Wolves 1 Leicester City 0

This team has potential.

Midfielders not afraid to get on the ball, defenders who were keen to find said midfielders with simple passes that allowed them to play, and pacy wingers making smart runs.

Nuno’s building from the back looks like it could bear fruit, with one or two targeted additions still needed.

Granted it was an unfit and one-paced Leicester City side, but there were still some big names on show and it was a useful test. Our passing was a joy to behold at times, and crucially we now have the players capable of playing that way.

Three things stood out for me watching yesterday’s game:

1.) Central midfield. We all knew Neves was a class act, but some of the passes were fantastic. The ball out to Barry Douglas (who also gave a very accomplished performance) was always on, and he was ably assisted by a confident Romain Saiss. Jack Price came in and showed flashes, even if it is hard to join a game that late on.

2.) Connor Coady. He looked revitalised at centre back. Without the burden of having to mark forwards, leaving that to Miranda and Boly, he read the game excellently and organised things nicely. He uses his midfield nouse to play simple passes, and was a pivotal part of the back 3. His goal line clearance from Jamie Vardy typified his attitude, even if it was a poor attempt from the England man.

3.) Forwards. I would not be happy if we didn’t sign a forward this summer. We are in dire need of one to act as a focal point, especially with doubts over Nouha Dicko’s fitness. The front three yesterday combined nicely, but Bright Enobakhare’s wastefulness suggests he still needs to develop. You got the feeling that the front three yesterday were always looking for the final ball rather than a shot. If this morning’s rumours of a homecoming for Andre Gray (a Wolverhampton lad and Jorge Mendes client) are true, this would be a most welcome addition to the squad.

Cavaleiro’s goal was a great strike worthy of winning any game, but we can’t rely on screamers every week.

There was, however, an air of optimism around Molineux yesterday, albeit of the cautious variety. If we can somehow add a clinical edge to the team, there is reason to be confident.

Roll on Middlesbrough next week.

Leicester City 2 Wolves 1

It’s the hope that kills you.

Leicester Wolves

Hope of dramatic late arrivals, new faces and fresh impetus.

Hope of a lazy, penny-pinching hierarchy taking decisive action.

Hope that different players in a different formation will produce a different outcome.

Hope that Ward will tackle and not retreat.

Hope that Sako’s scud missile will be the decisive turning point.

Hope that Henry will shoot and not shy-away.

Hope that your leading scorer will fire and not fluff.

Hope that a good performance is at least a sign of better things to come.

Hope that Danny Batth can play that well every week.

Hope.

But as the the clock ticks over to 11pm and the lights go off and the statement arrives, hope turns to disappointment.

Cheer up chaps, at least we didn’t sell Doyler. And there’s still the emergency loan window. Yippee!

Thanks goodness for that.

Because this is an emergency.

We hope for better.

Leicester City Vs Wolves Preview

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy a Thursday evening, Sky come along and spoil the party.

Wolves Leicester

On the plus side, if Wolves do slip to another traumatising nil-pwa we should all have sufficient recovery time to enjoy the weekend.

That’s something right?

I don’t need to tell you Leicester are flying high and after a few seasons of steady building, now look well set for promotion.

Much like Cardiff, they’ve suffered enough Championship football to warrant a crack at the Premiership. Good luck to them I say.

It’s tight for second place, with the likes of Hull, Palace and Middlesborough refusing to go away and Watford sneaking up on the rails.

So they need the points.

Fortunately for the Foxes, they boast a formidable home record with 10 wins from 14 matches and only 2 defeats.

An already strong squad has been further bolstered by the acquisition of Albion forward Chris Wood. He’s hit the ground running and poses a real threat.

Wolves

I’m hoping that by the time Wolves come out the tunnel at the Walkers Stadium, my preferred lineup will have been rendered obsolete by a flurry of new signings.

Or is that foolishly optimistic?

It’s not surprising that Richard Stearman has packed his bags for Ipswich, but should we really be loaning a player to a relegation rival? Selling him to get some cash maybe, but a loan? I’m not sure what that achieves.

Anyway, assuming we have the same pool of players to choose from as Blackpool minus Roger Johnson, this would be my team:

Wolves team for Leicester

Batth should be given his chance if Johnson’s ban isn’t overturned. I remain unconvinced from the glimpses I’ve seen that he’s significantly better than what we’ve got, but he deserves a proper run in the side to prove he can be.

If Zubar isn’t crocked, he must play right-back and it’s a toss-up between Foley and Ward on the opposite side. No real preference for me. That would be an area we’ll almost certainly see filled by a new arrival (you would hope).

It’s got to be five across the midfield.

Doyle was a passenger against Blackpool, so by dropping him and bringing in Davis, we can free up Sako, O’Hara and Peszko to get forward and support a lone forward.

That lone forward should be Siggy for me. He’s yet to enjoy an extended run in the side and what do we have to lose by giving him a chance?

Predictions

15 people correctly predicted doom against Blackpool.

The following 6 of those got the scoreline too for maximum points, so well done to: westozwolf, ash k, timberwolf, MrAussieWolf, Old Goldy and me.

It’s a single for the other 9.

Against all my better judgment I think we might take something from this game. Not confident enough to go all out though.

1-1

Up The Wolves.

Wolves 2 Leicester City 1

The grand old clock on the South Bank roof was telling the wrong time this afternoon, which was probably the most inappropriate sight of all when Leicester were peppering our goal.

All these assists are wearing me out

With a second successive East Midlands team threatening a last gasp equaliser, it was pretty much the same time, same place but for the grace of God and a lick of paint.

There’s no doubting the sweet taste of this win – against a promotion candidate of some repute – but there’s also no doubting that we are a long way from being a finished article.

With Ståle Solbakken’s vision of progression clearly some way from bearing fruit, each point gained from this formative season is all the more vital, making this win really quite big.

But by god were there some fingernails bitten during those 95 minutes!

With an alarming drop in fitness, epitomised by a bizarre Bakary Sako performance, we looked leggy and desperate the longer the game went on.

But we survived, we won and we can all look forward to Ipswich with some degree of confidence.

Despite Waghorn hitting a post, Nugent heading inches wide and sub Knockaert going close twice, the defence were as good as I’ve seen for some time, believe it or not.

Johnson and Berra were clear man-of-the-match contenders, while Ward was impressive and Stearman as enigmatic as he was heroic when scoring our second.

The lack of support from midfield appears to be the biggest problem, as Henry and Doumbia became increasingly isolated as our wide men failed to offer adequate support.

If we’re trying to play narrow, it didn’t look like it today and as tired bodies gave way to tired minds, we were hanging on at the end.

Another positive was the front-two of Doyle and Sylvan, who actually represented something of a partnership, particularly in the first half when terrorising a shaky Leicester defence.

The latter scored a header from a Sako free-kick, while the Frenchman delivered a corner which ended up at the feet of Stearman who scored against his former club.

Peszko was busy, while Doumbia looked a class act alongside Karl Henry, who underlined what an indispensable player he really is for us.

Sigurdarson also looked a handful off the bench, to suggest that all in all, there isn’t a great deal wrong with the squad when judging individual showings alone.

Collectively however, we still look one bleep test short of a picnic, with a midfield offering little support to a back four with enough on its plate.

If Solbakken’s demeanour was anything to go on the touchline then he’ll iron out such problems soon…

…Hopefully in the time it takes to fix the clock on the South Bank roof!

Wolves Vs Leicester City Preview

As frustrating as a two week break can be at such an early stage in the season, Ståle Solbakken  no doubt appreciated the timing.

Big win

The checklist was simple: Get the ship in order (laters Terry), rally the troops, settle down for the long slog ahead.

And as we re-enter the fray at Molineux on Sunday, I think everyone is hoping to see improvement against a hotly-tipped Leicester side.

The Foxes saw off early pacesetters Blackpool last time out, winning comfortably by all accounts despite the 1-0 scoreline.

But their away form has been poor thus far, losing 2-1 in both of their games at Blackburn and Charlton.

Still, when you look at their side – St Ledger, Morgan, Dyer, Nugent, Waghorn –  they’ve got players who know how to win in this division. I think they’ll be right at the top come the end of the season.

Wolves

Despite the many new arrivals, it will probably be the name of Karl Henry that gets the biggest cheer come Sunday. The skipper’s return is timely, as we’ve looked woefully open through the middle in the games he’s missed.

Kevin Foley is also back in the groove and I would throw him straight in too. His composure and ability to put a foot on the ball from the back is something we know from experience can be invaluable at this level. Be good to see Margreitter in there alongside him, to freshen up the defence. New faces are needed I feel.

I’d like to see a change up front too, with one of our new strikers given a run from the start. Either is fine really.

When we need to be more direct in games, we need a more direct threat and with a Doyle/Ebanks-Blake partnership, I don’t think we have that. I’d like to see a more imposing physical presence up there in the Chris Iwelumo mould.

Peszko has yet to convince me so I’d like to see what Boukari can do.

We should have a much stronger bench for this one too, with options for most positions. That can only be a good thing. The less we have to rely on youngsters, the better.

Opposition view

Here’s a few snippets I lifted from Leicester forum, Foxes Talk:

“Can see a loss here sadly. Wolves in need of a pick me up and last season is still fresh in the mind where we didn’t win 2 in a row til March. We concede too many sloppy goals away and there always seems to be a hard luck story. If we take the game to them like we did against Blackpool we can win but we must be more clinical in the final 3rd.”

“I think we’ll win but then I always do, Wolves have done little yet to suggest they will be a force this season, no idea who their manager is, lost some decent players over the summer.”

“Wolves away isn’t an easy match and the fact that our away form hasn’t been great so far I’d settle for a point.”

Predictions

12 people correctly thought we’d get stuffed at Cardiff. Of those 12, just 2 got the correct scoreline.

Well done to kwolf and Tettenhall Wolf for doubling up. A single for the other 10.

I’ll say score draw this weekend. Hoping for a big improvement, particularly as we’re at home. Leicester are a tough proposition though and if they setup with an extra man in midfield, I worry we’ll be overrun.

On balance then – 2-2.

Up The Wolves.