Archives for August 2012

Cardiff City Vs Wolves Preview

There are notable similarities between Cardiff and Wolves with both sides heading into Sunday’s game looking for a much needed boost.

Slip-up at Ashton Gate

Before we even kicked off our disappointing contest with Derby, the Bluebirds (or whatever they call themselves these days) had already gone down 4-2 at Bristol City.

As a result they, like Wolves, have 4 points thus far after a last minute win over Huddersfield on opening day followed by a goalless draw at Brighton.

Malkie Mackay, much like Ståle Solbakken, has been given funds to reshape his squad over the summer with the likes of Bellamy, Helguson, Mutch and most recently winger Craig Noone arriving in Wales.

As I write this, it’s also widely expected that forward and one-time Wolves target Nicky Maynard will join ahead of the transfer deadline. He’d be a useful addition at this level.

Wolves

Of course Cardiff aren’t the only team who can add to their squad before this game kicks off and I’m hoping Wolves will bring another central midfielder into the fold.

With Jamie O’Hara still a few months away and Karl Henry struggling, we’re down to bare bones. Personally, I’m not keen on either Davies or Jonnson filling the void for an extended run of games. Certainly not based on what I’ve seen thus far. Glenn Whelan from Stoke would be a shrewd acquisition.

With the players we do have, this would be my preferred eleven:

At least one of the new wide men need to start this game and I’d personally opt to throw them both in. Why not?

Either way, it’s a luxury to have three natural wide players to choose from with Peszko also in the mix.

Both Nouble and Sigurdarson pushed themselves into contention with solid midweek displays, but I’d persevere with Ebanks-Blake and Doyle for the moment. But again, it’s nice to have different types of forwards to choose from.

At the back, it’s perhaps a little harsh to drop Berra after a decent performance against Derby, but Solbakken has surely brought Margreitter here to play. And with Christophe having slapped in a transfer request, how much loyalty do we owe him?

Opposition view

Couldn’t find a blogger to contribute on such short notice, so here’s a few snippets from the Cardiff forums:

So some exciting new signings to raise the gloom of the stuffing served out by the Wurzels. But now with so many new midfielders, who does Malky possibly pick? Finally new signing from South Korea, Kim Bo is set to make his debut. However, apart from Whittingham (who will be certainly picked unless injury) Mackay has a strong selection of talent to pick from. However with Turners availability unsure, could we be weak at the back once more?

Unless there is a significant change in the way we play it’s going to be tough against Wolves. Will a 4-5-1 formation give us the goals?

Predictions

Only 7 people correctly predicted a draw against Derby. 4 of those said 1-1 though so they double up to 2 points.

Well done to Greg, Clemens, andrewwfc and Amberwolf for taking the maximum.

I think this will be an incredibly stern test, particularly for a Wolves team very much in transition.

Still, with the confidence of last night’s second half seeping through my veins, I’ll go for a respectable score draw.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.

Northampton Town 1 Wolves 3

If you can make nine changes to your starting eleven and still run out convincing winners, there are definite reasons to be cheerful.

Now that’s what I call Clack!

Only Carl Ikeme and David Davis remained from Saturday’s snore-draw against Derby, with Ståle’s new boys taking center stage.

And come full time, this was very much Solbakken’s Wolves.

Sigurdarson and Nouble up front, Sako and Peszko on the wings, Doumbia in the middle, Margreitter at the back.

Times are a changing and if the second half is anything to go by, probably for the best.

Passing to feet, moving the opposition around quickly, opening up spaces. Much like the Barnsley game, plenty of encouraging signs.

Bakary Sako’s venomous drive was the icing on the cake and dare I say it, the sort of no-nonsense goal Matt Jarvis just wasn’t capable of scoring. Ball into feet, shift, bang. Welcome to Wolves.

Razak Boukari was also impressive, offering pace, trickery and a definite eye for a pass as demonstrated with an inch-perfect through ball for David Davis.

Will both of those players start on Sunday? I’d like to think so.

It’s harder to judge Georg Margreitter, as he wasn’t asked many questions, but I suppose the fact he came through the game unnoticed suggests he coped comfortably. Sterner tests await and it will be intriguing to see if Solbakken throws him straight in against Cardiff.

The two forwards also stood out. Nouble in particular deserved his goal and showed not only great physical strength, but also composure with the ball at his feet.

In an opening 45 where we struggled to string together more than two passes before hoofing long, both he and Sigurdarson showed great appetite.

Scrappy would be a kind adjective to use in describing that first half, accentuated by the two goals we bundled over the line.

Northampton’s equaliser was familiar territory. A cross not cut out down the left and a forward finding too much space in the middle to plant a header in the corner.

Like Saturday, we seemed to be lacking any sort of creativity through the middle, so I’d like think we’ll see at least one new signing before the day is out to rectify this problem.

But credit to Wolves, after the break when the game did open up, they really put their foot on the pedal, with the only disappointing aspect being that it took until stoppage time to sew the game up.

The young players like Forde and Davis, who was much improved from Saturday, also seemed to grow into the game and help control the play. That was a pleasant bonus.

As for our aspirations of progressing further in the competition, Chelsea away wasn’t the ideal draw, but it’s a plum tie all the same and a great test.

And who knows, we might even be on TV again?

Northampton Town Vs Wolves Preview

Ståle Solbakken could probably have done without a midweek cup game to contend with as Molineux’s revolving door continues to spin ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline.

Undefeated thus far

Since last Friday, it’s mercifully been a case of reinforcements arriving rather than troops jumping ship as we welcome Razak Boukari and Bakary Sako to the fold.

If you believe what you see on YouTube, they should bring pace and creativity to the side, two things desperately lacking from the weekend’s disappointing performance against Derby.

Relevant clearance permitting, both of those players should make their debut at Northampton tomorrow as Wolves look to advance in the League Cup. Defender Georg Margreitter is also inline for his first appearance.

League Two Northampton, now managed by Aidy Boothroyd, have enjoyed a solid start. With 3 draws and a win in the league thus far as well as a fantastic first round cup win over Cardiff, they’re undefeated heading into this match and hungry for another upset.

Wolves of course went to Sixfields last season at the same stage and won 4-0. Ebanks-Blake (2), Milijas and Sam Vokes were all on the scoresheet in that one. I remember looking at our squad after that win and thinking how much strength in depth we had. Oh well.

Wolves

I’m expecting the starting eleven in this game to consist of new signings and players in and around the first team squad. This is the sort of thing I mean:

Starting the two forwards is surely a no-brainer? I’d like to see what they can both do from the start, particularly if there’s a chance Doyle could leave before Friday. Someone has to fill the void.

If the three new lads can play, it would be nice to see them get a run out. The likes of Elokobi, Stearman and Davis should also benefit from a run out.

Opposition view

Thanks to Danny from A Load of Cobblers:

Aidy Boothroyd has mentioned that fringe players may get a chance. With a trip to Plymouth coming two days after this match there could be a fair bit of chopping and changing from the Town boss.

On paper it’s another potential upset for the Cobblers but I can see this being just as much of a challenge as last season and we’ll have to be well on our game to come close. I would imagine Wolves would field a stronger side than Cardiff City did a few weeks ago and the best we can hope for will probably be a shot at extra-time. I’ll go for a 1-1 draw after ninety minutes!

Predictions

No PL points at stake for this one, but just for fun I’ll tip us to edge through 2-1.

I’d like to say the performance is more important than the result, but I’ll be disappointed if we get knocked out.

Either way, what happens off the pitch over the next two days is probably going to be a lot more telling for the season ahead than what happens on it.

Up The Wolves.