So, three victories and three defeats from our December program. Could have been better, but definitely could have been a lot worse.
It’s a shame that after good wins over Bolton, Spurs and Burnley, we end the year with back-to-back defeats. Unfortunately though, that’s the cruel nature of the Premier League.
Last night’s match was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I was encouraged by how well we competed with City for long periods, but for all our huff and puff, we never really looked like blowing their house down.
I was disappointed with McCarthy’s team selection, which seemed overly negative and starved us of any real cutting edge in the final third. We sent in a lot of crosses from set pieces and occasionally gave City some uncomfortable moments, but clear cut chances were few and far between. In fact, I can only recall Kevin Doyle’s individual moment of magic forcing Shay Given into any kind of save. Other than that, he was largely untroubled.
Most of Wolves’ best football came in the middle of the park with Surman, Mancienne, Henry and Foley all showing neat touches but never really penetrating the City rearguard with their passes. I’ve got to believe the pace and trickery of Jarvis or the creativity and vision of Milijas would have served us far better last night.
At the back, I thought we did OK, despite shipping three goals. The Garrido free-kick and that late Tevez strike unfairly distorted the final scoreline in my opinion, but if you don’t make the most of your possession, which Wolves didn’t, the top teams will punish you.
We were undoubtedly on the end of some dodgy decisions too of course; none clearer than Bellamy being offside in the lead-up to the free-kick for their second goal. But when the decision went against us, the wall wasn’t setup correctly, and the ball sailed in far, far too easily. Hahnemann has to take some blame for that one.
Some plusses from the match included another impressive display from our record signing. For all the tip-tap passing going on in midfield, Kevin Doyle was the only player who looked like making something happen for Wolves. It’s becoming a familiar tale and I pray that he remains injury free for the lion-share of the season as we’d struggle badly without him.
I also thought Zubar did quite well, but let himself down a few times by simply not concentrating. He’s strong, athletic and decent on the ball for a defender, so has all the attributes to be a great player for Wolves. I just hope that potential is fully realised, because he could end up being very important this season in our bid for survival.
We get a week off from the Premiership adventure now, with the FA Cup match at Tranmere next up. I expect a lot of changes for that match, so we should be recharged and ready to go for crunch back-to-back games against West Ham and Wigan.
The last two matches have been disappointing, but I’ve seen enough to believe we can stay up.
Roll on 2010 I say.
Happy New Year to everyone on Wolves Blog!