Archives for February 2015

Cardiff City Vs Wolves Preview

As good as the last two victories have been, results elsewhere have been dispiriting.

Cardiff Wolves

Six of the seven teams above us (Bournemouth being the exception) also won on Tuesday meaning the gap between Wolves and the play-off places remains five points.

That’s a considerable chunk particularly when you factor in our feeble goal difference, meaning we’ll likely have to stack another point on top to force our way into the promised land north of the dotted line.

The remaining fixtures also look tough on paper, so some big performances between now and May are needed if we’re to have any chance at all.

Cardiff

Cardiff_City_Crest.svgA visit to the Welsh capital doesn’t look as daunting now as it might have done back in August. The Bluebirds are down in midtable and practically guaranteed to be playing in the Championship again next season.

Russell Slade, who we’re all well familiar with from last term, is now in charge but his arrival from Leyton Orient hasn’t sparked the play-off push they’d probably hoped for.

In fact, victory at Wigan in midweek was their first in eight matches, which explains why their season looks to have petered out before the end of February.

Still, their home form has been more than respectable with eight wins, three draws and five defeats. It’s away from the Cardiff City Stadium where they’ve largely suffered, with just two victories all season.

With the likes of Kenywe Jones and Peter Whittingham knocking around, if they’re up for the game it promises to be a tough afternoon.

They also paid decent money for Chesterfield striker¬†Eoin Doyle who has scored shedloads in the lower divisions. He’ll be one to watch out for this weekend.

Wolves

The last two matches have gone the way most of our home games went in League One with the other team pressing for long periods but Wolves holding firm (or riding their luck) and being ruthless at the other end.

Wolves team for Cardiff

Nothing wrong with that of course. I think an open game suits us because we have the attacking players to exploit the space.

Kenny Jackett has already said a couple of times that we need to go all out for victories and I think he’s absolutely right. I expect to see attacking team selections from now until May.

He tried something different in the week, playing Jack Price tucked in on the right. That was an interesting tactic and Price’s steady assurance on the ball helped feed possession to our dangerous forward line.

It will be interesting to see if he deploys that same eleven in Wales or changes it up again.

The gaffer

Predictions

The fixtures for the other promotion chasers look tougher this weekend so Wolves have to try and capitalise.

I don’t think the team is short of quality, but they need to show the desire to fight and scrap away from Molineux. To be fair, aside from the surrender at Carrow Road, they’ve generally done that well of late.

I think we’ll concede but I also fancy us to score a couple.

The trusty old prediction – 3-1

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 3 Fulham 0

If you were smart with your recruitment policy, you might be able to replace the goals and assists of Bakary Sako.

Sako Fulham

The quality, the personality and the sheer excitement he brings to the table are a different matter altogether.

Priceless would be my description of the Mali winger after a virtuoso display that saw Fulham smashed to dust inside 45 pulsating Molineux minutes.

His first trick? To whip an inch perfect corner onto the head of Danny Batth for the big defender to nod home at the near post.

Then, after 20 minutes of almost constant Fulham pressure he orchestrated an incisive passing move before unleashing a missile to double the lead.

Finally he received the ball inside left before galloping over two challenges and finding the only conceivable way through the goalkeeper that didn’t defy the laws of physics.

Thank you and goodnight.

Kit Symons bemoaned his team’s luck after the game, stating he thought they were (by far) the better side.

Sorry to disagree old sport, but the reality is that while your team enjoyed the greater share of possession, the difference came in the final third.

As Wolves have learned many times already this season, incisive pass and move football counts for nothing if it doesn’t result in a telling final act.

And the only clear chance Fulham created all evening was squandered by their £10 million man.

If Ross McCormack can command such a fee, the mind boggles at the bounty Wolves could put on the head of a contractually bound Bakary Sako.

As it is, he’ll leave for nothing more than a thank you in the summer if Wolves aren’t promoted to the Premier League.

A few more displays like this and that particular problem may resolve itself come May.

Highlights

Wolves Vs Fulham Preview

It was a drag to go out of the FA Cup to Fulham a few weeks back.

Wolves Fulham

Not least because Wolves looked like they had the tie won at 3-2 and the penalty that saved their bacon seemed dubious at best.

The Wembley dream swiftly ended for Fulham courtesy of defeat to Sunderland in the fourth round.

We can still make it there via the play-offs and Saturday suggested a late run isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

Fulham

Fulham_FC_LogoKit Symons needs a win for very different reasons. The Londoners haven’t tasted victory in five matches and are slipping back towards relegation strife.

They certainly shouldn’t go down given the personnel they have on their books, but a lot of people said the same about Wolves two years ago and we know how that ended.

Parker, McCormack and Rodallega all have pedigree but it’s the players that slot in around these experienced heads that’s likely the root cause of the problem.

They paid silly money for McCormack but he’s into double figures for the season, as is Rodallega. Fulham have actually scored one more goal than Wolves in the league. But they’ve also conceded 15 more.

Their away form is terrible. Only Bolton (11) have lost more than the Cottagers (10) on the road. And only Blackpool (36) have conceded more goals than their 35.

Wolves

I can only see Kenny Jackett naming the same side that saw off Rotherham on Saturday, which means the following XI:

Wolves team for Fulham

Afobe and Dicko were both withdrawn after the third goal went in, presumably being rested ahead of this game.

If Kenny wanted to freshen things up he might consider bringing in van La Parra, Evans or one of the full backs, but it doesn’t seem likely.

I think the weekend really underlined the importance of the first goal at Molineux. Wolves have a habit of running out of ideas and allowing the opposition in, but when they get ahead it opens the game up.

Afobe and Dicko have all the raw potential to be the best forward partnership we’ve had in many a year. Getting the ball up to them in space almost guarantees chances and goals.

The (assistant) gaffer

Predictions

I had a conversation with Mike (aka Twixfix) yesterday who has kindly been keeping a backup table for the Prediction League in a spreadsheet, while we complete the first season using the automated system.

Our tables are starting to diverge a little as we enter the home straight and the principal reason is that some people are using two different emails addresses to comment.

To be clear guys (and gals) if you don’t use a consistent email address to enter your predictions, you will end up with two separate scores in the table. Anyone who thinks they might have accidentally done this, give me a shout on email and I’ll merge your scores together.

As for tonight, the statistics suggest Wolves should win and I’m going to back us to do so. Fulham are dangerous going forward but like Rotherham, I’m not sure they’re tight enough defensively to keep us out.

3-1

Up The Wolves.