Wolves 0 Everton 0

The final home fixture in this catastrophic season perfectly befitted the occasion, neatly summing up our miserable campaign inside 90 minutes of painfully dull football.

A bright start, a brief flicker of promise before ultimately descending into complete farce.

Blocked out

If that second half is what TC defines as ‘progress’, I’ll pass thanks.

With our attack completely blunted for the last half an hour, the only thing missing was the customary defensive brainwave to hand the opposition the points they seemed to so desperately crave.

Credit to the back four and indeed the team for that. They defended manfully from the start and made sure that a good Everton side were made to work for their chances.

Elokobi got the biggest cheer of the day, bouncing on to replace the stricken Christophe Berra and capping a fine cameo with a beautifully executed bicycle kick.

Lovely stuff George.

But when the highlight of an afternoon’s football is two drunkards lolloping onto the pitch with a paper cutout of the FA Cup and the South Bank pretending we scored a goal, you know something isn’t quite right.

And as has so often been the case, the quality of the chants emanating from behind the goal was in no way matched by the quality out on the pitch.

Without the forward thrust of Matt Jarvis at their disposal, this Wolves team just appear clueless about how to forge any sort of opening.

Henry and Edwards huffed and puffed in the center of midfield but neither have the vision or technique to open the gates.

The same can be said of the effervescent Stephen Hunt, who showed trademark tenacity but offered little to the game as an attacking force – save for scooping over a rare Wolves chance after an even rarer passing move.

Michael Kightly was also muted. Every time he had the ball he seemed to determined to scamper inside rather than attacking the line, always running into traffic and losing possession. Much more should be expected of him.

Fletcher and Doyle, starved of any real service were dominated by Jagielka on the odd occasion the ball did squirm into the Everton half. You’ll never convince me that they have or ever will forge a fruitful partnership.

In the last two games we’ve seen the major predicament that faces this group of players.

They can either play as they did against Swansea, creating chances but leaving themselves wide open at the back or, as they did yesterday, sit in and make life difficult for the opposition without offering anything going forward.

And as we know, in order to win football matches, you have to strike a balance between attack and defence, which is something that’s currently beyond TC and Wolves as a team.

Surely this much is obvious to our chairman? Or maybe not.

The fans crave decisive leadership and the sense that someone upstairs in our club realises these most fundamental of issues.

Instead, we were rewarded for a season of loyal support with a half-baked lap of honour and silence from the top brass.

Like I say, a befitting conclusion.

Wolves Vs Everton Preview

David Moyes has done another fantastic job for Everton this season.

Hamstrung by the club’s finances and their ‘sell to buy’ requirements, he’s once again juggled his resources, shuffled the pack and has the Toffees sitting just below the big hitters.

1-0 up at Goodison, only to lose it at the death

He just makes it look so easy too.

Organisation and discipline coupled with astute dealings in the transfer windows and voila! Top half guaranteed.

Nikica Jelavic is the latest bargain-buy, pinched from Rangers in January and already pinging them in left, right and center. He’s got 10 already.

Yakubu, Beckford, Saha and Arteta have all been moved on to balance the books, but that doesn’t seem to have prevented their customary upwards surge in the second-half of the season.

They’re unbeaten in their last 7 Premier League matches, dispatching Fulham 4-0 and taking a point at the Britannia in their most recent outings.

You worry for Wolves against any side that set out their stall and stay organised for 90 minutes. We just have an unwelcome propensity for self-implosion.

The Team

TC went 442 at Swansea last weekend and will probably do the same again. Unless we picked up any injuries I don’t know about, it will likely be the same eleven. I’d like to see an open game, for the sake of entertainment, so I’d go with that team:

De vries, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Henry, Edwards, Kightly, Jarvis, Doyle, Fletcher

If we do send that team out, I’m fairly certain we’ll concede, so as was the case against Swansea, we’ll need to score a few ourselves to be competitive.

Should the likes of Doyle, Fletcher and Jarvis impress, it wouldn’t surprise me to see any of them in an Everton shirt next season. I think they’re all players who could fit the criteria Moyes would be looking at.

Prediction League

Quite remarkably, nobody went for 4-4 against Swansea. However, 5 people did predict a draw.

So well done to me, Morph, Super Kev Doyle, robin and The Wanderer. Each of us take a point.

I’m hoping for a big performance to sign-off a catastrophic season of home-form and Everton are definitely due a defeat.

So against all logic and everything I’ve written above, I’ll go for a hopeful 3-1 Wolves.

If you’re at Molineux Sunday, have a great time and get behind the lads. I’m hoping we’ll get some words from our chairman after the game, which I think is the least we deserve.

Up The Wolves.

Everton 2 Wolves 1

Just like many young boys growing up in the mid-1980s, the sight of Howard Kendall’s all conquering Everton side was enough to make me realise how special the game of football was.

The thrill of staying up late to watch Sportsnight with Dad and the giddy excitement at the spectacle thereafter convinced me that the Beautiful Game was the one for me.

Thank God I wasn’t born a few years ago instead.

Because the team Dad diverted me towards in 1987 created its customary brand of wretched anti-football that does more to drive neutrals away from the game and take up tiddlywinks instead.

Savour it folks. Our ONLY shot on target

No shots on target (bar the penalty), no possession, no pace, no aspiration, no progression and no player within 40 yards of Kevin Doyle at any time.

And all this at the home of the club that first got me hooked.

We are the complete antithesis of those Canon League conquerors of yesteryear, let alone Graham Turner’s heroes of division three.

It was no wonder my two mates were spending more time checking their fantasy football teams than grimace at our pre-planned attempt to pervert the course of football.

Partly because they were bored out of their skulls and partly because all of their chosen players would never ever be playing at Goodison Park on November 19.

Not in a Wolves shirt at least.

It’s no wonder our (wonderfully voiced) fans can lay claim to the most self deprecating song in the whole of football, heard only two or three times a season when we actually take the lead away from home.

“We’re winning away, we’re winning away. How s**t must you be, we’re winning away.”

Doubtless they will be called numpties and mindless idiots by Mick McCarthy in the greatest irony of all.

If this is football Mick, you can have it.

If I wasn’t so desperately sad right now, I’d summon up some bile to throw at you.

It wasn’t the wasted £35 that has saddened me. It wasn’t even the defeat itself or the subsequent baiting by my Everton supporting mate thereafter.

It was the unashamed creation of a spectacle that bears no relation to the game I first fell in love with that really hurt, featuring none of its bewitching, spellbinding characteristics.

Where the good teams have skill, we have sweat. Where Norwich and Swansea have aspiration, we have pragmatism.

And where every other side have a chain of passes, we have a kick-off to Hennessey and a lump downfield to a striker who can’t win headers.

The game itself featured 11 Wolves players giving their absolute all to the cause, looking committed and hungry from the off.

For that, they will not receive any criticism from me. Certainly not Ward for his phenomenal block on the line, or Berra for an amazing last gasp tackle on Drenthe in the first half.

We took the lead through a needless Fellaini trip on Edwards and proceeded to squander possession with the reckless abandon of a pub team.

So what happened next? We work even harder to try to get the ball back and our tiring bodies give way to weary minds.

The agonising inevitability is bad enough. The reputation we have now garnered with yet another set of disbelieving fans just rubs the salt in.

“Thank God we only play these lot once at home this season,” said one pained Everton fan.

The pleasure was all ours.

Everton Vs Wolves Preview

With Everton currently languishing in 17th place and a small section of their fans planning a protest tomorrow, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re a club in crisis.

SEB bagged us a point last season

Not so sure about that myself.

Sure, they need investment if they’re to progress beyond the upper echelons of midtable, but a quick peak down their squad list reveals a Premier League side packed with quality.

Jagielka, Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Cahill, Osman – these are all proven performers and players most clubs would welcome with open arms.

The first three names on the above list all performed admirably for England too during the break, further emphasising the point that it’s a folly to suggest the Toffees are anything but a responsibly governed and well managed club.

Rant over.

Suffice to say, I won’t be taking them lightly then despite the fact they’ve already been turned over 3 times at Goodison Park this season and sit a point below us in the table, albeit having played a game less.

The 3-0 tonking they dished out to us at Molineux back in April still smarts though, so it would be nice to gain a measure of revenge for that humiliating afternoon of football.

The Team

There will almost certainly be at least one change to the side that started against Wigan a fortnight back. Adlene Guedioura struggled badly in his 45 minutes, so I think there’s a place up for grabs. It’s just a quesiton of who gets it. This is the eleven I think we’ll see:

Hennessey, Stearman, Berra, Johnson, Ward, Henry, Milijas, O'Hara, Edwards, Hunt, Doyle

So that’s Milijas in for Guedioura as the only change, with Edwards reverting to the right-side of midfield. The reason I think Mick will do this is to keep us more compact and difficult to breakdown.

There is of course the option of playing Edwards through the middle and bringing Jarvis in to play out wide, but I don’t think we’ll see that tomorrow. Fletch is also fit again thankfully but I’d expect Doyle to keep his place as the lone striker.

Prediction League

The majority correctly predicted a win against Wigan.

34 in total got the outcome spot-on but only 6 said 3-1 and picked up the maximum 3 points on offer.

So congratulations to Carl, Kowloon Wolf, Hamlet, Liam, wolverine and (cough) me!

I’m hoping for a solid performance tomorrow and if we can produce that, I don’t see a reason we can’t get a result.

I’ll go for 1-1 for the third consecutive season.

if you’re heading up north, have a great time and get right behind the lads.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 0 Everton 3

Whoever decided to take down the famous old North Bank clock would have been blissfully unaware of the poignancy.

At the moment George Elokobi took leave of his responsibilities and allowed Osman to cross for Jermaine Beckford to score, I glanced to check those hands of time I’ve checked 10,000 times before.

Ha ha! 1st goal in 3 years.

It had gone. Not so much time running out for Wolves, but disappeared completely.

No need to stop the clocks when they don’t even exist.

And like the vacant, sad empty space on top of the North Bank roof our defence looked likewise, in a pathetic indictment of a faded championship trophy.

Whoever utters that we were even remotely unlucky to concede the opener is missing the point completely.

Yes we had bossed the game for the first 20 minutes and looked by far the better team, but when your hapless, sub standard left back goes AWOL for yet another week it ceases to be unlucky. It is just bloody stupid.

No wonder they took the clock away. When you’ve had four years to find a competent left back from somewhere, then there’s hardly any point in telling the time anymore.

From the first goal on, Everton showed why they are a team on the cusp of a top 6 place with a clinical, measured display which stank of Premiership efficiency.

We just stank, resorting to the bizarre tactic of hoofing long balls to Sylvan Distin’s head, after emphatically proving for 20 minutes that we could give him headaches when we got the ball on the floor.

Like a quality opening batsman fending off the new ball, Everton eventually opened up, scoring a ridiculously good goal through Neville, the like of which he will never manage again.

And all of a sudden our 4-4-2 formation looked hopelessly exposed, Bilyanatdinov racing into open space to leather another goal of the month contender, as if saved especially for us.

So what has changed?

Yes, Doyle got injured in that damned Ireland friendly, but does that justify an entire formation change and subsequent home battering?

Does the manager not remember when he tried 4-4-2 at home to Bolton? Or Liverpool?

Eight points from 4 games had us all looking at our clocks for this very home game.

But Mick – at his infuriatingly stubborn worst – reaches for a deadly, doomed concoction like a drunkard at the last chance saloon.

What on earth has Adam Hammill done wrong, apart from play a starring role in our recent revival? Would any other manager treat a player this way?

Everton lose Fellaini, Arteta and Cahill before today’s game and keep exactly the same formation in place, using the exact same script from the Goodison Park dressing room.

We lose one player and we lose the bloody lot…

…The formation, the personnel, the game of football, and even the clock that told us how long we had left.

Wolves Vs Everton Preview

Last weekend’s performance and result at Newcastle was disappointing for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, we lost and both Blues and Albion picked up home wins; distancing themselves from the bottom three in the process. Wigan and Blackburn also added valuable points to their tallies, so not a great Saturday by any stretch of the imagination.

SEB bagged a late equaliser at Goodison Park back in August

Added to that, the momentum we’ve been building up of late was abruptly brought to a standstill. Starting another run is always a difficult task.

For many, it also confirmed our worst fears; that a Wolves team without Kevin Doyle is not adequately equipped to get the job done.

However, I’d disagree with that final point. I personally feel SEB did a superb job, both as the lone frontman in the opening 20 minutes and then partnering Steven Fletcher in the 442 from there on out.

We lost at St. James’ Park because of our shortcomings defensively. We allowed Newcastle to bully us, press the ball high up the pitch and force us into mistakes. For the 20 minute spell in the second half that we actually showed some composure, we came within a whisker of getting back into the game.

But having left Tyneside with nothing, we now have the chance to put some points on the board with back-to-back home games. On paper at least, Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off against Everton looks the harder of the two fixtures.

It was only a few weeks ago that their season was supposedly in crisis, but if you look at the Premiership table today, you’ll see they’re up in 7th place. The fact that they’ve only won 9 games this season, which is the same number as Wolves, demonstrates just how compact the league is this year.

The Toffees have had to make do without the likes of Mikel Arteta, Louis Saha, Marouane Fellaini, Jack Rodwell and Victor Anichebe of late. That’s a hefty list of injuries and it’s entirely plausible none will return against Wolves. That should give us a boost, but they’ve still got some wonderful players and picked up a useful point at home to Villa last time out.

So make no mistake about it, this will be a tough match. They’ve only won three away games all season, but they’ve dug-in and picked up seven draws on their travels too. They very rarely lie down for anyone, as you’d probably expect with David Moyes in the dugout.

Anyway, this is the Wolves XI I expect to see on Saturday:

Hennessy

Foley
Berra
Stearman
Elokobi

Hammill
Henry
O’Hara
Jarvis

SEB
Fletcher

So it’s a return for the 442 with Fletcher coming in for Milijas. If we do play this formation, it’s possible Mick could consider dropping Hammill in favour of someone who can tuck in from the right. Guedioura is ideal in this position, but it might be too soon for him.

Personally, I’d keep the 451 shape with SEB the lone frontman and Milijas retaining his starting role. I know that’s probably an unpopular choice amongst the majority of fans after last weekend, but I’m not sure we’ll keep possession well enough with only two players in the middle of the park.

Prediction League

A low scoring weekend in the Prediction League last time out with most people (including me) thinking we’d get a result at Newcastle. However, four pundits correctly predicted doom, so well done to Ben, Jed, Rob and Putney Wolf who all get a point for saying defeat but not getting the score quite right.

I’m saying defeat in this one. I don’t know why but I just get a bad feeling. It probably has something to do with our last early kick-off experience (a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool).

I’ll go for 2-1 Everton and hope that I’m wide of the mark.

If you’re at Molineux Saturday, get behind the lads. Our home form has been excellent this season and the crowd have a lot to do with that. We can make a difference.

Up The Wolves.