Leyton Orient 1 Wolves 3

As I write this report we still await Brentford’s result at MK Dons.

Wolves Leyton Orient

But in every respect, save for one mathematical anomaly, Wolves are champions of League One.

With the least goals conceded, most goals scored and a points tally that could yet write one more notable record, deservedly so you would say.

From the 99 points already accumulated, today’s three weren’t the easiest gained, a fact underlined by Carl Ikeme again taking home the champagne.

Our goalkeeper repeatedly bailed his team mates out as Orient poured forward either side of half time.

They’ll also count themselves unlucky following a strong penalty shout for handball and a goal chalked off for a marginal offside decision.

By that point, Wolves had already inflicted requisite damage thanks to a smart Stearman header and a well directed Sako volley.

And with the storm weathered after the break, the final third of the game was seen out with relative ease.

James Henry’s exclamation point finish added gloss to the scoreline and gave the midfielder a double digit goal tally for the season.

He’s been unlucky to find himself out of the side after playing an instrumental role for the majority of this sparkling campaign. But that in itself pays tribute to the strength of Kenny Jackett’s squad.

Wolves fans at Leyton Orient

His thoughts, for all his denials, must now be turning towards what might need adding to this record breaking group to ensure a comfortable Championship transition.

Evolution not revolution is the order of the day. To rip this team apart on the assumption they won’t be able to compete would be a bold and risky approach.

How they operate as a unit and not just as individuals has perhaps been the most impressive aspect of all.

That cohesion must be preserved at all costs.

It’s the hallmark of champions.

Leyton Orient Vs Wolves Preview

Leyton Orient and Sky would both have hoped for significantly more to be riding on this fixture.

Leyton Orient Wolves

As it is, Wolves are the only party with a vested interest in the outcome.

Victory would effectively guarantee the League One title courtesy of a vastly superior goal difference to Brentford.

The hosts, having already guaranteed their play-off position, might want to cement a third place finish to avoid playing Rotherham or Preston in the semi-finals.

Pride is also at stake, with Os no doubt keen to win the final battle having already lost out on the war. It promises to be a great game.

Leyton Orient

Leyton_Orient_FCIt looked for all the world that Russell Slade’s team would maintain the two points a game average needed to be pushing right to the end.

But they’ve faded badly coming down the home straight with only three wins in their last ten matches.

Many thought the depth of their squad would ultimately cost them and despite reinforcements arriving in January, I think that’s proved the case.

Six home defeats have been expensive and with Wolves and Brentford losing just twice and three times on their own grounds respectively, that’s been the difference.

Top scorers Mooney (19) and Lisbie (15) have enjoyed fantastic seasons, but they’ve found goals harder to come by in the second half of the campaign. They remain a real threat.

Wolves

I think it’s safe to say Wolves were made to work for the full 90 against Rotherham on Friday. I’m expecting some changes for this one.

Wolves team for Orient

Jack Price has perhaps been a bit unfortunate to find himself out of the side of late, so a recall for him in place of Evans could be a decent bet.

Dave Edwards worked tirelessly and as a persistent injury risk, he must be a prime candidate for a rest. James Henry would be a useful replacement.

Dicko was another who ran himself into the ground on Friday and Clarke is due another chance to ignite his second spell at the club.

The odds

Wolves are favourites for the win at 6/5, whilst the draw and a Leyton Orient victory are both 5/2.

As we saw on Friday, games can really open up at this stage of the season, so another high scoring affair isn’t entirely unlikely.

6-4 is probably a stretch but a more realistic 3-2 win for Wolves is available at 25/1. All odds here.

Predictions

Well done to the 49 of you that correctly predicted a win against Rotherham. Unbelievably, nobody got the correct scoreline, although Clive did forecast the 6 Wolves goals.

I can’t give you any additional points for that mate (rules are rules) but I can pay tribute by replicating your unshakable confidence.

5-1 for me then.

Up The Wolves

Wolves 1 Leyton Orient 1

If you create 90% of the chances but score just 50% of the goals, it’s obvious where the game got away.

Wolves Leyton Orient

The numbers don’t lie. Wolves registered three times as many shots, forced six more corners and enjoyed the majority share of possession.

Yet after an hour of almost total domination, the league leaders were still only trailing by Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s superb early goal.

Cue a quickly taken free kick, a fabulous ball across goal and a player actually attacking the back post for a tap-in.

The high-flying visitors, with the only real chance they created all afternoon, ceasing the initiative with the sort of ruthless finishing their opponents simply couldn’t muster.

Kevin McDonald was perhaps most wasteful, cantering clean through on goal but seeing a tame effort palmed away with an absence of gold shirts hanging around for the loose ball.

Jake Cassidy and the lively Michael Jacobs were equally wasteful as Wolves pummeled away to no avail.

Leigh Griffiths, again on a watching brief, wasn’t introduced to the game until after the O’s had taken the wind from the sails. He was ineffective but surrounded by tired legs, starved of any service.

If Kenny Jackett believes Cassidy’s graft and hold up play are adequate enough reasons to keep our top scorer on the sidelines, I respectfully disagree.

But whichever side you fall on that particular argument it’s clear what should be at the very top of the manger’s January shopping list.

Because today, like too many performance of late, could only be described as one thing – a missed opportunity.

Wolves Vs Leyton Orient Preview

It’s funny how things work out.

Orient

After going stride for stride for over four and a half months, League One’s top two, separated only by goal difference, now finally lock horns having played every other team in the division.

What a picture perfect way to bring down the curtain on the first half of the season in front of a packed out Molineux.

Leyton Orient

Orient have been the league’s outstanding side so far and deservedly go into this match at the very top of the ladder.

As an outsider looking in, they appear to have accumulated their 47 points more comfortably than Wolves.

The O’s have netted 47 goals, which is a strike rate of more than two a game. No secret then to where their strength lies.

David Mooney and Kevin Lisbie have shared 23 of those goals, so it promises to be a tough afternoon for our back four still protecting the league’s best defensive record.

Like Wolves, Orient’s form has been patchy of late with only one win in their last five. It also took a late turnaround at Gillingham on Boxing Day to get that crucial victory.

Russel Slade’s team have the best away record in the league with 8 wins from their 12 games and just one defeat. They’ve also netted a staggering 27 goals on their travels.

Wolves

I’ll be very disappointed if we see the same starting XI that just about dispatched Crewe. This would be my team without question:

Wolves team for Orient

That team (with the exception of Doherty) is the best blend of experience, ability, defensive prowess and attacking menace KJ has at his disposal.

I would always back that side to prevail, even against Orient. However, it might be that Kenny has something specific in mind for our illustrious opponents.

The odds

The bookies have Wolves as favourites to win this one at 21/20. Orient are 14/5 and the draw is 13/5.

O’s midfielder Dean Cox is generous odds for first goalscorer at 14/1. He already has 10 strikes to his name this season.

Leigh Griffiths has found the goals harder to come by of late, but he’s still considered the most likely first scorer at 15/4.

All odds can be found here.

Predictions

Most people correctly thought we’d beat Crewe, so well done to all (53) of you. 15 also got the scoreline spot on to double up.

With practically identical records up to this point, a draw seems the most likely conclusion. But we haven’t beaten any teams inside the current top six and that has to change.

I’m therefore adding a dash of bias and a sprinkle of optimism in the hope of our best performance of the season to date.

Don’t let me down lads – 3-1

Up The Wolves!