Archives for December 2011

Bolton 1 Wolves 1

Last season, I thought one of the major reasons Wolves always struggled, was their inability to grind out draws in close matches.

Too often we’d be in games, but rather than keeping things tight and seeing it out, we made a suicidal mistake and allowed the opposition in through the back door.

Case in point, the injury time giveaway at the Reebok courtesy of Ronald Zubar.

Me again

So, despite the inept first half performance today (more on that in the moment) you’ll forgive me for being more than a little satisfied with a well-earned point.

Yes, by the end, we probably should have won it as we dominated possession in the final 20, albeit without punishing a creaky Bolton defence. But a draw is a solid enough result and maintains a slither of daylight between ourselves and the bottom three.

Fletch’s early second-half goal was crucial. No surprise to see him once again getting on the end of a Matt Jarvis delivery to nod in the equaliser. That’s 8 for the season, which is particularly impressive when you consider he’s struggled with injuries. Lets just hope his latest knock doesn’t cost us his services for Monday’s game against Chelsea.

Dave Edwards was another who impressed in the second half, bursting forward to good effect, which just begs the question, why the hell didn’t he start the game?

Throwing Elokobi in and shifting Ward into central midfield was ridiculous. There’s no other word to describe it. Well, actually there are, but that’s about the only one I can publish.

Credit to Wardy, he got on with it as usual and smashed the bar with a superb effort from distance. But that doesn’t paper over the fact that it was wrong of Mick to play him there.

We did nothing in that first half and still could have come in level, which definitely says more about Bolton than it does about our limp, insipid display.

Thankfully, Mick wasted no time in correcting his error and was immediately rewarded with the equaliser. Lets just hope that’s the end of the ‘Ward can play anywhere’ saga.

I think Johnson and Berra both deserve a pat on the back today. Not much either of them could do about the goal and that aside, they dealt with everything that came their way.

The skipper carried on his improvement from a solid second half at Arsenal, whereas Berra has become the model of consistency. The Scot remains a vastly underrated player in my opinion.

Nice to see Foley make a return too. I think we’ve missed his ability to put foot on ball and maintain possession neatly, especially when we’re up against it.

With Frimpong set to join alongside Jonnson tomorrow in the January sales and the team showing more fight on the pitch I think there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic heading into the second half of the season.

If it’s anything like the first, it will at the very least, be interesting.

Happy New Year!

Up The Wolves!

Bolton Vs Wolves Preview

So what would you call our New Year’s Eve visit to the Reebok?

Must win or mustn’t lose?

If we’re serious about surviving more comfortably than last season, I think you’d call it a must win against a team with the worst home record in the league.

Injury time minute heartbreak last season

Bolton have lost 8 of their 9 home matches to date, with just a sole victory over Stoke to celebrate in front of their own crowd.

The stuff of nightmares for Owen Coyle and without doubt, for his side, this is definitely a must-win.

With that in mind, I’d personally settle for a point.

Wolves just have an unpleasant knack of losing these so-called six-pointers so a draw would represent a solid result.

Yes, a win would put satsifactory daylight between ourselves and the bottom, but a loss would suck us right in and the thought of that scenario ahead of a difficult January makes me feel more than a little nauseous.

Interestingly, Bolton haven’t drawn a match yet, so they’re certainly overdue a stalemate.

The Team

We’re forced into two changes with Milijas (wrongly) suspended and Zubar out injured. That’s a hammer blow to our immediate prospects in my opinion, as I rate both of those players highly.

What Mick now does with the team and specifically the midfield will be very interesting, but I suspect we’ll see something like this:

Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Henry, Edwards, Hunt, Jarvis, Fletcher, SEB

So that’s 442 with Stearman as a straight swap for Zubar, SEB in for Milijas and Edwards in for Forde.

Given Mick’s limited options in the center of midfield, it would appear to be a straight shootout between Edwards and Guedioura to start and I think he’ll deem the latter too much of a risk.

It’s conceivable we could see them both starting in a 451, but I have a suspicion we’ll go for it with two forwards.

Prediction League

5 enlightened souls correctly predicted a draw against Arsenal. 4 of them got the 1-1 scoreline too.

So well done to Karlir-Johanarnt Kristjanson, robin, Morph and Mark for scooping 3 points. The Wanderer takes a single.

Sadly, I think we’ll lose this match as we always lose the ‘mustn’t-lose’ matches.

I’ll go for 2-1 Bolton and just hope I’m slapping myself tomorrow evening for a lack of faith in my team.

If you’re heading to the Reebok tomorrow, have a great time and get right behind the lads.

Up The Wolves.

The day that fairness died

Back in 2009, Frank Lampard got a red card against Liverpool overturned by the FA for a late tackle on Xabi Alonso.

The preceding season, John Terry got his sending off against Man City withdrawn despite lunging in on their striker Jo on the halfway line.

Nenad Milijas wasn’t so fortunate for little old Wolves though, as his clean, fair challenge on Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta is still deemed to be a red card offence, despite video footage and every single pundit across the country thinking otherwise.

The two Chelsea players happened to be playing for their country you see, while the bloke from Serbia was just daring to play for lowly Wolves at Arsenal.

It’s no wonder FIFA think the FA are a xenophobic bunch of hypocrites, when only last month they were appealing Wayne Rooney’s crude thigh raking kick against Montenegro.

Milijas punished for a fair tackle

At least we have learned one thing for certain during this twisted decision to uphold Stuart Attwell’s attempt to pevert the course of justice at the Emirates Stadium.

Namely, that the FA are a spineless, corrupt organisation who place pecking order over impartiality.

If our red card case was seen before a Magistrate, the court clerk would have thrown the hearing out for wasting everyone’s time.

On past crimes alone, Stuart Attwell would have been the man in the dock for his latest example of incompetence and not us, only weeks after blundering at White Hart Lane when sending off Gary Cahill.

Only three seasons after awarding a goal at Vicarage Road that never even existed.

But this is the Premier League world we live in folks.

A world where fair play and self deprecating hard graft by both manager and players is penalised, yet incessant Ryan Shawcross-style haranguing is applauded.

After Dick Turpin conquered against Newcastle at Molineux this season (Mark Halsey), Anthony Taylor was next to turn fair play on its head by refusing to send off Woodgate for Stoke when playing at the same place.

Coincidence? Add in the following from the 2010/11 season off the top of my head:

  1. James Perch trip on Jarvis at home to Newcastle while winning 1-0. No penalty.
  2. Gallas assault on Jarvis at White Hart Lane in 6 yard box while winning 1-0. No penalty.
  3. Stephen Warnock pre-meditated studs-up challenge for Villa not earning second yellow, let alone red. Warnock sets up Heskey for the winner.
  4. Fabregas scything, stretcher inducing challenge on Ward for Arsenal at Molineux. No red, Fabregas sets up second goal.
  5. Stearman headed, winning goal against Spurs disallowed at Molineux when punched in head by Gomez. Free kick awarded to Spurs.

I could add an endless list of howlers from the season before, when we were shafted more times than a rent boy on an initiation; such was our own induction to the world’s ‘greatest league.’

(Dunne rugby tackle on Doyle at home to Villa – no penalty; Wilson catching the ball for Portsmouth at home – no penalty; Fellaini assault on Doyle at Everton – no free kick and Everton then score)

Can anyone name one decision we have got in our favour in all this time?

And all the while, our stoic, honest manager turns the other cheek and shakes each referee’s hand as they walk off the pitch to daub another indiscretion on the dressing room wall for the next cheat to laugh at.

Pulis and Warnock decide go to work on the 4th official from kick off instead, in their unique interpretation of the Respect the Ref campaign.

It’s no wonder Stephen Hunt says we should start playing the game ‘properly’ like every other club does, in an attempt to level up a surface which is rapidly becoming unplayable.

If Mick McCarthy had any bollocks, he’d be saying the same thing right now and Steve Morgan would be bankrolling every single forthcoming fine.

It might pain the FA and the Premier League to admit it, but John Terry wasn’t the first centre half to win 100 caps for his country (He was the first to screw a teammate’s wife and call a fellow pro a f**king black c**t though)

Billy Wright CBE was, and he wore the gold shirt of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The same Wolverhampton Wanderers that stuck floodlights on their stands when no other club had the inclination.

Floodlights to capture nights of European football that the great Stan Cullis dreamed up, which Stuart Attwell’s chosen few are still dining out on today.

If the FA and the Premier League would prefer to treat our gold with distain while masturbating over Sheikh Mansour’s, then let them.

But not before we’ve let them know exactly how we all feel about it.

Please join me in emailing and telephoning the FA’s hotline to report incidents of discrimination.

Email: FootballForAll@TheFA.com 0800 085 0508