace. We finished the game at Ewood Park strongly with those players on the pitch and at home I think we need that impetus from the start.

Rob Edwards

Predictions

However bad things are at Derby, I’ve got to believe they’re better than 19th.

I’m looking forward to seeing how they setup though. In recent times you’ve come to expect possession football, but I sense this time it could be different.

They’ve got good players so I expect them to cause our creaky defence problems, but I think we should be able to ask a few questions ourselves.

2-2.

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Wolves 2 Derby County 1

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Saville

How do you do it Wolverhampton Wanderers?

With any victory down the final stretch seeming fanciful, Molineux anticipated another chastening afternoon.

But with a roll your sleeves up attitude and a fantastic team ethic, hope returned and Derby were swept to one side.

George Saville is an unlikely hero based on so many anonymous outings to date, but the former Chelsea man was inspired.

Hard in the tackle (albeit in conceding the free kick for their equaliser), neat in his passing and clinical in the final third, this was finally potential realised.

Alongside the steady and reassuring presence of Kevin McDonald and the possessed Conor Coady, Saville’s role in the side suddenly makes complete sense.

A word too for Coady, who pushed his midfield colleague close for Man of the Match and was a constant driving force. This was the performance he was bought to consistently deliver.

We’ve seen glimpses against Blues and QPR, but this was Coady’s finest outing in a Wolves shirt to date.

It was also proof positive that these players are prepared to give everything for their under fire head coach.

Quite what possessed people into chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ is beyond me, given that Kenny Jackett had both his tactics and team selection spot on from the outset.

I might not have hooked Nathan Byrne either, but given that everyone (including myself) thought Derby would swat us away, he’d earned sufficient credit to do as he saw fit.

Anyone disagree?

Jackett will have been pleased by the natural balance Jeremy Helan brought to the left side of midfield.

The on loan Sheffield Wednesday winger was an effervescent presence and his combination play with Matt Doherty a feature of the team performance.

Doherty himself was brilliant, frequently getting in behind Derby’s back four and finding the inch perfect cross for Saville’s match winning moment.

Most pleasingly for everyone though, after so many dull, attritional Molineux contests, this was an afternoon to savour, fizzing along towards an exhilarating finale.

A most welcome interlude in otherwise trying times.

Nice one lads.

Wolves Vs Derby County Preview

Firstly guys, apologies for the outage.

Derby

I know conspiracy fans were salivating at the idea we’d been shut down by the club after Ben’s excellent post, but it was actually a much more basic and boring reason.

It did look at one stage that we’d be offline for considerably longer, which wasn’t entirely unappealing when facing up to writing this preview.

But as we’re back, I don’t want to disappoint you Prediction League fanatics (the table for which I will update over the weekend).

Derby

derby logoWhile we’re being informal, Derby can do one, with all their money and ambition. Makes me sick.

They even sacked their manager because the football wasn’t up to scratch, even though they were in the top six.

A couple of wins have recently got them back on track after it looked like they might completely fall away, much like last season.

But we know first hand they’re a good team with some excellent individuals.

I just wonder whether the big money arrivals have taken away from the overall team ethic that has impressed for a couple of years now without getting them promoted?

They tonked us again at Pride Park earlier in the season, so it would be nice to get some measure of revenge tomorrow.

Wolves

I think the arrival of Jeremy Helan has to be considered a positive. Pace in the attacking third is something we’re lacking and if nothing else, he brings that to the table.

Team for Brentford

As I’m writing this on a train, I don’t have the access to create a new team graphic, hence why I’ve used the above. But I actually wouldn’t play this team.

We need to stifle Derby and stop them playing football. If we try and go toe to toe, we’ll get beaten easily. I’d pack the midfield and just play one up top.

As for the new boy, yeah, I’d throw him straight in. Why not? He can’t do any worse than our other wide players have done in recent times and may inject some confidence and energy into a beleaguered team.

The gaffer

Predictions

It’s impossible to predict anything other than defeat.

I think Derby look better on paper than the collective sum of their parts these days, but they should have far too much for us.

As mentioned above, our best chance is to restrict their play and attempt to break quickly when the opportunity presents itself.

I don’t think we’ve got the discipline or the quality to do it effectively though, so…

3-1 Derby.

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Derby County 4 Wolves 2

Sometimes, it’s easier to write a 400 word blog than it is to sit in a comfy sofa, with a cup of tea, and watch the game of football itself in the living room.

Derby Wolves

A defence full of kids making schoolboy errors.

A midfield minus Sako looking listless.

And a squad with no recognised strikers barring the two out on the pitch – one on loan from the mighty Cardiff City – lacking devilment.

Far be it for me to fly in the face of a philosophical masterpiece from those erudite scholars from Molineux, but I’d suggest that tough times do indeed last, whether or not tough people choose to do likewise.

Just watch this space.

Steve Morgan, clearly not tough enough for Wolverhampton Wanderers’ marketing team on last month’s evidence, has rendered Wolverhampton Wanderers an empty vessel, save for a state-of-the-art academy that boasts everything but a seasoned professional or two to navigate choppy waters at places like Pride Park.

Players of the ilk of Ince, Russell, Martin and Johnson are the stuff of dreams as we float around the Championship like driftwood.

Perchance to dream-ay, there’s the rub.

Like a tormented Hamlet having heard his father’s fate, we must all fester and watch this miserable story unfold.

King Claudius will continue to blacken the director’s box, attendances will continue to dwindle and we’ll all be told to count our blessings – or f**k off down the Hawthorns as an alternative.

And we’ll finish about 12th.

Derby County Vs Wolves Preview

Rain and crap defending.

Johnson Derby

Those are my abiding memories of our last trip to the iPro Stadium.

And while nobody can guarantee better weather, anything other than a total capitulation would constitute a vastly improved performance.

That classic 1.15pm Sunday kick-off time will probably make the atmosphere about as ferocious as a Scott Golbourne corner kick, but still, it’s nicely poised.

Both teams have climbing the table of late after indifferent starts and both will see this as a good yardstick of progress.

Derby

derby logoThe Rams are unbeaten in five and have won four of those contests to rocket themselves up to seventh in the table.

Paul Clement was an interesting choice of replacement for Steve McLaren, but having earned his stripes with coaching gigs at Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid, is probably a safe enough pair of hands.

I think he’s bought well over the summer, adding Championship know-how with the additions of Bradley Johnson, Jacob Butterfield and former Wolves defender Jason Shackell.

Making Tom Ince’s loan deal permanent was another shrewd move and he adds pace and sparkle to a pretty solid looking spine.

I wouldn’t bet against them for the play-offs (at least) but then again, most of us said the same last season and they hit the skids.

Wolves

The same XI that started against Huddersfield seems the most likely bet:

Team for Derby

Dave Edwards would have come into the manager’s thinking in a tough away game where we’ll need to defend from the front, but he pulled his groin playing for Wales.

The last time I watched Wolves on the box, Ojo started at Cardiff and was a passenger for the duration. Hopefully he’ll do better if starts on Sunday.

Coady, Wallace and Byrne may also come into the equation from the bench, but I’d be surprised if any start.

The gaffer

Predictions

I think a draw would represent a good result and keep our little unbeaten run going.

Derby will fancy their chances, but their home form has been patchy thus far, so no reason we can’t take at least a point.

A third straight cleansheet would be splendid, but probably a tad ambitious.

I’ll go 1-1

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