Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 0

To steal a quote from a famous football pools winner from yesteryear, it’s time to spend, spend, spend!

After watching the leaden-footed, one-paced and excruciatingly average Coady, Evans, Edwards, Mason, Saville and Wallace, the one saving grace from last night’s 0-0 draw (aside from the point itself) is that our mega-rich owners will continue to splash the cash.

Before long, performances like this won’t be portrayed as a perverse sign of virtue to which we should be grateful, but an unsightly stain on a season which will soon be washed away.

This draw, and the four points we have accumulated beforehand, can only be seen as bonus results which we can’t have realistically expected with these Ordinary Boys of last season, whose true capabilities were laid bare in front of Walter Zenga.

Aside from some flitting chinks of light from Teixeira and Bodvarsson ahead of him, this was a pretty dark performance against Mick McCarthy’s brutes, who would surely have won the game had the old goat actually pressed for a winner.

Thankfully, he was as pragmatic as he usually was in the home dug-out, presumably ‘wiping his gob and taking the point’ in tiresome Yorkshire shtick.

A narrow pitch, a gargantuan, feral away side with no end product and the majority of last season’s flops made for a truly forgettable spectacle, where Ipswich were denied what looked a legitimate opener and were rarely threatened, aside from Bodvarsson’s weak penalty and an unlikely late Costa strike to force a save for the photographers.

At the back, Danny Batth was magnificent and marshalled his troops well, with Kortney Hause slotting alongside effectively. The full backs of Doherty and Iorfa also coped well and can be pleased with their evenings’ work. Meanwhile, Ikeme was decisive when dealing with the many crosses and set plays.

The problems started in front of them. Joe Mason may as well have been sat in the stands with a clap banner, Lee Evans was ponderous, Dave Edwards headless and Conor Coady was, dare I say, talentless.

Coming away with a point probably felt like winning the pools.

Remembering that Moxey and Morgan have gone makes me feel like a billionaire.

Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

Something tells me this game won’t follow the same pattern as Saturday.

I certainly can’t envisage Ipswich playing neat passes along their own 18-yard box and inviting Wolves to press.

No, this will be a much different challenge for Walter Zenga to navigate against a more purpose-built Championship outfit.

And thankfully the Italian knows what to expect, stating yesterday, “We prepare for a game against a strong team, a physical team, who know how to play and never give up.”

That sums it up nicely.

Ipswich

Ipswich logoWe’ve yet to beat Mick McCarthy since he left Wolves and took over at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys always seem to find an extra 5% at Molineux and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

As always, Mick had some interesting comments in his own press conference:

“I’ve seen both their [Wolves] games. They played against Rotherham, they were 2-0 down and came back with a man short and drew two-all.

“I watched the game against Reading this morning. It’s not suddenly changed, they’ve not got loads of new players in. They’ve got two or three but it’s predominantly the players we played against last season.

“So there’s not been that many changes, I think it’s hard to just turn it around and just put all new players in, that would be a recipe for disaster.

“We’re seeing that up at Newcastle, I guess, with the best Championship players, seven or eight of them have gone in and they’ve lost two games, which seems incredible.

“Wolves have had a good start, I thought they played well against Reading, but somebody said they’ve made a bid of £16 million for somebody from Portugal [Benfica’s Anderson Talisca].

“If that’s true, I don’t recognise that one. Even in the Premier League that money wasn’t there when I was manager!”

And on Walter Zenga?

“He was a top, top class goalkeeper. He’s had a lot of jobs in management and I think he’s got a great job there, a great club.

“I thought it was a great club and a great job when I had it and if he’s in the Championship and has a pot of money to spend, if he can get that place going again it’s a fabulous club.”

Wolves

It will be interesting to see if Walter Zenga makes any changes after a good team performance at the weekend. Will he be a fan of rotation or even feel he has the players to do it? I’d assume the same team though.

Wolves team for Ipswich

At times it was quite hard to pick out where certain players were operating on Saturday with Mason and Teixiera in particular popping up all over the place.

I quite like that because it makes the team more difficult to read, but we’ll see how it works against more battle hardened opposition. Or maybe Walter will change things completely? Who knows?

I don’t think new signing Prince Oniangue is eligible to make his debut but when he is available, I look forward to seeing how he’s utilised. Is there a chance he’ll play at the back?

Walter Zenga

Predictions

Definitely sitting on the fence with a 1-1 tonight and that would suit me just fine. Five points from the opening three games is a solid return.

We played very well against Reading and without question Ipswich can be got at. Their limp defeat at Brentford on Saturday proves that.

But Mick never makes it easy and on our narrower pitch, their compact system will be even harder to breakdown.

So draw for me, but hoping to once more be pleasantly surprised.

Up The Wolves!

Save

Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 0

As we were leaving the ground yesterday a friend of mine commented that the Italians would have called this the perfect game.

Wolves Ipswich

I somehow doubt the 20,000 or so broken souls clambering for the exits felt quite so charitable.

This was a pig ugly game of football played out between two sides who’ve massively regressed in the year since the fixture was last contested.

For Wolves, the fifth Molineux nil nil of the season was decidedly more nil nil than the Brighton, MK Dons, Burnley and Blues stalemates that preceded it.

Defensively yes, it was pleasing to see another shutout and the significance of that certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

But when your best and only moment of attacking prowess is orchestrated by your left back (as it has been for several months) you know there’s something gravely wrong.

Indeed, either side of Matt Doherty’s smart interchange and shot that almost won the day, there was nothing but two endless deserts of huff, puff and misplaced passes.

So why was it so bad?

First and foremost I think we would all agree Mick McCarthy was never going to engage us in a free flowing, blow-for-blow contest of exhibition football.

Even last season with our three-pronged attacking super force Ipswich shut things down, making it nigh on impossible for our best and brightest to operate.

They smothered the game similarly this time and with a front three of Sigurdarson, Zyro and Helan a more palatable outcome always seemed fanciful.

All three of those players are willing but limited in their individual talents and therefore unlikely to ever thrive as a combination.

I’ve never been an advocate of Siggy playing out wide and his inclusion over the likes of Byrne (not even in the squad) or even young Conor Hunte never seemed anything close to good judgment.

James Henry’s return will improve our short term prospects, but his half time introduction failed to lift the team as Ipswich took a firmer grip on proceedings.

The midfield trio also failed to shine, once again calling into question why Kevin McDonald isn’t even being summoned from the bench?

Regardless of the reasons he’s out of the side, when you’re staring down the barrel of another shutout it seems odd not to use your most creative player.

Kenny Jackett can’t have ignored the sarcastic applause and chants of ‘boring’ that reverberated around the South Bank as this agricultural snore fest rumbled towards its inevitable climax.

In a fitting tribute to our season, everyone just couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

I think some of you felt I went overboard in my assessment of the draw against Burnley.

Ipswich Wolves

But given how disappointing this season has been, was it not encouraging to see us stand to toe-to-toe – and at times out maneuver – the league leaders?

Considering that we’ve ripped apart last season’s team, started from scratch and fielded an eleven primarily made up of academy graduates, I think the performance justified the praise.

And I also think in the last month we’ve seen that even stripped down to the bare bones, we can still field a team capable of competing with anyone in the league on a game-to-game basis.

Even if we assume there will be no dosh to spend over the summer, with the players we’ve still got to comeback and the potential of what’s already out on the pitch, there is at least some cause for optimism, right?

Ipswich

Ipswich logoVilla fans have been turning their noses up this week at the idea of Mick McCarthy being their next boss. Personally, I think they should crawl on their hands and knees to Portman Road and beg him to take over.

For all his shortcomings, he’s once again over-performing this season keeping a low-budget Ipswich team on the coattails of the play-offs entering the home straight.

It looks like five teams pursuing two places and although Derby and Sheffield Wednesday have the deepest squads on paper, I would never bet against the Tractor Boys.

Mind you, losing to Rotherham and Cardiff prior to the international break will have been painful for different reasons and must be considered major setbacks.

Darryl Murphy will sit this one out after getting injured on Ireland duty, which is good news for Wolves given his previous record. That could just tip the scales in our favour.

Wolves

Poor old Jed Wallace looked a dead cert to play every game between now and the end of the season, but will now struggle to get any minutes after doing himself a mischief at Turf Moor. His absence will likely force the only change.

Wolves for Ipswich

Joe Gallen talked last week about Burnley being a ‘now team’ whereas Wolves were a team that would continue to develop and get better. I kind of buy into that but I’d like to see a few more ‘now players’ to supplement the youthful exuberance.

Kevin McDonald would be one so will be interesting to see if Kenny Jackett throws him a bone tomorrow. James Henry is also back in contention after training all week, so he may feature, which would be handy as he’s scored a couple of times against Ipswich in recent years.

The gaffer

Predictions

Last season’s draw that ultimately ended our play-off aspirations was a really turgid affair. Ipswich did a great job of keeping things tight and repelling the Sako, Dicko, Afobe wave.

They’ll experience a much different Wolves side tomorrow, without that dynamic attacking flair but probably more comfortable duking it out all over the pitch.

I think a draw is the most likely outcome, but I’ll back us to edge it.

2-1

Up The Wolves!

Ipswich Town 2 Wolves 2

Well, that’s one point we didn’t get last season.

Afobe Ipswich celebration

And perhaps we should accentuate the positives after twice fighting back to dig out a credible result.

History nearly repeated itself with Daryl Murphy putting them 2-1 ahead after a James Henry equaliser, but thankfully Benik Afobe rewrote the script.

It was good to see our talisman back on the scoresheet, particularly as we head into a run of winnable fixtures. He needed that shot of confidence.

Jordan Graham finally got his long overdue run out and was arguably Wolves’ best player and most potent attacking threat.

After seeing Sheyi Ojo and Nathan Byrne fail to consistently impress, he took his chance and must be a dead cert to continue against MK Dons next weekend.

Carl Ikeme was back between the sticks and it’s up for debate whether his odd positioning allowed them to score a soft looking second.

Adam Le Fondre emerged from the bench to give his team a much needed lift, causing problems with incisive runs. It was his inch perfect cross that allowed Afobe to nod in the equaliser.

Despite his contribution, 451 (without Le Fondre) reverting to 442 when needed seems like the best formula for consistently accruing points.

Kenny Jackett must also feel much better about his options from the bench these days, with two very different options in attack to choose from, a couple of wingers and suitable cover at the back.

With two games to come against teams inside the bottom three, it’s now or never for this squad to prove they belong higher up the ladder.

Many will recall a similar run of games in the season we were banished to League One. Peterborough and Ipwich were the opponents that year and both beat us to set the alarm bells ringing.

Something tells me we don’t have to worry about that type of pain and suffering, but if we can’t win either of these matches serious questions must be asked.

But while I’m accentuating positives, that’s something I simply refuse to contemplate.

Ipswich Town Vs Wolves Preview

The worst thing about being midtable is your outlook changes with each and every result.

Ipswich

Win and you’re suddenly dreaming about a run of positive form to get you back in the play-off picture.

Lose and you’re left wondering how many points are needed for safety.

But something about this team makes me think we needn’t stress about either. I think we’re about where we should be.

Whatever is on the horzion though, a long overdue victory against Mick McCarthy would certainly go down nicely.

Ipswich

Ipswich logoLove or loathe him, there’s no denying good old MM can build a Championship team. They’re no doubt disappointed to be down in 10th after last season, but that’s probably about par.

With the possible exception of Birmingham, the Tractor Boys simply don’t have anywhere near the spending power of the teams above them.

Recent form is solid with two wins preceded by two draws so they’re building up a nice head of steam heading into December.

Daryl Murphy finally started scoring again at Rotherham, but he’s an injury doubt of this one. He scored twice in this fixture last season so his absence would be no bad thing.

They’re more vulnerable defensively this season having already conceded 23 goals, which is two more than their opponents tomorrow.

Wolves

The performance was solid against Burnley so it’s difficult to envisage wholesale changes to the team. But Kenny has proved me wrong many times before.

Wolves Ipswich

With Martinez struggling, Carl Ikeme may get his recall. I can’t foresee any other changes at the back, but it’s good to have reinforcements to call upon all the same.

Further forward it wouldn’t surprise me to see Price hooked in favour of Coady if Kenny wants more bite against a battling Ipswich side and I don’t think Ojo did enough last time to justify his place.

There are all sorts of options for the manager to explore and no excuse for a repeat of the non-performance we saw at Ashton Gate.

The gaffer

Predictions

All three times we’ve played McCarthy’s Ipswich they’ve strangled the game and muscled us out. Are we any better equipped to cope this time?

The best case scenario is probably a smash and grab, but I suspect our inconsistency will likely rear it’s ugly head once more.

My head says defeat, but I’ll be positive and opt for a score draw – 1-1

Up the Wolves!