Archives for December 2012

Crystal Palace Vs Wolves Preview

Wolves were ticking along nicely until Crystal Palace arrived at Molineux back in October.

Palace

We even went a goal up in that game, but two magic moments from Wilfried Zaha and a nasty injury to S?awomir Peszko derailed our progress.

We’ve only won 4 of 16 games since, while Palace, despite changing managers, continued on a run that would see them reach the summit of the Championship table.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they’ve stuttered in December and fallen back into the play-off places. Without a win in their last 5 matches, they need to pickup again sooner rather than later if they’re serious about challenging the top two.

A home game against Wolves is an excellent chance to do just that. Their home remains strong as you’d expect for a team occupying 4th place – 7 wins, 4 draws and just the one defeat thus far.

While Zaha might be the threat that most supporters fear, it’s Glenn Murray stealing all the headlines. He’s the Championship’s leading scorer with a phenomenal return of 22 league goals already. To put that into perspective, the entire Wolves squad have only managed 31.

Wolves

As they were the last time they suffered back-to-back home defeats against Forest and Millwall, Wolves are a mess.

After those catastrophic performances, we buried a poor Bristol City side to herald the mother of false dawns. But what now? I can’t imagine for a moment that Palace will be anywhere near as generous.

The best we can realistically hope for is a shrewder tactical approach, a better defensive display and a result of some description. This would be the team I’d send out:

Wolves team to face Palace

So, drop one of the forwards (probably SEB) in favour of bringing in an additional midfielder. Solbakken has been reluctant to stray from his preferred 442, but surely now is the time?

Admittedly, I was advocating similar change prior to the game at Ashton Gate and he made a mockery of that idea, but Selhurst Park represents a much tougher challenge.

I’d love to be proved wrong again, but I truly believe if we don’t get a foot on the ball and control the play, we’ll be taken apart.

The defence has taken a pounding (and rightly so), but our crippling inadequacy going forward is really putting us on the back foot. Teams know they can just sit back and wait to pounce. Until we get some creativity into the side, this will continue to be the case, particularly at home.

Predictions

In stark contrast to the Peterborough game, the majority thought we’d get turned over by Mick.

26 people correctly thought we’d lose and of those, 8 got the correct scoreline too.

Well done to Alf White, Slider, Rob in London, Twixfix, johnok, Tettenhall Wolf, Bagsy and Wolfman Steve for doubling up. A single point for everyone else.

It’s difficult not to arrive at the logical conclusion of another defeat, even taking into account Palace’s recent struggles.

That said, we haven’t drawn away from Molineux yet, so hopefully we can stink the place out with an attritional, stubborn show of defiance.

1-1.

Up The Wolves.

And of course…

HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY 2013 BRING YOU ALL GOOD THINGS (STARTING WITH A BETTER FOOTBALL TEAM HOPEFULLY)

Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 2

Old red eyes was back.

Mick and Stale

Those eyes that could never be blue, rolling like a wheel of fate as Stephen Ward misplaced another pass after a genuine left back broke the deadlock.

Watching the inevitable build-up to the opener was a twist of fate that Adlene Guedioura, Mark Davies and Andy Keogh combined couldn’t get close to.

An athletic, mobile number three scoring to the fist pumping delight of Mick McCarthy. To the rapture of old red.

The very same Mick McCarthy who persisted with a one-paced £100,000 Eircom League striker for years like a stubborn alcoholic in the wrong bar, having walked into a door.

For Stephen Ward read Aaron Cresswell.

For Roger Johnson read Luke Chambers, who Michael Kightly ridiculed to substitution back in 2008.

And for Kevin Foley see Carlos Edwards, who filled a temporary gap on loan during the same season, when we all knew he wasn’t the answer back then.

Just like every game involving a Molineux prodigal son, the fabric of our old gold shirt was used as a rag to wipe their gleeful slobber, rather than the sweat from our own players’ brows.

For the uplifting ovation that Mick McCarthy received before kick-off, the pattern of play reminded many why it was time to ship the Yorkshireman out in the first place – albeit six months too late.

A dour, attritional team featuring Daryl bleeding Murphy in a 4-4-2 system, versus a side who really couldn’t give a shit.

The fact we pine after Mick like some unrequited love story says more about the tawdry actions taken after his departure than it does a 2-0 defeat on a Saturday afternoon.

Ipswich wanted to win more than us, pressed higher up the pitch than us and completely took the game to us while we watched on with the same passive expression that Solbakken emits from the touchline.

Save for a red carpet and a pair of slippers, McCarthy’s homecoming couldn’t have been cosier.

And while this fact will hurt every Wolves fan with enough pride to kiss the badge, it won’t even resonate with our owner and CEO, who didn’t even suffer Old Red’s medicine like we thought they should.

But when did they listen to a word that 28,000 ever said?

Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

Ipswich have been on a steep upward trajectory since Mick McCarthy arrived in Suffolk.

Mick McCarthy

But that’s hardly surprising is it?

While it’s simple to question his ability as a Premier League manager, in the second tier he’s a proven heavyweight.

Having led three different clubs to the play-offs and lifted two Championship titles, his record stacks up against anyone.

At the time of his appointment at Portman Road, both Ben and I felt it was a clever move for all parties concerned.

Vacancies at Bolton and Blackburn might have seemed more enticing based on league position and immediate prospects, but Ipswich was definitely the smarter choice.

For a start, he couldn’t do any worse than Paul Jewell, so any success would be an improvement.

Looking at the squad too, it was clear to see they’d underperformed. Chopra, DJ Campbell, Murphy, Edwards – these aren’t superstars but they’re all players that know this division like the back of their hand.

So if Mick could get the best out of them, things would almost certainly pick up, and so it’s proved.

On recent form (the last 8 games) they’d be sixth in the table. Wolves would be 19th.

Wolves

This fixture was always going to be a big game, but the apocalypse against Peterborough has ramped it up to epic proportions. I’m just not sure Ståle Solbakken can survive another beating like that, in front of his own fans, against the man he replaced.

So what does he do?

Well, in the post-match interview on Boxing Day it was suggested that he may sacrifice some attacking flair for more defensive stability. But what that means in terms of personnel is anyone’s guess. Maybe something like this?

Wolves team for Ipswich

Stearman for Foley and Davis for Doumbia would probably make us tighter at the back. But does it make us better overall? I’m not sure.

I think we must find a place in the team for Sigurdarson. He looked sharp in his 45 minute cameo on Wednesday and brings an injection of pace to the attack.

Probably too soon for O’Hara to start, but I think he’ll definitely bring something to the team when fully fit.

Whatever the team, we need to move the ball quicker and get at this Ipswich defence. They’ve shipped 27 goals away from home, more than any club in the league. But as we’ve learned from recent experience, statistics like that count for little of course.

Prediction League

Only 3 people correctly thought we’d lose on Boxing Day and even the most pessimistic couldn’t foresee us getting stuffed 3-0.

So it’s just a point each for Old Goldy, timberwolf and martin.

You normally get a response after such an horrific defeat, so I expect a better performance this time out.

Every fiber of my being is telling me to say defeat, but I’ll plump for a draw.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.

* Just a couple of requests about the Prediction League please guys. Firstly, please don’t make more than one prediction. A few people have predicted one score and then later decided to change their mind to something else. Up to this point I’ve been lenient, but multiple entries from here on out will result in all predictions being void. Also, you sometimes need to give me a few days to update the table. I’ve had quite a lot of people emailing to say I’ve missed their latest points. Please give it at least a week before emailing after a match. Thanks 🙂