It’s difficult to know if the reverse of this fixture will also be a top of the table clash but today’s contest certainly lived up to its billing.
With the home side irrepressible in the first 45 and anything but in the second, it was the cliched game of two halves.
The main takeaway for Walter Zenga though was another slow start, with the opening and ultimately decisive goal nothing short of shambolic. Despite our clean sheets against Reading and Ipswich, our defensive deficiencies are all too apparent.
Much has been made of Danny Batth’s improvement under Zenga’s tutelage but the skipper was caught out badly in the build up to the goal, with pantomime villain Rajiv Van La Parra also afforded far too much space to tuck home on the rebound.
Huddersfield fans clearly haven’t gotten to know their new number 17 all that well, given the adulation they bestowed upon him throughout proceedings, but nobody can deny the quality of his performance today. What a shame that he only bothers to muster up this level of effort so infrequently.
Coady was arguably our best player again, though his knack for breaking up opposition attacks was largely wasted at right back. On the opposite side, Doherty turned in another typically swashbuckling performance. I can’t recall a more drastically improved player from time supporting the club.
Less impressive were Edwards and Saville, both of whom were deservedly hooked. Their limitations were pretty glaring and the fact all of the substitutes improved us drastically is unlikely to do them many favours.
Both centre backs were also poor and I’d suggest recruitment in that area needs to be considered a priority in the remaining days of the window.
As I type up this report on the coach back to Molineux, a fellow traveler has already hit the nail on the head with a succinct summary that we can’t afford to be a ’45 minute team’ if we want to achieve success this year.
Sluggish starts have been an alarming trend of Zenga’s tenure to date and although almost every other aspect of the Italian’s management has been peachy it’s a habit that needs addressing.
Still, it’s important that we remain level headed given the turbulent nature of the club’s summer activities.
I doubt there’s a Wolves fan among us that expect today’s lineup to be anything like the one that finishes the season and one suspects that patience will be required for a good while yet.
With a host of new signings to bed in and some sorely missed first team players due back from injury, it’ll take time for Zenga to identify his key players and the correct system for them to play in.
Our second half display at least suggests in time we’ll have a very good side on our hands.
Today was a frustrating blemish on an otherwise solid start and it’ll be interesting to see how we pick up again in a fortnight.