Archives for April 2013

Wolves 1 Burnley 2

Defeated, divided, conquered.

Wolves Burnley

In the shadow of £20 million worth of contentious bricks and mortar, a club smashed to dust limp away from the rubble.

As the South Bank spills it’s guts and an army of restless natives invade, others just tut and shake their heads.

An unending nightmare that was once an impossible dream.

The team scuttling from the pitch nothing more than a hideous, confused reflection of the befuddled decisions that brought about it’s inception.

No cohesion, no unity, just a pile of individuals sellotaped together and asked to play nice.

The busted wheels of the McCarthy era, the charred remnants of Solbakken, the Saunders budget cocktail of loan signings and kids. It’s the Steve Morgan recipe for double bubble soup.

Blame managers, players and CEOs all you like, but the man at the top steers the ship and he is rudderless.

Every Morgan decision post Survival Sunday, whether made with good intentions or not, has been wrong.

Yesterday’s error-strewn, disjointed, non-performance was nothing more than a legacy of 18-months worth of his puzzling actions.

Wolves fans Burnley

It’s fair to say the manager picks the team, but the chairman picks the manager and defines the pool of players that manager has to choose from.

And it’s telling that when the devil was at the door, Dean Saunders could only turn to a hapless loan signing (Dicko) and a kid getting his first taste of the action (McAlinden).

For all his faults, Saunders has been playing with a handicap from minute one, hamstrung by a lack of resources and crippled by the misfortune of injuries and an unusually high points requirement.

Pointing the finger of blame at him is fruitless. You must aim higher, towards the man whose tunnel vision of a shiny, new stadium has brought Molineux crumbling down.

The man who, surrounded by the self-inflicted debris of failure, must now do what he does best.

Build.

* Apologies for initially forgetting, but the winner of the new Wolves shirt is Exeter Wolf. I shortlisted 3 of the best comments and did a random draw, with Exeter’s name being pulled from the hat. I’m sure you’ll agree running 26 miles for charity in the same weekend he suffered the defeat at Charlton makes him a worthy winner.

Wolves Vs Burnley Preview

Late goals swung momentum last weekend.

Wolves Burnley

While Burnley grabbed a last gasp equaliser against Cardiff, Wolves allowed Charlton in to steel victory at the death.

bottom 9That now means the Clarets arrive at Molineux 4 points above Wolves and the dotted line. Breathing space.

It’s difficult to envisage Sean Dyche’s team going down now, even if we sink them tomorrow. Their goal difference is much healthier than their fellow strugglers, which is as good as another point.

Any result other than defeat should be enough to ensure their mathematical safety. If they’re to get it, they’ll have to do so without Charlie Austin, the man whose scored 28 of their 58 goals this season.

Their away record is poor with just 6 wins and 11 defeats. But as we know from our previous two home matches, form often counts for little in this league.

Wolves

The big decision for Dean Saunders is how to use Bakary Sako. Our talisman is back in contention after a six week lay-off with a hamstring injury. I’m of the opinion he must play, which would hopefully mean a team something like:

Wolves team for Burnley

That’s the XI I’d like to see on the pitch, whatever the shape of the team. You could push Sigurdarson up front and Hunt out wide or even move Sako into the middle. But that’s the shape I’d go with.

I can’t see an argument not to play Sako. We need to win and he’s our best player. Given that he’ll almost certainly be sold in the summer, what do we have to lose?

There’s a suggestion we could start him from the bench and introduce him later on. But what if we’re chasing the game by then? We need to get in front and win the game. A draw is probably of little to no value.

Predictions

12 people thought we’d lose at the Valley and 5 of those got the scoreline correct too.

Well done to theDOOGooder, Steppenwolfe, Bagsy, colin and BobbaWolf for scooping the maximum 2 points on offer. It’s a single for the other 7.

It has to be a win this weekend, so it must be a win. How’s this for confidence?

4-1.

Up The Wolves.

Win the new Puma Wolves shirt

Wolves today officially launched their new home and away shirts for the 2013/14 season.

Wolves new kit

What do we all think? As with all shirts, I’m sure there will be divided opinion.

Puma have taken over the manufacturing duties, with What House? becoming the main shirt sponsor.

The tops all feature Puma’s Dry Cell technology, which enhances performance by dragging moisture away, improving air-flow and keeping the body at the ultimate performance temperature. Fancy.

Wolves home shirt 13:14

To further wet your appetite, here’s some behind the scenes footage of the new kits being modeled by our club’s handsome playing staff.

If you’d like to get your hands on one of these bad boys, Puma have kindly donated us a shirt to giveaway.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply complete the following sentence in the comment section below:

I deserve a new Wolves shirt because…

Best answer gets the shirt. Judges opinion (my opinion) is final.

We’ll run this until kick-off on Saturday (3PM) against Burnley. I’ll tag the winner’s name onto the match report and also put it out on our Facebook/Twitter accounts.

Best of luck!

If you’re thinking of buying the shirt, you can find details of how to do so by visiting the official club website here.

Charlton Athletic 2 Wolves 1

Less than two years ago, Steve Morgan vowed we’d never be caught in a relegation dogfight after we secured our Premier League survival by the skin of our teeth.

Charlton Wolves

With a refusal to invest a fraction of the millions he has since pocketed in transfer fees, Premier League payments, Sky TV cash and commercial revenue during the January or loan transfer windows, League One is now looming large.

Even the injury to Sako – our player of the season and sole attacking outlet – failed to rouse the owner into action, who continues to impose the same leadership mantra as he adopted when he parted with a tenner.

Watch on passively, spin out an idle platitude or two and hope for another Merlin.

You get what you deserve in football and when Sylvan Ebanks Blake broke his leg at St Andrews after the loan window shut, Steve Morgan was handed everything he was possibly entitled to, even if the rest of us weren’t.

As we walked in the Valley of the shadow of death, I took a look at my watch and realized there was seconds left.

Then Charlton scored and I screamed for so long that, even my missus thinks that my mind is gone…

…I digress.

The lyrics will be replaced with something more colourful this time next week if we suffer another defeat like this.

Our lumbering, carcass of a club disappoints most at the very moment you think the pain can’t get any worse.

Managers come, managers go, but the one-paced clodhoppers that got them the sack continue to blacken a league that we were promised we’d never be in to begin with.

Dean Saunders will be next, despite never being given a single penny to spend on a transfer fee since being here.

Merlin the Magician he clearly ain’t, but to ask him to do anything with this group of washed-up, leaden footed failures is asking a heck of a lot when the majority were part of the fourth worst Premier League team ever. The better ones left for untold millions before he got here.

With no pace, skill or ounce of devilment on offer from a thinning pool of players – a pool that Jez Moxey presumably still thinks is too big – we were virtually incapable of ever winning today.

A fantastic work rate and every man behind the ball bar Doyle meant we didn’t deserve to lose either.

Dean Saunders pointed to Karl Henry’s 45 yard effort that hit the woodwork and two lucky goals to seal our fate.

With a boss by the name of Steve Morgan, you should know that fortune favours the brave, Dean.

View from the away end

Thanks to London-based Super Kev Doyle for sending in his view of events from the Valley:

The Valley

In many ways this felt like the archetypal Wolves away day. Baseless pre-match optimism, a large and vocal gold and black contingent, the occasional heartening period of play without any meaningful end product, and ultimately sloppy mistakes bringing about eventual failure.

As everybody probably already expected, it comes down to the last two games with Wolves hoping that flashes of brilliance can make up for prolonged malaise. And yet at half time today, things seemed satisfactory. A team unchanged from Tuesday had easily nullified any attacking threat from the hosts, with Robinson again looking assured at full back and the deep sitting Henry and Doumbia giving our centre backs the protection they desperately need. Ricardo Fuller was expending much more energy on giving away fouls and shouting at the ref than posing any sort of goal threat, and Henry hit the bar from 35 yards with a dipping half volley! I promise there are no typos in that sentence.

Wolves seemed able to absorb early pressure in the second half but it didn’t take too long before the usual firing of gun at foot moment, with a poor corner somehow skipping past the first man (Hunt, I think), ping-ponging around the six yard box and ultimately resting in the net, with Dorian Dervite beating Dorus De Vries. Before long though a Delap-esque long throw from Robinson was flicked on by Johnson and flicked in by Doyle, who deserved a reward for a hard-working yet too often isolated shift up front. And although this proved to be our only effort on target, we seemed in the ascendancy for the next 20 minutes.

On the occasions that Doumbia was able to get the ball down, rather than jog around with his neck craned skywards, the Charlton midfield were troubled by his driving runs forward. Hunt was as busy as ever, nearly forcing his way through on goal by sheer bloody-mindedness, only to be booked seemingly harshly for contesting a 50-50 with their goal keeper. Sigurdarson and Ward worked hard on their respective flanks, but without a real goal threat up front a lot of promising build up play failed to trouble their defence. How I longed for Ebanks.

And with the minutes ticking down and the game opening up, our exposed defence was yet again unable to cope with a counter attack which saw a shot blocked only to briefly delay the inevitable. As with Huddersfield, the introduction of a mobile front man (this time Jonathan Obika) proved our downfall, vindicating the shout of the bloke behind me when he replaced the dreadful Fuller, of “No! Leave Him On!” Saunders reacted to their winner by bringing on Danny Baath up front, reinforcing the notion that if we were to equalise it wouldn’t be thanks to anybody’s feet. This never happened, and not for the first time this season there was a sense that the opposition hadn’t really had to find a way to win, as we have become proficient at finding a way to lose.

Charlton Athletic Vs Wolves Preview

Whilst all eyes will be fixated on the teams below Wolves in the table, it’s still worth looking above.

Wolves Charlton

Take Burnley for example, just 3 points ahead of Wolves. They face Cardiff this weekend before traveling to Molineux next Saturday. If they’re to secure safety they’ll have to do it without Charlie Austin, the man who has literally scored half of their goals this season. He’s sidelined after appendix surgery.

Bottom 7Peterborough, above Wolves courtesy of a 3 goal swing, have two difficult away games to navigate against Derby and Crystal Palace, sandwiching a potentially mammoth home fixture against Sheffield Wednesday.

Neither the Owls or Blackburn are out of it either, despite having favourable fixtures and a game in hand respectively.

Then of course there’s Barnsley and Huddersfield.

Barnsley are at Forest this weekend before a home game against Hull. Huddersfield have it a tad easier with Millwall at home tomorrow before a visit to Bristol City the following weekend. They then play each other on the final day of the season. Yowza!

With all these variables to consider, calculating the required points tally becomes difficult. I just completed the Championship Predictor on the BBC site and had Wolves relegated on goal difference with 55 points (drawing tomorrow, winning against Burnley and losing at Brighton).

Two wins would do it. A win and two draws would almost certainly do it. A win and a draw might do it. Anything less and we’ve almost certainly had it.

Tomorrow might or might not be a good opportunity to get a result.

On one hand Charlton are unbeaten in 5 and safely ensconced in the top half. They’ve also won their last two home matches against Bolton and Leeds.

But they’re overall home record is abysmal. The worst in the league in fact, with just 6 wins and 9 defeats.

Wolves

Guts were busted in dragging themselves over the line against Hull on Tuesday, so Dean Saunders must be contemplating change. I’m just not sure who he can rest. I’d like to see the same XI:

Wolves team for Charlton

But will he really do that? I doubt it. My concern is that if you remove the two players who’ll probably be struggling most (Doumbia and Hunt) you take away the essence of everything that was positive about Tuesday.

It’s a difficult situation. I don’t envy the manager.

Predictions

9 people were brave enough to predict a win against Hull.

Well done in particular to Ben and slider, who also got the 1-0 scoreline correct. It’s 2 points for them and a single for the other 7.

I’m going for a draw tomorrow. No particular reason. Logic has long since left town.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.

Wolves 1 Hull City 0

Doctors will tell you a terminally ill patient often shows signs of improvement right before succumbing to their fate.

Wolves Hull

Whether this encouraging display of resistance proves to be that false dawn or a decisive step towards salvation, Molineux was just happy to be alive.

Tongo Doumbia rose from his sick bed to make the difference, covering more ground in 90 minutes than Jamie O’Hara has managed all season.

The rangy Malian was everywhere, putting in the sort of all-action performance we’ve forgotten a Wolves midfielder is capable of. He made the goal too, robbing possession in the City half, allowing Bjorn Sigurdarson to execute the killer pass.

Kevin Doyle made the finish look easy, slotting home only his eighth goal of the season, albeit his third winning strike in four Molineux appearances.

Doyle, ploughing a lone furrow up front, seemed to thrive from then on, reminding us how effective he can be in competing for those high, hanging shells down field.

Stephen Hunt was another to grow stronger with Wolves in the ascendancy, shutting down Hull’s options and causing untold nuisance value. His two surges forward should have resulted in a goal and a penalty, but as always we were left to suffer.

The back four will be encouraged by a rare cleansheet.

Credit Roger Johnson for heading everything away. His distribution remains woeful, but you couldn’t question his commitment.

Doherty, at fault for Huddersfield’s equalier on Saturday, put that disappointment behind him to register a solid performance, culminating in a crucial late tackle to halt Jay Simpon’s run on goal.

Mercifully, on the only occasion our defence was truly breached, Simpson and the post were kind to us. I felt we merited that good fortune.

Dean Saunders too deserved the luck. His team selection was just about spot on.

The shape of the team restricted forward progress in the first half, but gave us a solid platform to work from for a change. By the end we were handsomely rewarded.

We now head to the Valley resuscitated, still very much on life support, but dreaming of a discharge from intensive care.