Archives for December 2016

Wolves Vs QPR Preview

In a typically flamboyant interview with Gary Lineker earlier this year, Jurgen Klopp gave a brief insight into his footballing philosophies.

One of the tidbits that stuck with me was when he said his main objective was to have ‘memorable games in a row‘, adding:  ‘you (the fans) leave the stadium and you want to see the next game. You can’t wait for the next game‘.

Paul Lambert seems to have taken a leaf out of the German’s book with the last two home matches anything but forgettable. I can’t wait for the next one.

Interesting also to note it was the Scot pulling the troops together at full time on Boxing Day to get the Thunder Clap going in front of a packed out South Bank.

There’s no doubt Lambert is going the extra mile. Sitting down with supporters whenever he gets the chance, listening, engaging and pretty much doing anything within his power to get Molineux bouncing.

If you expected defensive and dour, what we’ve been served up of late is anything but. Long may it continue.

QPR

Things certainly haven’t been dull at Loftus Road since Ian Holloway returned but an upturn in entertainment value hasn’t equated to an upturn in results. Quite the opposite in fact. The Hoops come into this fixture on a six game losing run.

Wolves inflicted one of those defeats and I felt in that particular contest they paid the price for the manager’s attacking impulses.

They could have shut up shop after going down to 10 men but instead kept things very open and were eventually picked off by the extra man.

On a more positive note they fought right to the end and nearly pulled off an unlikely comeback suggesting they’re not a team to just lay down and die.

Scoring goals has been the problem. With only 20 on the board (averaging less than a goal a game), they’re the joint lowest scorers in the league.

It was another blank and another sending off against Brighton on Tuesday. As such captain Nedum Onuoha will sit out this one after being the latest QPR man to take an early shower.

Wolves

Same again for Paul Lambert? It’s hardly been a taxing festive programme so no obvious reason to change a team that’s secured back-to-back victories.

It’s difficult to see the above eleven not creating chances with so much pace and ability across the front line.

Cavaleiro has stepped up his game and been excellent in his last two home performances. When you’ve got wingers causing problems down both flanks it stretches the game and that’s exactly what’s happened of late.

With Dicko still not scoring there’s an argument to give Jon Dadi Bodvarsson another run in the team, but the former’s performances and all round play have been improving so he’s worth persevering with. We all know what he can do at the top of his game.

Defensively you could change the personnel but it would be the same individuals who’ve shipped goals all season. I think we need to look outwardly to solve the problem.

Predictions

If ever you were going to predict a victory it would be now. QPR are sinking, their skipper is suspended and they haven’t scored a single goal in their last four matches.

Wolves should be full of confidence and starting to look up the table now there’s a comfortable buffer below.

Things seldom go to plan in games like this but I’d like to think we’ll once again do enough going forward to get the job done.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 3 Bristol City 2

As far as Christmas presents go, a scrappy home win against a team ranked only marginally higher in the lower echelons of the Championship table is hardly the most grandiose of gestures.

But considering this was our first win at Molineux since September 24, it really did feel like Santa had come to town.

Prior to Tammy Abraham’s equaliser, you’d be forgiven for scoffing at the suggestion that the Robins were capable of causing a swashbuckling home side too many problems.

Another goal from Dave Edwards, his fifth in eight games, gave us a deserved early lead and a second seemed inevitable given the gusto with which we attacked a seemingly overwhelmed opposition.

However, profligacy in front of goal proved our undoing and, in scenes eerily reminiscent of our first half showing against Fulham, we headed in to the break trailing.

The aforementioned Abraham was irrepressible for most of the afternoon so our defence can perhaps be excused for being outdone by City’s first goal but nothing can justify the paucity of their efforts for the second strike; you simply cannot defend set pieces in that way and expect to go unpunished.

One has grown to suspect that Paul Lambert’s remedy for our fragile back four is to simply outscore the opposition and our second half showing enforced that theory resoundingly.

Despite a stuttering start, the players were reinvigorated in their attempts to level things up and, after a series of near misses and questionable oversights by referee and pantomime villain for the day James Adcock, were deservedly rewarded for their efforts.

Helder Costa’s strike was beautiful to behold and offered a glimpse as to how potent an attacking force we could grow to be under Lambert’s stewardship, given a clean bill of health and some wily recruitment in the next transfer window.

Adcock was presumably keen to atone for his prior sins when he awarded a not so blatant penalty in the final ten, one which was dispatched with aplomb by the ever improving Ivan Cavaleiro.

Ours was naturally a lead that was far from easy to defend but retain it we did, though the chagrin of the opposing manager and traveling support suggested that video technology would have deprived us of the three points.

However, given the gratingly bullish demeanour of Lee Johnson, this detail only served to sweeten the taste of victory.

Before signing off, a word on some of the individual performances seen yesterday.

Connor Coady is not so convincing as to suggest he is the long term solution to our right back conundrum but he certainly looks a better immediate fit that Dominic Iorfa.

Danny Batth is in greater need of a fully fit Mike Williamson than anyone else; whether as a defensive partner or much needed competition for a starting berth, our captain is sure to benefit from his presence in the squad.

Jack Price is more crucial to us than any other player barring Costa, such is his ability to calm proceedings around him and more crucially quicken the transition between defence and attack.

Finally and most obviously, Costa and Cavaleiro offer the key to a surge up the league table. When on form, these pair are arguably better than any other winger in the division. Keeping them fit has to be a priority moving forward.

Reasons to be cheerful have been in short supply this season but yesterday offered more signs of life than have been seen at any point since the early throes of the campaign.

Let’s hope they’re not just for Christmas.

Wolves Vs Bristol City Preview

We managed four wins on the bounce this time last season, which briefly catapulted us from the bottom half right up towards the play-offs.

A repeat would be nice and with two winnable home games to come after victory at Forest, there’s certainly an opportunity to put a run together.

Still, it’s probably optimistic to think our consistently inconsistent team will overcome both Bristol City and QPR. History also tells us to be wary.

The last time we had back-to-back home games in Christmas week we got well and truly sorted out by both Peterborough and Ipswich on the way down to League One.

All things considered, I’m permitting myself to feel cautiously optimistic.

Bristol City

With six defeats in their last seven matches, the Robins are sinking like a stone. The top six looked a realistic objective a few months back, but now they’re on the cusp of getting pulled down towards the other dotted line.

If Wolves win this match, they’ll move ahead of Lee Johnson’s side and he’ll know as well as anybody history is against his side in this fixture.

They haven’t tasted victory at Molineux since 1931, which is a 19 game run. And despite the odd home win in that time, you can definitely call us their bogey team.

Much like Wolves, they’re not air tight defensively or prolific going forward so it’s anyone’s guess how this match will unfold.

On loan Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham was banging in the goals early doors, but seems to have found the going tougher lately. I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to offer.

Wolves

Paul Lambert is obviously a fan of changing his team to combat the opposition rather than sticking to a rigid preferred eleven. He said as much after the victories against QPR and Forest. I wonder what he has in store for this one?

The team that started at the City Ground was surprisingly attack-minded with the only disappointment being we didn’t create a fat lot aside from the two goals that went in.

There’s a lot of pace and mobility in forward positions, which is something we haven’t seen enough of particularly at Molineux.

Conor Coady was a surprise choice at full back but isn’t a bad short term solution with Silvio injured, Borthwick-Jackson out of favour and Dominic Iorfa struggling for form.

It would be great to see Bright Enobakhare and Connor Ronan play a part. They both have the talent to make a meaningful impact in the here and now.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

QPR seems like the more winnable of these two winnable festive home fixtures so I’ll play it safe with a draw this time.

I think City have some good individual talent in their ranks, like Tammy Abraham and Lee Tomlin, so they possess enough firepower to cause damage if we allow it to happen.

It’s complete finger in the air guesswork right now given how up and down the performances have been.

2-2.

Up The Wolves!

On a separate note, a very Merry Christmas to everyone connected to the blog. Good tidings to one and all!