Archives for March 2013

Wolves 3 Middlesbrough 2

Slugging it out for survival in a league of fine margins, individuals so often make the difference.

Kevin Doyle Boro

And today those difference makers sported gold Burrda.

Stephen Hunt headlined again with trademark effervescence; chasing down, winding up and generally having his say-so.

Any concerns about the loss of a certain French winger were soon erased as he jinked his way to the byline to see a teasing cross deflected home.

Indeed, for all the Sako Va Va Voom, Hunt has twice energised Molineux in a way we haven’t experienced all season. It was palpable.

Bjorn Sigurdarson caught the bug, flipping on the burners and moseying in to finish with nonchalant swagger.

Will he become the most valuable remnant of the Solbakken era? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Kevin Doyle’s performing a neat trick of late. So often the goalless workhorse, he’s now perfected the art of complete anonymity, only pouncing from the shadows to nod home late winning goals. Lovely jubbly.

That these encouraging moments were spaced out by goals and opportunity for Boro says much about our predicament. Whatever the lineup, whatever the formation, whatever the positives, Wolves simply can’t defend.

They may have been victims of a questionable goalline decision and 25-yard piledriver today, but both events were preventable. Whether it was Johnson’s needless lunge in the build up to their first or a chronic lack of closing down for the second, we again turned the gun on ourselves.

Perhaps it was no surprise then that with time ticking down, Dean Saunders opted to baton down the hatches and hammer up the barricades?

In what must have been the most defensive run of substitutions in history, we finished the game with a team of blockers.

Fair enough I say.

In such situations, managers must stick or twist and live or die by that decision.

Deano prefers to stick and given that the team saw out the game with a degree of comfort, you can’t question his judgment.

It really doesn’t matter how you get across the line, just as long as you do.

Remembering that could make all the difference.

Wolves Vs Middlesbrough Preview

I’d hoped victory against Bristol City would make for an enjoyable two week recess.

Boro Wolves

Silly me.

The misery wire soon cranked into gear delighting us with the news our best player is crocked for the season and a failed attempt to recruit a Burnley cast-off is the collective sum of our loan market ambitions*.

No wind for our sails then.

At least Middlesbrough aren’t up to much these days. They’ve lost 7 of their last 10 games to see them slip from automatic contenders to play-off outsiders.

They’ve been dire away from the Riverside all season, with 12 defeats and just 5 wins. Even Wolves have done better than that.

Much like our last home game then, this is a real opportunity to get a win.

* Nouha Dicko hadn’t signed at the time of writing this and I refuse to count Marian Kello.

Wolves

Despite the best efforts of Hunt and co a fortnight back, I think it’s a big ask to stay up without Bakary Sako. His 10 goals and 11 assists (second in the league for that by the way) account for nearly half of all goals scored by Wolves this season.

Still, we mustn’t dwell. I think Deano’s got to look at starting with the team that finished against Bristol City, which would mean an XI of:

Wolves team for Boro

Doyle and Siggy are interchangeable. I’d prefer to see the Icelander start as a striker, with Doyle playing deeper, but I reckon the manager will plump for the opposite.

Although Hunt, Doyle and SEB took the plaudits for getting us the win against City, I think Sigurdarson’s presence up front was pivotal. Had he not been switched inside, I don’t think we’d have got the foothold we did.

With no outside reinforcements, the manager must contemplate involving the likes of Peszko and Hammill for the run-in. I would argue both should have been involved anyway.

Predictions

34 correctly backed Wolves to win last time out. Special well done goes to the 12 of those who also got the 2-1 scoreline.

It’s a maximum for Ben, Sir Fred Paisley, Highland Wolf, Haywood Wolf, Steppenwolfe, Twixfix, Martin B, dave h, Danny Velinski, Lee De Wolf, Paul Featherstone and Wolves4Ever. A single for everyone else.

I think we can hope for another win in this one, especially if we don’t score any goals on their behalf. Not expecting anything pretty, just enough to get us over the line.

2-1.

Up The Wolves.

Supermarket Sweep

Remember the time when Dennis Bergkamp once shopped in Asda?

Paterson

Granted, the Loch Ness style sighting might just have been a hoax – with a smart, lean doppelganger tripping through those revolving doors at the very same time – but didn’t it feel exciting?

Back in June 2003, nothing was impossible and aspiration reigned supreme.

It began within an hour of the final whistle sounding in Cardiff, where Joe Cole’s name was banded around the delirious gold and black masses as if he’d already put pen to paper.

After all, ex United, Liverpool and Inter legend Paul Ince had chosen us, so the prospect of us landing other household names genuinely sounded plausible, didn’t it?

Ten years on and we can’t even land Martin Paterson from Burnley.

It’s not that this particular player induces a Hitchcock sound effect and a Robert Taylor shower scene. Far from it.

It is more the complete by-passing of any sense of endeavour and ambition, which are words reserved for a host of other clubs bar our own.

We don’t even shop in Asda anymore, opting for Sanjay’s Supermarket scraps along the Birches Barn Road.

How it all came to this is a blog for another time, but the names being mentioned today are barely more enticing than Danny Senda, Jemal Johnson and Darren Potter back in 2006, when three years of Premier League trappings were but a pipe dream.

That we all wearily shrug our shoulders when Simeon Jackson signs for Brighton says it all. Job done as far as Moxey and Morgan are concerned.

To dream the impossible dream these days is simply not an option, not even when the dream is for a 37 year-old Bolton striker who’d probably prefer to go home to Chesterfield anyway.

Don’t dream, so don’t be disappointed if we miss out on Martin Paterson, it seems.

As we fester in 23rd place, with two wins in 12 and three first teamers on the sick bed, we have a few hours to take action, and possibly entice a few season ticket sales in the process.

Quite who we’ll sign is anyone’s guess.

Judging by our recent ‘dealings’, Asda is unlikely to be on red alert.