Archives for December 2009

Punished: Wolves 0 Man City 3

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.

Tevez - Opened the scoring with the help of a deflection

Tevez - Opened the scoring via a deflection

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!

Unlucky: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

What a shame.

After a spirited first half display, Wolves weren’t given the opportunity to sink their teeth into the second 45. Two quick-fire yellow cards for Stephen Ward effectively destroyed what had been an excellent showing and gave Liverpool the impetus they so desperately needed.

Of course there’s every chance the home side would have gone on to secure the win anyway, but what’s so frustrating is that we’ll never know whether Wolves could have maintained their high level of performance for the entire 90 minutes.

But despite the result, there were plenty of positives to be taken from the game.

Reina - Boxing Day villain

Reina - Boxing Day villain

Berra and Craddock were again immense at the heart of our defence, winning headers, throwing their bodies on the line and leaving Torres with very little to feed on. They were ably supported by a tough-tackling Richard Stearman and a typically competetive Stephen Ward, up until that strange dismissal.

Doyle and SEB  were also very impressive, causing the Liverpool back four all kinds of problems with their strength and trickery. In fact, both were unlucky not to score, especially Doyle, who would surely have found the net had he met a Nenad Milijas corner with his head rather than his shoulder. That was certainly our best chance and had it gone in, I think it would have given us a deserved lead at that point.

But it wasn’t to be and the game was effectively over five minutes after the interval when Ward was given his marching orders.

And anyone who doesn’t think that moment turned the game is deluded. Liverpool needed something to fall their way and when it did, they grabbed it with both hands and hung on for dear life. Regardless of whether the decision was correct or incorrect, what certainly wasn’t right were the actions of the Liverpool players and their manager in crowding the referee and gesturing for Ward to be dismissed.

Reina in particular can certainly expect a hostile reception when Liverpool visit Molineux in a month or so, after sprinting the length of the pitch to throw his two cents into the debate. Despicable actions in my opinion and needless really.

I don’t like complaining about decisions but for what it’s worth, I think the second booking was a little bit harsh. You can’t really complain about the first caution as he was deliberately pulling the player back, but the second was a bit of nothing. Even if it was a foul, I don’t really see that it warranted a yellow card. But of course I’m biased and the commentators seemed to think it was a cut and dry dismissal. Either way, we’ll miss Wardy for the match against Man City.

So all in all, a promising performance that ended disappointingly.

We move on to Monday’s evening kick-off and a similar display should give us every chance of causing an upset.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

From Everyone at Wolves Blog!