Swansea City Vs Wolves Preview

The cup competitions have highlighted just how much Wolves have progressed this season.

Without using hardly any of his key performers, Nuno has routinely taken on Premier League opposition and emerged in credit every time.

Yes, you can point to a good FA Cup run last year, but that was real backs to the wall stuff. Wolves have taken the game to the opposition more this time.

Swansea were lucky to get this replay on the balance of chances created, despite enjoying a numerical advantage for a good chunk of the game at Molineux.

Tonight’s winner is rewarded with a fourth round tie at Notts County.


The Swans took a useful point away to Newcastle on Saturday, but left disappointed it wasn’t two wins in two league matches for Carlos Carvalhal.

They should been given a penalty that would have also resulted in a straight red for Mo Diame, but the handball was missed by the officials. VAR anyone?

But having taken the lead anyway in the final third of the game, they can only blame themselves for not hanging on.

With West Brom and Bournmouth both winning, they’re still rooted to the bottom and four points from safety. It’s a tall order for them to stay up. Not impossible, but very tough.

After this game they’ve got home games against Liverpool and Arsenal, so all the more reason to rest their best and brightest. I don’t think they’ll be overly disappointed if they’re eliminated.


Looking back at the highlights on Saturday, Wolves did enough to get the win. Having watched the game, it was a scrappy old affair, but when you see the chances back-to-back you realise we were the dominant force.

Still, it’s going to be all change tonight. Batth is back from his suspension so will likely start. Miranda has been frozen out lately too so might get some game time in a second-string back three.

Wing-backs are tricky with Vinagre out and no immediate cover for Doherty. Marshall is an option but he looks like he’s heading for the exit. Our first choice picks may have to fill in.

Jordan Graham is back from the wilderness of Fulham reserves, so must be another contender. Not sure where he slots in though. Perhaps down the left instead of Costa in the above lineup.

Mir should get a start. Why not?


This one could go in any direction, but based on the first match I’ll back us for a win.


Impossible to say with any certainty given that both teams will use their squad and it then just becomes a case of who gels better. Hopefully it’s us as victory here opens up a good opportunity to make it into round five.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves Vs Swansea City Preview

For years I’ve bleated on about putting together a cup run to see Wolves play at Wembley.

But that was before the age of Nuno.

Now the easiest route is finishing the job in the league and waiting for Chelsea to take up temporary residence in the national stadium.

It would be nice to get there the old fashioned way of course. However, our promotion push is so intoxicating I’m struggling to summon the appetite for anything else.

This will be battle of the reserves and I doubt either set of fans will be too distraught whatever the result, beyond the 20,000 or so who are going along.


I liked Carlos Carvalhal’s thoughts on their January transfer business – ‘We have money for sardines and I’m thinking lobster. I will look to the lobsters and sea bass, but if not we must buy sardines. But sometimes the sardines can win games.’

The sardines he inherited after replacing Paul Clement won him his first game at Vicarage Road to temporarily lift them off the bottom of the table.

They were then comfortably beaten by Tottenham, but I doubt that fixture was part of his master escape plan.

Scoring goals has been their problem. With only 13 in 22 matches, it’s little surprise they’ve only managed 4 victories.

Losing Llorente and Sigurdsson was the catalyst for another tough campaign. They brought in the highly rated Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich (who should have been a lobster) but the youngster simply hasn’t performed.


I was trying to put together a completely different eleven to the win over Brentford, but I think Batth’s suspension might have scuppered that.

Someone has to play at the back. It might as well be Coady as he looks like he’s coasting through every game.

I’m also assuming new signing Rafael Mir is eligible. If he is, he might as well play and get a soft introduction.

Price, Marshall and Hause have been out in the wilderness lately but are all very handy. It’s not impossible to imagine they could all leave in January depending on who else comes in.

I think Costa has been lucky to get the minutes he’s been given lately. Bright should have shared some of those opportunities. Both should get a start this time.


No PL points up for grabs in the cup, so all just for fun.

I’m assuming both teams will play the second string and I think our second string is pretty useful.

Swansea left players like Routledge, Fer and Bartley out of their team against Spurs so they’ve also got a bit in reserve.

But as we’re at home and tails are up, I think we might dig it out.


Up The Wolves!

West Ham Utd 1 Wolves 0

If you’re still thinking about the defeat at Upton Park, you’re in the minority.

Edwards West Ham

Even without the news Benik Afobe was heading for the exit, this was a tedious cup tie of few chances that won’t hang about long in the old grey matter.

Unless you’re Bjorn Sigurdarson of course, who suffered what looks like a serious re-occurance of the troublesome back injury that’s kept him sidelined for months.

That must be considered a serious blow to our immediate fortunes, given that our talisman is off to Bournemouth and Adam Le Fondre hasn’t looked up to leading the line all season.

On a more positive note, Michal Zyro impressed on his debut and with Kenny Jackett stating he can play in any of the forward positions, he’s certain to be consistently involved.

With injuries and outgoing transfers, yesterday’s squad was bolstered by the return of a few forgotten faces.

Along with the unfortunate Sigurdarson, Rajiv van La Parra was also thrown straight back into the action and George Saville made an appearance on the bench.

With Afobe’s exit imminent and Jed Wallace loaned out to Millwall, it seems likely those loaned out players will get a chance to play themselves back into contention.

But there will surely be fresh blood added and a level of re-investment through January to support the head coach for the remainder of the season?

Many are rightly skeptical that sizable sums will be spent, but with the spectre of early bird sales on the horizon, the club know they need to galvanise the support.

That must count for something.

If nothing else, yesterday’s performance was another strong rearguard action with the team defending manfully throughout and restricting a Premier League side to limited opportunities.

That solid platform will continue to serve us well, but I don’t think anyone believes we have adequate artillery to be consistently successful.

An experienced head at the back to further improve our defensive options and and preferably two good forwards must be added.

Anything less and this will be another transfer window the fans most certainly won’t forget.

West Ham Utd Vs Wolves Preview

There was an interesting stat doing the rounds this week.

West Ham celebrate2

Based solely on away form, Wolves would be 4th in the Championship table this season (and 20th based on home form).

Looking at the makeup of our team, that kind of makes sense.

Whereas last term we were more swashbuckling going forward and able to open teams up at Molineux, this season we’ve been more effective playing on the break.

This was again the case at Brighton where we were forced to endure long spells of pressure, but counterattacked effectively, particularly in the first half.

I suspect the lads will be doing their share of defending tomorrow and it’s a good test against a strong West Ham outfit.

West Ham

West_Ham_United_FC.svgSlavan Bilic may ring the changes, but he’s limited by their lengthy injury list. Moses, Sakho and the impressive Lanzini are all on the sidelines.

But Dimitri Payet is back and he’s been an integral part of their impressive season to date.

Andy Carroll is also enjoying a run of games and he’ll be a handful for our burgeoning centre half partnership.

They’re a difficult team to beat these days because they have both physical power and technical ability.

They’ve won their last two Premier League matches and are unbeaten in seven, which has seen them rise sixth.

It’s been a great start for Bilic and they look ideally positioned for a decent cup run if they can avoid banana skins.


There’s a midweek Championship game hot on the heels of tomorrow, but I don’t think Kenny will ring the changes.

Wolves team for West Ham

Jordan Graham is rated as 50/50 and it’ll be a shame if he doesn’t get the chance to test himself against a good Premier League side.

But if he doesn’t make it, perhaps Michal Zyro will get an immediate start? I’m looking forward to seeing if he can add something different to our attacking threat.

The team will have to be compact defensively as they have been in recent times, but West Ham will have better quality and more importantly a variety of ways to hurt us.

The gaffer


We’re well overdue a cup run and to do that you normally have to cause a couple of upsets, so this would be a decent start.

But it’s tough to expect anything other than a defeat if you’re examining the evidence logically.

I just hope the players give a good account of themselves to keep confidence in the camp high ahead of some winnable home fixtures in the league.

I think we’ll get skittled tomorrow but I’ll back us to get on the scoresheet.


Up The Wolves!

Wolves 3 Fulham 3 (Fulham win 5-3 on penalties)

Yes, we got knocked out of the cup and yes, we snatched an early exit from the jaws of the Stadium of Light, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Fulham Wolves

With visions of Sir Jack’s beaming smile etched in our minds, neither a processional victory nor a dour defeat would have quite done justice to the great man somehow.

With the house he built looking like a winter wonderland, our dear, dear president would had cast a nodding wink from those snowclouds as we flitted between bewilderment, hope, excitement and anguish.

Under the tenure of Sir Jack Hayward at Wolves, it was ever thus.

The fact that we expended so much energy to ultimately bow out of Sir Jack’s favourite competition mattered little, however twee that may sound.

More important was a performance to do some degree of justice to him after so sadly passing away earlier in the day.

We were pretty wretched in the first half against a vastly superior Fulham, but looked reinvigorated in the second period with the introduction of Dicko and Edwards.

And then all of a sudden, we looked bloody brilliant.

The two subs were unplayable, Price looked priceless and the Stearman / Batth pairing was colossus, towering like those old floodlight pylons that captured Sir Jack’s imagination.

And then, like so many seasons under his leadership, we dared to contemplate a Premier League proposition. Perchance to dream…

‘Are we going to play Sunderland now?” asked my little lad, at the precise moment Lee Evans squandered possession in the middle of the pitch with seconds remaining and easy balls everywhere.

“No son, not now….But we had a brilliant time didn’t we?”

The gaffer

Fulham 0 Wolves 0

Following this game on Twitter as it ticked into injury time, a lot of fans seemed to suggest they’d rather lose than draw.

Wolves Fulham

That’s disappointing.

OK, Molineux will be like a morgue for the replay and the game itself probably won’t be a classic, but I for one am glad to see Wolves in the hat on Monday.

And if we’re lucky enough to progress against Fulham at the second time of asking, I’ll be hoping the next round offers a realistic chance of going further.

No Chelsea or Man City please.

As for this game, the BBC suggested it had goalless draw scribbled all over it from the first kick. The highlights though showed an open game with a handful of chances for both teams.

Leon Clarke wasted the best of the lot, poking wide after a Sako bullet came back off the post and presented him with an open goal. Kenny Jackett suggested it came at him fast, but the striker’s forlorn reaction speaks volumes.

As usual, Sako was Wolves’ most potent attacking threat but with him now out of the picture until February, it will be interesting to see who the main benefactor is.

James Henry was back in the team yesterday and he also came close to preventing a replay. Perhaps he can be the man to replace Sako’s menace?

Interestingly, Kenny Jackett only brought on one substitute yesterday, giving Nouha Dicko a half hour run out after Clarke again misfired in a rare start.

That probably says a lot about the manager’s opinion of the other attacking options at his disposal, namely Michael Jacobs and Liam McAlinden.

Reinforcements seem likely to arrive before the month is out so both of those players might well be heading for an exit, temporarily or otherwise.

As for the cup tie, I’d still rather be in than out.

* You can watch highlights of the game on the BBC site here.