Archives for August 2015

Wolves Vs Barnet Preview

I was there in 1998.

Barnet

2-1 down from the first leg (back when the League Cup was considered important enough to constitute two matches per round), Wolves smashed Barnet to dust inside a half empty Molineux to progress.

Bully netted his 18th (and final) hat-trick for the club and Robbie Keane executed one of the most audacious finishes you’ll ever see.

I actually put a bet on Wolves to win 5-0, but sadly it was only £1 and the odds were only 20/1. Still, not a bad earner.

After seeing us toil in Wales at the weekend and only narrowly progress past Newport, I’d happily accept a much narrower victory this time.

Barnet

530px-Barnet_FC.svgThe Bees have endured a worse start than Wolves and currently sit 21st in League Two with just three points from their opening four matches.

However, after promotion from the conference last season, survival is probably an acceptable achievement.

They beat Millwall in extra time to progress beyond the first round and will be sniffing a bigger upset this time.

One familiar name from their teamsheet is Graham Stack, who had two loan spells at Wolves, but barely ever featured for the first team.

Martin Allen, now in his fourth spell as Barnet manager will have fond Molineux memories.

His Gillingham side were thrashed 4-0 in League One two years back and his luminous red trousers prompted chants of ‘Are you Santa in disguise?’ from the South Bank.

Wolves

That was a train wreck of a performance in Cardiff. Kenny said it was an even game and while I agree there wasn’t a lot in it prior to their first goal, he’ll know we should be doing a lot better.

Wolves Barnet

There are noises about major changes to the side tonight, so who knows what sort of XI we’ll see given the personnel at Kenny’s disposal?

If the above team came to fruition that would be nine changes from the side that kicked off against Cardiff.

That doesn’t even include the likes of Tommy Rowe, Jordan Graham or young striker Bright Enobakhare who might also figure.

Personally I’d like to see more of the first team retained, regardless of recent stumbles. I want us to win and progress. Losing with a few decent individual displays isn’t my cup of cocoa.

The gaffer

Predictions

Much like Newport, you’d hope that changes to the team don’t mean we come unstuck against lower league opposition.

But more ins and outs are predicted tonight and we barely scraped through in the last round despite playing the likes of Afobe, Dicko and Coady.

I do fear an upset but hope Kenny picks a sensible side that can get the job done.

I’ll go for a narrow win – 2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Cardiff City 2 Wolves 0

What’s Callum Wilson, Scott Dann, Bakary Sako, Chris Wood and even Sammy Ameobi got in common?

Wolves Cardiff

They all glistened for their respective clubs yesterday and could have been playing for Wolves – not to mention £12.5 million man Nathaniel Clyne – but for a refusal to meet their wage demands. Allegedly.

As it is, our inferior imitation of last season’s side suffers a second successive defeat to signal the arrival of some choppy waters, following two years of joyously serene progress.

If it wasn’t so self-inflicted it wouldn’t be so damned annoying.

With a year to replace Bakary Sako and a summer to find an experienced centre-half, we turn a blind eye and hope for the best.

In the excruciating world of Wolves, faint hope supersedes hard cash with a cyclical strategy along the lines of the following:

Don’t spend on wages. Play young kids. Hope they do well. Hope we go up. Sell best player if we fail. Stick with the kids. Hope they do well. Hope we go up. Sell best player if we fail. Don’t spend on wages. Stick with young kids, repeat ad nauseam.

When a League One squad player, in the shade of Michael Jacobs for much of 2013/14, is playing in a number 10 role behind Afobe, then you know you’ve got problems.

And for the first time in an otherwise glorious tenure under Jackett, some of them have been brought about by himself.

Whilst impossible to quantify, the unflappable Ikeme might not have made that gaffe for Cardiff’s opener had he not have been treated so shoddily beforehand.

The footballing gods, awoken from a two year slumber, acknowledged the tomfoolery by setting the stage for Kenwyn Jones’ opener like only they know how.

Like Guedioura’s thunderbolt for Forest and Mark Davies’ equaliser at the South Bank under Solbakken, they rarely ever forget.

Dropping Golbourne and Dicko was also puzzling in the extreme.

So we cling to faint hope as our route to salvation.

We hope Hause, Iorfa, Ojo and Ebanks-Landell will play like seasoned pros.

We hope Dave Edwards will magically morph into a devilish number 10.

We then hope that Sammy Ameobi won’t score past us having tried to bring him to Wolverhampton, knowing full well what would eventually happen. Those pesky footballing gods again.

As we languish in 17th place in this embryonic league, the Charlton game now assumes meaty proportions, however early the season might be.

In the absence of hard cash to strengthen this side, I can only hope for a win.

The gaffer

Cardiff City Vs Wolves Preview

The first home defeat of the season always smarts.

Cardiff

Of course being 2-0 up and contriving to lose from such a dominant position didn’t make it any easier to digest.

But the game was always wide open and both teams were threatening goals throughout.

Had Martinez shown stronger hands or the chances we created been more ruthlessly dispatched, it might still have been our night.

There are frailties in this Wolves side, but there’s still much to feel positive about heading to Wales.

Cardiff

800px-Cardiff_City_Crest_2015Last season must have been depressing for Cardiff fans who had high hopes of an immediate top flight return.

It wasn’t Wolves Solbakken/Saunders bad, but they were a long way off being contenders.

This time under Russell Slade they start with a significantly lower profile, which may prove a benefit.

Three draws doesn’t scream strong start, but to come through undefeated from tough away assignments at Blackburn and QPR is no easy task.

There are a lot of experienced heads in their side as well as young talent like striker Joe Mason who Wolves were heavily linked with over the summer.

Wolves

All eyes will be on Kenny Jackett’s team selection this weekend after the midweek setback, but I don’t think we’ll see significant change.

Wolves team for Cardiff

On reflection, it was QPR’s third goal Emiliano Martinez should be disappointed with conceding. It was straight at him, unlike the equaliser, which also came through bodies.

I agree with the overwhelming majority who think Ikeme should regain his place, but the above XI is the team I think will be picked.

Hause has averaged a costly mistake every game so Ebanks-Landell is surely worth a punt? And I think freshening up the midfield might not be a bad idea. van La Parra did some good things after coming on Wednesday.

The gaffer

Predictions

Three games in and I haven’t got a single prediction anywhere close to right, so feel free to skip over this section folks.

Would most people agree that a draw is probably the most likely outcome?

Either way, I’m hedging my bets. I always back us to score, but we’re very open and there’s uncertainty at the back.

1-1

Up The Wolves!