Archives for October 2012

Wolves 1 Charlton Athletic 1

As if watching the most insipid second half performance since Glenn Hoddle wasn’t bad enough, an averting gaze to anywhere but the football pitch kept focusing on David Dickinson.

Sportingbet offering 1-10 odds on a second half capitulation

In a perma-tan vision of insincerity, the goofy Duke kept catching my eye in an advert under the ‘seamless’ video wall, imploring me to get into mounting debt with the Money Shop.

‘Tick tock’ screamed the headline as I checked my watch to confirm what I already knew.

A few minutes left, no second half shots on goal (barring a Sako free kick) and a team that could pass for Dickinson’s next TV series.

Golden in shirt, occasionally golden to the eye but upon closer scrutiny, a cheap imitation of the real deal like all the other tat on Bargain Hunt.

In an ironic commentary that our revolting sponsors would be oblivious to, those two words were the most apt in a soul destroying second half showing.

To put it bluntly, time will be in short supply for Solbakken if the natives have to sit through much more lifeless, unimaginative bilge like that.

With only three of Stale Solbakken’s signings playing any part in our latest capitulation, a ‘real Bobby Dazzler’ this team is not.

Stephen Ward reverting back to type and Kevin Foley utterly hapless in presenting Charlton with the ball – then acres of space to cross for the equaliser – our manager may as well be talking to Dickinson in the flesh.

Like an amateur collector given an hour to acquire a gem from £300, the Norwegian tried once more to polish a turd with the ‘leftover lolly’ he inherited.

Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey watch the spectacle like viewers in their living rooms, hoping their favourite will somehow defy the flawed format to find some Clarice Cliff glory amid the car boot carnage.

In a passage of play to typify the entire season, the old man in row ‘P’ squealed with delight: ‘It’s like watching Brazil’ at the very moment Jermaine Pennant squandered possession and the inoffensive 25 man-move broke down.

The Bovril warmed the cockles of the heart at half time.

The second half immediately numbed it like a dose of local anaesthetic, fresh from our previous injection at 8.45pm on Tuesday evening.

Moving slowly, predictably with no apparent intent of ever scoring a goal, the momentum we’d patiently built in the first half was squandered with infuriating predictability.

This now-obligatory trait should be enough to make Stale’s hair fall out, when the hard bit in breaching a stubborn 4-5-1 had been achieved with Sako’s accomplished finish from a Foley cross.

Space should be created as the away side is forced to press, we should duly exploit this situation and the game should then be as good as over.

Solbakken – in highborn pragmatism – would doubtless feel the same, calling it a ‘work in progress.’

Either that or ‘cheap as chips,’ depending on whose eye you catch.

Wolves Vs Charlton Athletic Preview

Recent memories of matches against Charlton are all positive. The last time we were competing at the same level, Wolves did the double over the Addicks on their way towards the Championship title.

Celebrating the equaliser at Elland Road

The season prior we also scored a memorable 3-2 victory at the Valley courtesy of a last minute winner and of course that goal from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

Casting my mind back further I also associate them with a Glen Crowe wonder strike in about 1996 and one of the most comical own goals Molineux has ever witnessed a year or so earlier. Anyone else remember either of those?

Anyway, enough of that.

These days Chris Powell is their manager and he of course brought them up from League One as champions last season.

On the basis of their 18th place position it appears to have been a bit of a struggle for them so far, but a deeper dig reveals they’ve had injuries to contend with.

With players like Ricardo Fuller, Bradley Wright-Philips and Rob Hulse knocking around, they should have the necessary firepower to stay up at the very least, which I suppose would be acceptable in their first season back.

Admittedly, I know very little about many of the other players in their squad, so Saturday promises to be interesting.

With 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats away from home this season, they’ll be reasonably pleased with their form on the road. 3 defeats at the Valley already accounts for them being closer to the bottom than the top.

Wolves

There’s no disguising just how disappointing the second half against Bolton was. We’d set ourselves up beautifully with an attacking flourish before the interval, but just when you were hoping the boys would exert some authority as the home side, they wilted.

I’d like to suggest a couple of changes from Tuesday, but I just don’t think we have the options.

The one player I would bring in from the start is Sigurdarson. You might argue he’s done little thus far, but at some point we have to give him a run out from the start at home, so we can really get an idea of what he’s about.

I’ve felt a bit sorry for him, thrown on for the last 25 minutes of games we’ve mainly been defending in. The team has sat so deep and he’s just been expected to chase lost causes. Not an ideal situation to come into as a young striker.

Ebanks-Blake was very poor against Bolton and with Doyle returning to goalscoring form, this could be a good opportunity to test another partnership.

Opposition view

Here’s what Charlton manager Chris Powell had to say ahead of the game:

“They’re in the place they would want to be, especially with having a new manager,” he said.

“But like most clubs they are under pressure to get straight back up, especially with the money they’ve received for Fletcher and Jarvis.

“He has spent a bit of money on players, so the pressure will be on them.

“They will be looked upon as one of the favourites to go up, so we go there under no illusions.

“We played against Blackburn at home, another side who came down, and should have beaten them.

“We know we are a match for these teams on any given day.

“It is up to us to go there and perform in a good arena, a vociferous crowd as they always are, and a team that drew the other day.

“They lost against Huddersfield in the previous game, so they will be looking to get a positive result, but I will be looking for us to go there and carry on our good away form.”

Predictions

Only 6 people predicted a draw against Bolton.

2 of those wise men, Ben and I unbelievably, got the 2-2 scoreline in addition, so it’s double bubble for us. Hats off to my esteemed colleague for also predicting a Doyle brace (that would have been a nice little earner). But as we know, zero extra points on offer for showing off.

I said prior to Tuesday that I was hoping for 4 points from these two home games and I’m sticking with that.

I’ll back us to come home with a bit of style on Saturday – 3-1.

Up The Wolves.

Winner of the luxury scarf

…is Clive from Houston.

We had a lot of great entries and I was torn between a few, so I based the decision on which of the comments I’d chosen had the most ‘Likes’ and that was Clive.

Thanks again to everyone who entered. We’ll be doing more competitions in the coming weeks and months I’m sure.

 

Win a luxury Wolves scarf

Just before we get stuck into the Charlton preview, there’s just about time to squeeze in a competition courtesy of our friends at Savile Rogue.

Savile Rogue scarves give a nod to football terraces of yesteryear, shunning in-your-face logos and cheap nylon in favour of a traditional bar design and the comfort, quality and warmth of top grade wool. It’s the sort of scarf you would be happy to wear even when you’re not at the match.

They’ve once again teamed up with Wolves Blog to offer our readers the chance of getting their hands on one of these gold and black beauties.

To win this luxury Wolves cashmere scarf simply complete the following sentence in a comment below:

I deserve the scarf because…

I’ll pick the best answer at midday tomorrow (Friday 26th) and announce the winner in a post.

The competition is open globally, so whether you’re living in Wolverhampton or Rwanda (yes, we’ve had visits from there) you’re welcome to enter.

Good luck!

Wolves 2 Bolton Wanderers 2

There’s a reason that the term ‘a game of two halves’ has become cliche and last night was a painful example.

Back to haunt us again

After an open, engaging, end-to-end first 45  in which Wolves impressively swung the game around, only one team bothered coming out for the second period.

As they were against Derby and against Leicester, Solbakken’s side were guilty of sitting back, surrendering possession and inviting the opposition forward.

And forward they came, gratefully gobbling up the initiative until the door was finally kicked down.

Despite the heroics of Ikeme and the string of superb last ditch blocks from Johnson, there was a morbid sense of inevitability sweeping around Molineux long before Mark Davies found the top bin.

Our manager’s preferred style when leading is evidently to absorb the opposition’s sting, stay compact and slow the tempo down at every opportunity.

But with his team giving the ball away with reckless abandon, this tactic could never work. Instead we found ourselves sitting deep, pulled apart, swallowing wave after wave of Bolton attack.

Our midfield vanished as the game went on, with Doumbia in particular anonymous. Without his usual sturdy presence, we lacked any sort of bite or forward momentum.

The back four, given very little protection defended manfully.

Johnson in particular I thought was a colossus. He can’t be blamed for the equaliser. Time and time again he was in the right place to bail team mates out, and on the one occasion he dropped a clearing header a yard short, nobody showed him the same courtesy.

Further forward, Sako embodied the game itself, marvelous in the first half but anonymous in the second. If we could actually pass the ball to him for the duration of the game for once, you sense we’d be winning more comfortably.

He was once again at the center of everything we did, wracking up two more assists with an inch perfect through ball and another fierce free kick that forced the goalkeeper to spill.

The other notable positive was the player on the end of Sako’s good work – Kevin Doyle.

To see the striker notch twice, both real striker’s finishes, was pleasing. Hopefully that will give him the confidence to go on and score regularly.

Ebanks-Blake by comparison struggled to even get involved in his hour or so on the pitch. That was disappointing.

Pennant showed some clever touches and a turn of pace, but I think the chants of ‘sign him up’ emanating from the South Bank were slightly premature. He still has something to prove.

In fact, I think Wolves as a team still have something to prove over 90 minutes in front of their own crowd.

Winning on Saturday would be a good start.

Wolves Vs Bolton Wanderers Preview

I was surprised Bolton didn’t give Owen Coyle more time to turn things around.

Back from the dead against Bristol City

With the squad of players they have, it should only be a matter of time before they begin climbing the table, regardless of whose sitting in the dugout.

Mark Davis, Kevin Davies, Eagles, Petrov, Spearing, Mills, Sordell – these are all players who have either played in the Premier League or at the very least proved they can be successful in the Championship.

So why then have they started so poorly in the first place?

Perhaps the blend of the side isn’t quite right. They seem to be shipping plenty of goals; 18 already conceded this season. Wolves have only let in 11.

Bristol City scored 2 of those 18 on Saturday, but a stellar comeback saw Bolton take all the points with a 3-2 win. That victory will no doubt have galvanised them coming into this game.

Dougie Freedman is in talks to become their new manager. He’s shown great promise in a short spell with Palace but I think he’s a strange choice for Bolton. He would be a long-term project, when what they really need is immediate improvement.

With their financial problems, an immediate return to the Premier League is crucial. I thought Mick McCarthy was an ideal match.

Wolves

Losing at Huddersfield was a real downer after a superb win at Blackburn two weeks prior. We’ve now got a couple of home fixtures to regain some momentum.

Karl Henry returns tonight and he should definitely go straight back into the side. With the creative players they have in midfield, his presence will be crucial to our cause. I don’t think there will be any other changes to Saturday’s team.

If we can keep things tight at the back, I think we’ll win this one because the statistics tell us we will get a goal. But whenever we’ve come up against any half-decent attacking players, we’ve tended to struggle. Lets hope none of their players punish us in the same way Wilfried Zaha did in our last home game.

Opposition view

Thanks to Bolton fan Mark Yesilevskiy, from the Lion of Vienna Suite for providing the following:

We went 2-0 down very early on against Bristol City and if this had been Coyle’s Bolton, there would have been no way back. Yet this new Bolton Wanderers team showed a fight that we had not seen in a long, long time. They found their urgency and, for lack of a better word, bossed the match for the final 65 minutes of the match. The attack featured a new-found ability to finish and through balls into the box were a joy to behold. It was certainly a tough first test for Jimmy Phillips and Bolton Wanderers but there’s no question that Wolves will be even tougher.

Predictions

Not difficult to update the Prediction League table after the loss to Huddersfield.

Only one person said we’d lose and that was Hersham Wolf. He scoops the maximum 2 points on offer for getting the score spot on too. Well done.

I’m hoping for a minimum 4 point return from tonight and the Charlton game on Saturday. With that in mind, I think I’ll go for a draw against Bolton, as I think we’re far more likely to win at the weekend.

Both teams will probably score.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.

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