Archives for December 2013

Tranmere Rovers Vs Wolves Preview

Wolves might have slipped to third after Sunday, but if you offered me the same 48 points over the second half of the season, I would gratefully accept.

Wolves Tranmere

A 90+ tally must be the ultimate aim and if Wolves achieve that, it’s difficult to envisage promotion being anything but a certainty.

Two highly winnable away matches kick us off, starting at Tranmere tomorrow before the televised game at Gillingham on Friday evening.

The reverse fixture at Molineux a month or so back was probably the most comfortable victory of the season. Only two goals were scored but it could have been ten and the visitors rarely troubled our goal.

It’s difficult to believe things will be that straightforward at Prenton Park.

Tranmere

Ronnie Moore’s side have the second worst home record in the league, with just two wins from their ten matches to date. They’ve already been beaten five times on their own patch.

Since losing at Molineux at the end of November, they’ve won two and lost three, most recently finding themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat at Bramall Lane.

According to the BBC preview, Tranmere are facing a defensive crisis ahead of this match with two of their first choice back four ruled out.

The danger man is definitely veteran striker Ryan Lowe, who has 14 goals to his name already this season. We didn’t see much of him at Molineux as he struggled to make inroads as the lone forward.

Wolves

There were mixed views on Kenny Jackett’s team selection for Sunday. I agree that we played great football in that first half, but we didn’t get enough bodies into the box and when we did, the chances went begging.

Wolves team for Tranmere

The one major positive for me was Jacobs playing in that central role, tucked in behind the striker. His ability to move at speed with the ball was a real feature of our play. I hope we keep him.

I would definitely play Griffiths from the start. We need goals and he’s the only striker that scores. It’s that simple.

I’m always open to other people’s views and many have stated they thought Cassidy did well in the last two matches. I personally did not. Everyone sees a different game though.

Kenny could rotate any number of other players into the team including: Evans, Davis (where’s he gone?), Doyle, Sigurdarson, McAlinden or Golbourne (if fit). Plenty of options then for the manager to explore.

The odds

Wolves are the favourites for the win at 3/4. Tranmere are 4/1. The draw is 3/1.

You can get odds of 6/1 if you think this will be the game that Jake Cassidy finally breaks his duck for Wolves as the first goalscorer.

All odds can be found here.

Predictions

10 people correctly opted for the draw against Orient. A trio of those also got the 1-1 scoreline to double up their points tally.

Well done to Predictor, Ash K and GoWolves.

Heart and head says we should win this one so it has to be a Wolves victory. Don’t give anything silly away and we should ease through comfortably.

2-0 to the visitors.

Up The Wolves

Wolves 1 Leyton Orient 1

If you create 90% of the chances but score just 50% of the goals, it’s obvious where the game got away.

Wolves Leyton Orient

The numbers don’t lie. Wolves registered three times as many shots, forced six more corners and enjoyed the majority share of possession.

Yet after an hour of almost total domination, the league leaders were still only trailing by Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s superb early goal.

Cue a quickly taken free kick, a fabulous ball across goal and a player actually attacking the back post for a tap-in.

The high-flying visitors, with the only real chance they created all afternoon, ceasing the initiative with the sort of ruthless finishing their opponents simply couldn’t muster.

Kevin McDonald was perhaps most wasteful, cantering clean through on goal but seeing a tame effort palmed away with an absence of gold shirts hanging around for the loose ball.

Jake Cassidy and the lively Michael Jacobs were equally wasteful as Wolves pummeled away to no avail.

Leigh Griffiths, again on a watching brief, wasn’t introduced to the game until after the O’s had taken the wind from the sails. He was ineffective but surrounded by tired legs, starved of any service.

If Kenny Jackett believes Cassidy’s graft and hold up play are adequate enough reasons to keep our top scorer on the sidelines, I respectfully disagree.

But whichever side you fall on that particular argument it’s clear what should be at the very top of the manger’s January shopping list.

Because today, like too many performance of late, could only be described as one thing – a missed opportunity.

Wolves Vs Leyton Orient Preview

It’s funny how things work out.

Orient

After going stride for stride for over four and a half months, League One’s top two, separated only by goal difference, now finally lock horns having played every other team in the division.

What a picture perfect way to bring down the curtain on the first half of the season in front of a packed out Molineux.

Leyton Orient

Orient have been the league’s outstanding side so far and deservedly go into this match at the very top of the ladder.

As an outsider looking in, they appear to have accumulated their 47 points more comfortably than Wolves.

The O’s have netted 47 goals, which is a strike rate of more than two a game. No secret then to where their strength lies.

David Mooney and Kevin Lisbie have shared 23 of those goals, so it promises to be a tough afternoon for our back four still protecting the league’s best defensive record.

Like Wolves, Orient’s form has been patchy of late with only one win in their last five. It also took a late turnaround at Gillingham on Boxing Day to get that crucial victory.

Russel Slade’s team have the best away record in the league with 8 wins from their 12 games and just one defeat. They’ve also netted a staggering 27 goals on their travels.

Wolves

I’ll be very disappointed if we see the same starting XI that just about dispatched Crewe. This would be my team without question:

Wolves team for Orient

That team (with the exception of Doherty) is the best blend of experience, ability, defensive prowess and attacking menace KJ has at his disposal.

I would always back that side to prevail, even against Orient. However, it might be that Kenny has something specific in mind for our illustrious opponents.

The odds

The bookies have Wolves as favourites to win this one at 21/20. Orient are 14/5 and the draw is 13/5.

O’s midfielder Dean Cox is generous odds for first goalscorer at 14/1. He already has 10 strikes to his name this season.

Leigh Griffiths has found the goals harder to come by of late, but he’s still considered the most likely first scorer at 15/4.

All odds can be found here.

Predictions

Most people correctly thought we’d beat Crewe, so well done to all (53) of you. 15 also got the scoreline spot on to double up.

With practically identical records up to this point, a draw seems the most likely conclusion. But we haven’t beaten any teams inside the current top six and that has to change.

I’m therefore adding a dash of bias and a sprinkle of optimism in the hope of our best performance of the season to date.

Don’t let me down lads – 3-1

Up The Wolves!