Wolves 1 Rotherham United 0

We won.

That’s the only positive.

Honestly.

I can’t think of anything else good to say about any individual player or the collective performance.

What was Paul Lambert thinking?

He somehow managed to pick the most defensive starting eleven anyone could possibly muster that still appeared to be wide open at the back.

Rotherham should have been two goals clear before Helder Costa wasted a penalty and Andi Weimann’s determination secured the ill-gotten points.

So limp were our attacking efforts throughout against a team who statistically can’t defend – averaging just under three goals conceded per game away from home – the contest was still up for grabs in the dying seconds when their center half mercifully shanked one over from right under the crossbar.

Pathetic.

The result is of course crucial but it doesn’t justify the performance.

And the performance was a reflection of the ridiculous team selection – the blame for which lies squarely at one man’s feet.

To play two defensive midfielders at full back was ridiculous. They offered nothing going in either direction.

Matt Doherty has been one of our most consistent performers for two seasons and is arguably one of the best attacking full-backs in the league. Leaving him out at home, when we need to sort out the whipping boys is madness.

And where exactly was Dave Edwards supposed to be playing? He offered little to no support to Weimann and barely got a foot on the ball all game.

Surely if you’re going to play two holding midfielders, there has to be one attacking midfielder ahead of them?

I just don’t get it. What was the plan?

Of the three genuine attacking players we fielded, Marshall tried and showed moments of ability, Weimann did what he could from laughably little service and Costa continues to sit on his deckchair.

I’m sorry, if we’re going to lambast the workhorses for a lack of ability our £12 million winger needs a rocket up his rear end for the dross he’s been turning out lately.

Against Wigan, Blues and today again he was totally anonymous. And don’t tell me he was marked out of the game or surrounded because he wasn’t. It’s just not acceptable.

The biggest travesty of all though is that people will focus on the boos that deservedly accompanied the full time whistle when in fact the support was tremendous throughout considering what was served up.

It’s the crowd that deserve better.

Sort it out Wolves.

Wolves Vs Rotherham United Preview

We have to win this game.

That means starting fast, getting on the front foot early, getting ahead and seeing it through with confidence.

Our League One bound opponents need to feel smothered from the first minute, completely inferior, given no hope and ruthlessly dispatched.

This and only this will give Molineux confidence we’re not going to slip down to the third tier again ourselves.

Failing that, a scrappy one nil will do.

Rotherham

Rotherham are bad, I mean really bad. Think how awful our season has been and we’ve more than doubled their points tally.

81 goals conceded already, which is at least 30 more than anyone else with a half decent defence. Wolves have only let in 46.

They’re hardly rattling them in at the other end either. 32 goals scored makes them the second limpest attack in the division with only Wigan (31) worse off.

Their away record reads played 18, drawn 1, lost 17, scored 12, conceded 52. Nothing else needs to be said.

After Alan Stubbs was sacked and Kenny Jackett decided he didn’t fancy it after just a few weeks in charge, Paul Warne has the unenviable job of seeing out the season.

Wolves

Paul Lambert took some abuse for his team selection on Tuesday, but collecting that point, which could easily have been three, was important to stop the slide. But now he has to go for it.

I commented on the previous thread that I feel much of our problem stems from the fact we don’t get enough match winners onto the pitch.

Costa, Cavaleiro and Enobakhare all have the individual talent to win us this game and should all start. I’ve gone for Price and Saiss holding but either could easily be replaced by Edwards to give us more thrust.

I’d play two attacking full backs, moving Marshall back there if he’s coming into form and bring Williamson straight back into the fold.

You can’t say for definite that any team would win, but I do know the above eleven would create a lot of chances against a team who seemingly can’t defend.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

3-1 Wolves.

It’s one of those matches where I can’t bear the thought of not winning so I’m shutting my eyes and hoping for the best.

I hope Paul Lambert is brave in his team selection and picks an attacking lineup. If we try to make the game tight and cagey, I think that’s playing more into their hands.

We’ve got the creative, attacking players at our disposal to really go after Rotherham so I hope he is wise enough to use them.

Up The Wolves!

Rotherham United 2 Wolves 2

Today was only ever about finding reasons to feel optimistic.

Dadi

And by full time I left the New York Stadium feeling sufficiently nourished by what I’d witnessed.

Most of that owes to Jón Daði Böðvarsson.

The big Icelandic striker was supreme. Colossal. Even in a first half where attacking play from Wolves was minimal, his every involvement seemed to please.

For starters, he’s a big unit and won most of his headers. He also held the ball up superbly and showed intelligence with neat lay offs.

But most satisfyingly of all, he was happy to spin off, turn and run towards goal. Rotherham had no answer.

He only had one clear sight all game but stuck that in the top bin to cap a fine performance and encourage the inevitable slow clap celebration from the away end.

That equaliser was fully merited by the way, as Wolves bossed the entire second half despite being relieved of Dominic Iorfa’s services.

If anything, the sending off galvanised our plodding midfield into action, as Walter Zenga persevered with three at the back and simply asked everyone to work harder.

It worked a treat too, particularly after the introduction of Joao Teixeira who linked the play brilliantly and setup Böðvarsson’s goal with a perfectly weighted pass.

What pleased me most about him though was his attitude, as he continually offered himself up for a pass, pointed where he wanted the ball and demanded more from his team mates.

That’s an encouraging sign for the future, suggesting he won’t be a fair weather performer.

Prior to all this, Rotherham had taken a firm grip on proceedings with two disappointing goals from our perspective.

A glancing header from a corner (with nobody on the post) and a swerving, dipping 30 yarder seemed to have taken the game away.

They came out with greater enthusiasm and moved the ball well, but it was soon evident, particularly after Wolves pulled a goal back, they didn’t have another gear.

New York Stadium

There was an element of fortune to George Saville’s goal, as he ran onto what looked like a loose pass, but the finish in rounding the keeper and squeezing the ball in from the angle was excellent.

I wasn’t overly impressed by his performance – similar can be said of Wallace and Mason – but that was possibly the defining moment in the game.

With a mandate to hunt the equaliser in the second half, Wolves were a different beast and the intensity was finally there.

There is much to improve and it’s safe to say we’ll face much, much sterner tests, but this felt like a good start.

With more signings almost certain to follow and a strong early display of team spirit, there are unquestionably reasons to feel optimistic.

Long may that continue.

Save

Save

Rotherham United Vs Wolves Preview

The summer of 2016 will live long in the memory. Parts of it anyway.

Alan Stubbs

Sleep inducing monotony for nigh on two months and then machine gun activity ever since.

New owners, new manager, (some) new players and a brave new world where anything and everything could happen.

And whatever your persuasion it certainly won’t be boring, which is merciful relief after the dullest end to a season I can recall.

I was a fan of Kenny Jackett, if not the regime he was working under, but if he had to be collateral damage for the bigger picture to improve then so be it.

I’m not convinced by Walter Zenga, but I hope he’s given fair opportunity and resources to be successful.

Rotherham

Rotherham_United_FCAfter looking League One bound for most of last season, it took an unbelievable run of results under Neil Warnock to keep the Millers up.

They’ll be disappointed he didn’t stay, as it seemed an excellent fit. But Alan Stubbs is an interesting choice and will have plenty of enthusiasm to make his mark as a coach at this level.

They’ve brought in players regularly over the last week, which may work to our advantage as it will be impossible for the head coach to know his best team. Similar to us I suppose.

To give you the insider perspective, I got this from Rotherham fan Dean (follow him on Twitter here):

It’s been a turgid summer in South Yorkshire, with Millers fans venting their frustration over a lack of recruitment. With a new managerial appointment comes inevitable expectation of improvement on last years survival miracle worked by Neil Warnock, but finding the right players has been tough.

The stamp seems to be value for money, rather than the scattergun approach of last summer that saw a host of average signings by Steve Evans, and a season consisting of three managers.

This time around will be another hard 9 months of graft, but with players slowly arriving through the door until the end of the transfer window and an ethos of trying to play more exciting football, we’re hoping for better – and to find  the right blend of being entertaining whilst picking up points to enable a comfortable campaign.

Wolves will also be hoping for a much better season, but with the sacking of Kenny Jackett, I guess Saturday’s game between the clubs will be met with a dose of mystery. I’ll stay well clear of predictions, other than I think the game has potential for a few goals. With the tough start we have with both Villa (is that word allowed?) and Brighton away to come, I’d be content with a point to get things off and running.

Wolves

Even though I’ve been less than impressed by our recruitment to date, there is a logic that the combination of our existing work horses and what are hopefully better technicians could work nicely. Here’s my fancy new predicted lineup graphic:

Team for Rotherham

Tomorrow I’d imagine Zenga will pick largely from the battle hardened group of Championship performers who’ve gone through a vigorous pre-season.

I am hoping to see big Jón Daði Böðvarsson start up front though, as I’m not convinced about Joe Mason’s ability to lead the line. Niall Ennis is another option but he’d probably be more effective from the bench.

It’s all complete guesswork at this stage of course, until we get a flavour for how Zenga likes to setup, his preferred personnel and the readiness of our new players to step in.

The manager

Predictions

The Prediction League is back for the 2016/17 season so I hope you’ll all join in with the fun.

If you’re new to the game, the rules are simple:

  1. In every match preview (such as this one), enter your score prediction in the boxes provided in the comment section below.
  2. Please ensure that you comment using the same email address every time you make a prediction. Your email address is what connects you to your overall score. If you use multiple email addresses, your scores will be split and you’ll appear lower down the overall table.
  3. The overall table can be accessed on the Prediction League page here. I can sometimes be a bit lax in updating it, but you’ll always see a note above the table as to when it was last updated.

As for tomorrow, I’m going for a score draw. Much like Dean the Rotherham fan, I can see there being goals at both ends and I also suspect they’re a better team than most pundits – who have them down for relegation – are giving them credit for.

2-2.

Up The Wolves!

Save

Wolves 0 Rotherham United 0

I think it was about 1994 when someone discovered the goal in front of the North Bank was too big and the crossbar had to be lowered by several inches.

Mason

But not before Neil Emblen and Robbie Dennison had both delivered postage stamps to secure some ill-gotten points.

Maybe Kenny and co should consider redeploying this tactic against Sheffield Wednesday in a fortnight?

Or just play Kevin McDonald.

Either would be acceptable to an increasingly apathetic home crowd who’ve taken to cheering every shot on target as the drought continues unabated.

Four consecutive nil nils is a phenomenon. Has it ever happened before (anywhere)? Will it ever happen again?

Today’s history makers were guiltier of wasting chances than failing to create them as Joe Mason twice, Dave Edwards and George Saville all fluffed their lines.

And Carl Ikeme was enough to prevent Rotherham ending the goalless sequence as the minutes slipped away on our Redrow wrist-strap scoreboard.

Kenny Jackett said afterwards he’d exhausted all available options, which seems questionable considering he only deployed one substitute and again overlooked Kevin McDonald – who hasn’t played a single minute in any of the four stalemates.

Whatever your persuasion when it comes to our head coach, it’s impossible not to share the frustration of the masses at his current tactical oversights.

One switch that did work was moving Dominic Iorfa into the middle alongside Danny Batth. His attributes are more suited to a central role and he was comfortable in there today.

Bright Enobokhare and Sylvan Deslandes showed great potential and also their inexperience and lack of physical strength in up and down performances. Both should come back better next season.

Collectively, there was some better approach play but that too often broke down in the final third where quality and a killer instinct were both absent.

Joe Mason isn’t the man to put your house on, proven by his failure to convert any of the three one-on-one situations he’s faced this week.

There’s no lack of movement or enthusiasm, but I don’t see him ever finishing on a consistent enough basis or making goals for himself in the way Nouha Dicko so often has.

Drawing another blank today in a fixture that has seen 15 goals shared out in the two previous seasons is a fitting indicator of how significantly the landscape has shifted on and off the pitch.

Molineux is barren and patience is in equally short supply.

Wolves Vs Rotherham United Preview

Like most of you, I don’t agree with some of the choices Kenny Jackett is making.

Edwards Rotherham

Kevin McDonald’s continued omission being chief among them (although I think there’s something else going on there).

But I do think because the football is ugly, people take for granted the things he has done right.

Before the Derby game, I felt there was a real threat we could get dragged right down if things continued to deteriorate.

We were paper thin and blown away at Brentford, offering little as an attacking force too. So to me what he did next made total sense i.e. shutting up shop.

The points we accumulated got us over the line, so I don’t think anyone can categorically say this was the wrong move. And actually, with the players he had, I thought this was smart.

More over I think he would play attacking football if he had the players to do it. In fact we know this because he did it for the two years the preceded this one.

Rotherham

Rotherham_United_FCNo questions are being asked of Neil Warnock, that’s for sure. What a fantastic job he’s done in a short period of time.

They’re undefeated in their last 10 matches, which includes six wins. That sequence has transported them from dead and buried to comfortably safe. Only Brighton have done better in the same period.

As Kenny is always saying, they’ve built a platform by only conceding 0s and 1s, but unlike Wolves, they’ve managed to get ahead in games and score goals.

Fortunately we were able to visit the New York Stadium earlier in the season before they’d got their act together and before Jordan Graham’s injury curtailed our aspirations.

I believe Warnock’s contract is up at the end the season so surely they’ll be begging him to carry on next season? If they don’t, they’re mad.

Wolves

Sounded pretty dire against Leeds, but we could have taken a point if Joe Mason had been more clinical in front of goal.

Team for Rotherham

George Saville did score and a tidy finish it was. I think there’s still mixed opinion on the former Chelsea man, but he’s had a good run of games now and certainly scored some important goals.

I’d like to see a few changes in the midfield though to try different combinations. Coady and Wallace for Saville and Helan is one idea. Obviously I’d love to see McDonald involved but that looks increasingly like wishful thinking.

Le Fondre played against his former club in the earlier fixture and KJ said he was influenced by that, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him involved from the start tomorrow.

The gaffer

Predictions

Rotherham are looking formidable of late and you wouldn’t back us to be the first team to beat them in a while on current form.

But I think we’re overdue a good home performance and I’ve just got a feeling we might get something out of our senior players tomorrow.

Given that we don’t score at home these days and Rotherham hardly concede, I’ll go for the only winning margin that makes sense.

1-0

Up The Wolves!