Archives for December 2013

Rotherham United 3 Wolves 3

A lesser writer might have plumped for the old ‘Christmas cracker’ line when summing up a highly eventful encounter at the New York Stadium.

Wolves Rotherham

Not me though.

Even if a massive chunk of this Wolves performance could be described as distinctly Yule Log, I’m determined to avoid any lazy festive analogies.

But if I was going down that icy road, I’d have to say Danny Batth’s early goal was a wasted gift because in the time it takes to eat a mince pie, Rotherham had carved us up to restore parity.

I might also suggest Nouha Dicko was Grinch-like in his performance, sandwiching Kieran Agard’s goal with two of his own to leave Wolves looking like a plate of stodgy sprouts.

Others could rightly point out that amid the season of goodwill, it took a charitable handball to bring Wolves in from the cold. Either way, Bakary Sako was a grateful recipient.

James Henry lit the pudding with a tasty finish, ensuring a sweet conclusion to what could have been a real stuffing.

Leigh Griffiths could even have completed a yuletide miracle, had he not stumbled over his own feet like a drunk at the office party.

Still, like an ungrateful child on Christmas morning, we should gather up our haul, be pleased with what we received and hope for better next time.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Rotherham United Vs Wolves Preview

After back-to-back defeats Wolves now face up against one of the League’s most in-form sides.

Rotherham

Rotherham have won four of their last six games, including the most recent three to force themselves back into the play-off places.

And with the added carrot of playing the (supposed) giants of League One, it promises to be a tricky afternoon inside the glamorously named New York Stadium.

Rotherham

It’s been a superb season thus far for the Millers, currently sitting pretty inside the top six of League One after only climbing out of the fourth tier last season.

Some eye-catching results of late, including a 3-0 thumping of Coventry, have made everyone sit up and take notice of a side that had been quietly wracking up the points.

With 33 goals scored so far (one more than Wolves) and 24 conceded, they’re statistically one of the most exciting teams to watch. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the League’s meanest defence.

Away from home is where they’ve really kicked on, reigning victorious in 6 of their 10 matches and only losing twice. 3 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats at home is more solid than impressive.

Notable players include top scorer Kieran Agard (7 in the league and 9 total) and former Wolves hero Nouha Dicko who has already bagged 3 goals in 4 games since arriving on loan from Wigan.

Wolves

Another interesting team selection is in prospect with Kevin McDonald ruled out due to an accumulated bookings suspension. Kenny Jackett must also decide whether to reinstate  slackers Leigh Griffiths and Bakary Sako. I sincerely hope he does.

Wolves XI

Midfield is a major area of concern without McDonald who I don’t think gets the credit he deserves. I’d like to see him doing more in the final third, but his general ball retention and workrate have been good.

It could be any of Price, Evans or Davis filling in and all bring different qualities. I’ve put Jack Price in there because everyone keeps telling me how good he is. I’m yet to be convinced.

I think you can chop and change the strikers, but Doyle and Griffths are the best two for me. There’s a very good argument to say Doyle isn’t doing enough in front of goal, but I still think his overall play has been a major factor to our success. The goals will come again for Griffiths, of that I’m certain.

The gaffer

The odds

Wolves are very slight favourites to win this one at 31/20. Rotherham are 13/8 with the draw 12/5.

James Henry is decent odds for first goalscorer at 12/1, but if you believe in destiny then Nouha Dicko is far better money at 13/2.

All odds here.

Predictions

We’re an arrogant bunch you know. Nobody thought MK Dons would beat us last weekend so for the first time ever there isn’t a single point to be added to the PL table.

I wonder if we’ll see such unshakable confidence this weekend?

Personally, I’m desperate for a good Christmas after so much winter misery last season, so I’m topping up my glass and going for a semi-comfortable away victory. Make it happen lads.

3-1

Up The Wolves

Win tickets to the Preston game with Sky Bet

Thanks to our friends and official League One sponsors Sky Bet, we have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the Preston match at Molineux on Saturday 11th January.

Sky bet

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment below finishing the following sentence:

All I want for Christmas is…

The winner will be the comment with most ‘Likes’ at midday on Friday 20th December. In the event of a tie, the comment that was left most recently wins (as it generated the same votes in less time).

Please ensure the email address you use to leave a comment is the email address you can be contacted on if you’re the winner. I’ll be passing your details to the people at Sky Bet to arrange collection of the tickets.

Best of luck!

Wolves 0 MK Dons 2

Karl Robinson described his side’s performance as ‘perfect’ in the aftermath of just their second away win of the season.

Wolves Mk Dons

Looking at it objectively, I can just about see his point.

After absorbing all the huff and puff Wolves could muster in the first twenty minutes, the Dons suddenly started swinging.

And where so many jobbing League One strikers have faltered, Chelsea’s Patrick Bamford was absolute, superbly dispatching the only clear opportunity he was presented all afternoon.

Like too many performance of late, Wolves were guilty of trying to walk the ball in, advancing neatly at times, but struggling to find that decisive yard of space to register a clean strike.

Bakary Sako finally broke the shackles just before the break, but when his cross to Leigh Griffiths was blocked with the goal seemingly at their mercy, the afternoon drifted away.

Yet, removing Sako and Griffiths at the interval was a massive error of judgment on the part of the manager. Neither were at their best, but the mere presence of these players on the pitch puts opposition on the back foot.

Without them, MK Dons simply pinned Wolves back and smothered the game. It was all painfully routine.

Goals from distance are usually a sign it’s not your day and Ben Reeves fine strike right at the start of the second half was curtains as far as any comeback was concerned.

Liam McAlinden offered token resistance, hanging on the shoulder of the last defender and hitting two fierce strikes goalwards. On another day, he might have salvaged something.

Doyle, Jacobs and Henry all flattered with the occasional touch of creativity, but none ever looked likely to trouble the opposition goal. They must all do better in that respect.

Two defeats in a row shouldn’t be cause for panic and flippant conclusions, but probably for the first time this season, the character of the team is being examined.

And from what we saw yesterday, it’s less than perfect.

Reaction

Wolves Vs MK Dons Preview

With three of their four remaining fixtures in 2013 at home, Wolves have a great chance to sign-off a disappointing year on a high.

MK Dons

Depending on your perspective this is either the first ever meeting between Wolves and MK Dons or the first since they changed their name, upped sticks and moved 60-odd miles up the road. I’d probably take the former stance.

Losing to Peterborough was a drag but the splendid form that went before it meant we could absorb that defeat comfortably, just as long as it wasn’t the start of a bad run.

And that’s the challenge again facing Wolves, to kick-on after a defeat and carry on doing what they have been – getting the results. There’s no reason they shouldn’t.

MK Dons

The visitors come into this match on the back of a three game losing streak in the league, which made it seven defeats in their last ten matches.

As they have been for the last few years, MK were up and around the play-off places prior to their recent dip, but now find themselves nine points adrift of the top six.

Their away form is awful, with just one win from their eight matches against five defeats. And with 15 goals conceded on the road, Wolves should fancy their chances.

Patrick Bamford is a player to keep a watchful eye on. The on-loan Chelsea striker has already notched 12 goals this season and impressed greatly in doing so.

The Dons also have a couple of Wolves old boys in their midst – midfielders Stephen Gleeson who came through the academy and Darren Potter of early McCarthy vintage.

Wolves

With James Henry back, Kenny Jackett has a selection dilemma with three wingers and just two spaces to occupy. I suspect this will be the team though:

Wolves team for MK Dons

With Matt Doherty out, the back four picks itself. I think Henry should definitely come back into the midfield because of his goal threat and I personally wouldn’t contemplate leaving Sako out. That’s harsh on Jacobs, but he’s a useful player to introduce against tired legs.

Doyle and Griffiths are still the best all round partnership for me. Goals have been in somewhat short supply, but I don’t think it’s the crisis everyone makes out it is.

I would like to see a striker brought in next month and I think that player should be a Clayton Donaldson type (specifically him preferably). We’ve seen in the past (Iwelumo) the impact a big powerful forward can have.

The gaffer

The odds

Wolves are heavy favourites to win this one at 3/4. MK Dons are un-fancied at 4/1 for any victory. The draw is 29/10.

Leigh Griffiths is considered the most likely first goalscorer at 7/2. Patrick Bamford is 6/1.

All odds are available from here.

Predictions

It wasn’t hard to tot up the scores after the defeat at London Road. Only person thought we’d lose and that was the appropriately named Predictor, who bagged a maximum for his 1-0 forecast.

We probably won’t win all three of these festive home matches, but I’m hoping we’ll have too much for MK in this one. With a fully fit squad, I expect victory.

But I’m not greedy – 2-1

Up The Wolves

* Various people have reported problems when trying to leave comments on the blog. If you encounter an issue, can you send me a message via the contact form please and let me know exact details about the issue you’re having as well as the name of the browser you’re using. Cheers, Thomas

Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #5 – Melbourne, Australia

After getting lost for months in the back and beyond of Chile, the Wolves Blog Postcard has traveled across the South Pacific to Melbourne, where our very own Ash K (Ashley Kausman) was waiting with open arms.

Ashley Australia

How does an 8 year old boy in Melbourne, Australia become a Wolves fan when the year is 1970 and there are no live games shown, no internet, no Wolves Blog?

We used to get Match of the Day on a Saturday morning – a week after the match was played. The telecast was in black and white, so even if the commentators mentioned “old gold”, I probably did not have an accurate idea of team colours.

The local Australian Rules Football teams had nick-names like Lions, Hawks, Bombers, and it just didn’t make sense to me to cheer for a team called “City” or “Town” or “United”. So the “Wolves” became my team. Apart from the occasional game on Match of the Day, the only information that I really had was to check the scores and tables in Monday morning’s papers.

Ash K

My relationship was further cemented when I went to high school and a number of the kids followed English Football more closely. Whilst most were Man U, Derby, Arsenal and Liverpool supporters, I discovered a friend (Darren) who not only followed Wolves, but regularly received match day programs – My year 8 school folders were covered with pictures from the programs – I recall one reviewing the away match at Burnley headlined “Turf Moore, More, MORE!” (I think we scored 5 or 6 there).

The descent through the divisions was not covered in much detail in Australia, although I still checked the scores every Monday!

My first visit to Molineux came in the 1989-90 season. I was working in Liverpool for 6 months, and despite them having a more than useful local team, I managed to get myself down to Wolverhampton and stand on the terraces with a dilapidated empty stand on the left side of the ground.

Memorable results included a 2-1 win over the Baggies and 1-0 over Leeds. (My wife and kids are all familiar with the “Leeds” song).

Premier League status (first time) and the advent of live games on pay TV enhanced my connection with Wolves, where I could finally see a handful of games live. I also travel quite a bit for work and had a bizarre experience at a trade show in Singapore, where a gathering of a few hundred people at a Tax Free exhibition found a core group of Wolves fans from UK (Andrew), Abu Dhabi (Dan), Singapore (Alex) and Sweden (Janne Eric).

Ash and son

Premier League second time, saw Australian TV broadcast just about every game live, although it meant start times of anything from midnight to 5 am. Although my wife thinks that I am completely mad, I watched most matches and have managed to welcome my middle child to the fold and he is now a committed Wolves fan .

I have to credit Wolves Blog as being a major factor in my connection with everything Wolves – I find myself checking in pretty much every day (even in the off season awaiting trades that never seem to occur). It is great to hear the differing views of the good, bad and ugly and without having met any of the contributors, I somehow still feel like I “know” many of you.

Usain Bolt Ash Lastly, I want to let you know of my 2 sporting highlights of 2012…

At number 2 – being a part of the Gambian team at the London Olympics, including marching at the opening ceremony. (But why an Australian who has never been to the Gambia is a member of their team is a whole other story for another time!)

And my number 1 sporting highlight of 2012 was winning the Wolves Blog prediction league! Being 10,555 miles from Molineux, and therefore unable to attend any home or away matches, I can’t explain my predictive prowess other than to say that with Wolves, being a pessimist pays off – though hopefully that is now starting to change.

Go Wolves!

Ashley