Archives for September 2009

Big Chance for Big Chris

After a torrid six months out with injury, Big Chris Iwelumo is ready to make his first-team comeback and I for one am delighted to see the giant Scot returning to action.

Having already carved his name into Molineux folklore with a huge contribution to Wolves Championship winning success, our number one target man will finally get the chance to show what he can do at the highest level.

Big Chris - Deserves his chance

Big Chris - Deserves his chance

Of course, there are plenty of people that believe he doesn’t have what it takes to play in the Premiership. These are the same people that wrote him off before even seeing him play, when McCarthy first brought him to the club from Charlton a year ago. They were wrong then and I’m confident they’ll also be wrong this time around.

Looking at our strikers, it’s clear to see that Big Chris gives us an option we don’t already have i.e. a physical presence that can unsettle defences. Doyle, Keogh and SEB all possess great qualities, but none of them are able to impose themselves in the way the former Colchester forward can. The jury’s still out on The Hoff of course, but early indications suggest he isn’t the aerial threat we’d all hoped.

We already know Big Chris brings out the best in SEB, which could prove crucial if we’re to get enough goals to keep us afloat in the Premiership. I’m also licking my lips at the thought of seeing him make a nuisance of himself from the Halford long-throws. Come on, aren’t you?

Now I’m not suggesting for a second that Iwelumo should waltz back into the starting XI. He faces stern competition to even earn a place on the bench. But I’d be surprised if Mick doesn’t give him a fair crack of the whip, after seeing him rip defences apart last season with powerful performances and clinical finishing.

If he does manage to make an impact on Wolves’ season, it would surely mark the pinnacle of the giant forward’s career, having spent much of his time plying his trade in the lower leagues. And to be honest, I can’t think of a player that deserves it more.

Wolves Vs Portsmouth Preview With a Pompey Fan

There’s no doubt about it, this weekend’s match against Portsmouth is the first real six-pointer of the season for Wolves. Win it and we’ll be a massive ten points clear of the Premiership’s bottom club. Lose and it’s down to four points and back to looking anxiously over our shoulders.

So, just to ratchet up the excitement, build-up starts early this week with a guest post from Pompey fan Richard. He’s a friend of Ben’s and a top bloke. Here’s what he has to say:

First of all, a message from this Pompey fan to all Wolves supporters: You’re Welcome.

What for you ask? I’ll tell you. For doing everything we can to help ensure your return to the top flight is not a fleeting one. Our unbelievable and frankly ludicrous implosion both on and off the pitch in recent months means one of the relegations spots Wolves are desperately trying to avoid is all but taken. So as I said, you’re welcome.

European nights against AC Milan already seem a distant memory for the Premiership's bottom club

European nights already seem a distant memory for the Premiership's bottom club

It’s difficult to know where to start when examining the mess we’re in. Just 18 months ago I saw my team, packed full of top class players, lift the FA Cup at Wembley. Less than a year ago I watched us outplay AC Milan in a competitive game at Fratton Park and left disappointed because we only managed a draw.

They were amazing times, but I’m not stupid. I knew we were punching above our weight and living beyond our means. I expected Satchel Face (Harry Redknapp to you) to walk out when a better offer came along. I expected great players like Diarra and Johnson to be sold, and I expected us to become an average at best team again.

What I didn’t expect was such a horrendous car crash of a summer. Our colossal and swift fall from grace has left us with the only penniless Arabian ‘billionaire’, a manager who failed at Rushden & Diamonds, Nottingham Forest and Barnsley, and a player as utterly appalling as Aaron Mokoena wearing the captains armband.

But where there’s life there’s hope and our trip to Molineux represents, in my opinion, a trip to last chance saloon in terms of turning around this living nightmare of a season. We’ve enjoyed draws in our last couple of visits to Wolves but all three points are required this weekend if we have any hope of staying up. But, despite our unenviable P7 W0 D0 L7 start to the season, we’re not without a few decent players. Jamie O’Hara and Aruna Dindane will cause problems for Wolves, and Michael Brown will break the legs of at least one of your players – so don’t think a home win is a foregone conclusion.

If we are to triumph, we’ll need something we haven’t had so far this year, and that’s a bit of luck. We should have drawn if not won against Everton last week, and have suffered defeats thanks to a deflection off Bobby Zamora’s arse and a dodgy 92nd minute penalty at St Andrews.

I’m hoping the fact that it’s my birthday this week means the gods will smile on Pompey and give me something to celebrate. But the way things are going, I wouldn’t bet against Ebanks-Blake finding his shooting boots, David James having one of his calamity afternoons and Wolves deciding not to serve beer in the away end.

One thing’s for sure, and that’s despite our pending relegation, I wouldn’t change the last 6/7 years as a Pompey fan for anything. If we’re paying now for our cup win and six hugely enjoyable years in the top flight, then so be it. I know Wolves fans would jump at the chance to experience half the success we’ve had since both teams were promoted at the end of the 2002/03 season.

But a word of advice, if you do stay up and progress in the league as Pompey did, try not to cock it up like we have.

Play Up Pompey.

Hard Luck: Sunderland 5 Wolves 2

Well, I don’t really know where to start.

First off, let’s point out the blindingly obvious, Wolves shouldn’t have lost this match by three goals. To say the final scoreline was harsh is a whopping great understatement, after a performance full of energy and endeavour.

Kevin Doyle - Best game in a Wolves shirt?

Kevin Doyle - Best game in a Wolves shirt?

We were certainly on the wrong end of some bad decisions in the first half. The early penalty that gave Sunderland the lead was contentious, but I can see why the ref gave it. How he failed to spot Dawson’s shove on Doyle is beyond me though, for what should have been the easiest spot-kick award he’s ever given.

The second half also opened with a penalty for the home side, this time far more obvious as Berra clumsily hung out a leg, after Bent had given him the slip. 

Two nil and it looked like game over. Well, at least to me.

How wrong could I have been? Excellent play by Berra forced the own goal and if we got a little bit lucky to make it two all, then we certainly deserved it having enjoyed far more of the play. Here’s a question: Should Gordon have been sent off for clawing the ball out from the passback? He deliberately prevented a goal by cheating and surely should have walked. Or am I missing something?

Anyway, from there on out a combination of good finishing, slack marking and bad luck distorted the score badly. The horrendous deflection off Mancienne for their fifth, put an appropriate exclamation point on a match that Wolves just always seemed destined to lose, however well they were playing.

But we must at least pick the many positives out of the performance and take them into next week.

Keogh and Doyle were both exceptional, particularly Doyle. Their interchange and movement was very impressive. OK, you could still argue there’s a lack of cutting edge, but in terms of overall performance, they were both outstanding. Doyle ran Dawson ragged at times and for me, was the quality player on the pitch.

I thought Henry was back to his best as well, winning the midfield battle and using the ball far better than he has in recent matches. Halford was another player I’d pick out who competed well and was desperately unlucky to see his header cleared off the line. If only we put defenders on the posts hey?

Can you say a goalkeeper had a great game if he shipped five goals? If so, I’d be happy to give Hennessy a pat on the back. I’m looking at all of the goals and thinking he wasn’t given much chance. But his handling and kicking was again very tidy and he looked pretty assured throughout.

So let’s be positive. Lets take our medicine, however bitter it is to swallow, and move on to a big, big game next week against Pompey. 

The more ‘glass half empty’ amongst us might be smelling a massive banana skin against a Portsmouth side yet to register a single point, but I have confidence that if Wolves meet the standards they’ve set today, they’ll get the result we all want.

Keep the faith.

Up The Wolves.