Archives for March 2017

Wolves Vs Cardiff City Preview

It would be nice to cancel out those five straight league defeats with five straight victories.

With three wins already in the bag and two winnable fixtures in the next five days, it’s certainly possible.

But our performance levels at Molineux this season have been woeful so I don’t think anyone will be counting chickens.

Based on our home form alone we’d actually be in the relegation zone, cut adrift from safety (see the table here). Compare that to sitting fifth in the away table and it’s a pretty stark contrast.

With six of our remaining nine games at Molineux, we need to address this imbalance.

Cardiff

While we’re talking about theoretical tables, Neil Warnock said this week Cardiff would be third based on their results since he took over earlier in the season.

Much like he did at Rotherham, he’s turned their fortunes right around. You can’t deny he’s a great manager at this level.

It was interesting to hear him speak quite disparagingly about former Wigan boss Warren Joyce a few weeks ago and he went on to claim there weren’t many good managers around.

I’d disagree with this statement as I actually think the Championship have a lot of talented coaches. Perhaps not with his experience, but strong characters who I’d expect to see manage in the Premier League at some point.

They’re already talking about a promotion push next season but I think that’s quite premature. Good luck to them but things can turn sour in this league very quickly.

Wolves

I think Paul Lambert has to really go for it in the remaining home fixtures. Play the matchwinners as he did at Fulham, be a bit more open and just go all out for the win. If he does that, the crowd will respond.

That team oozes with pace and attacking potential. Weimann has got himself a couple of goals playing through the middle so must be persevered with.

The presence of Cavaleiro and Marshall really does free up Helder Costa to play to his maximum, while those two players have proven very useful themselves in this little winning run.

There’s been a lot of talk this week about creating a positive atmosphere inside Molineux but for me the manager really sets the tone on a match day with his team selection.

Predictions

If you’re looking at this game, Forest next Tuesday and Bristol City away next weekend as a block, you’d probably say this one looks the toughest.

I expect Cardiff to be physical, well drilled and tough to breakdown. A very typical Championship outfit.

But if Paul Lambert is bold in his approach, I think we might just win it.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Bloggers Ball 2017

It is nearly that time again.

A time when a number of Bloggers Unite in A Park View Hotel in Wolverhampton to discuss the season in depth.

A time where we meet those Bloggers who we have either not seen at all or those who we have not seen for some time.

A time where the discussions lead on from how the club have performed on and off the field, to how certain Bloggers have pissed off certain Bloggers and a time where we all unite regardless of our ethnicity, sexual orientation, prediction ability and our overall views, to have an absolutely amazing chin wag, sup a few ales and generally talk bollox.

For those of you who have been contemplating attending the end of season gathering, which is now in its fourth year, but have been undecided in the belief that it is a clique; well, you are correct, it IS a clique.

A clique of Wolves supporters who want to talk Wolves to Wolves fans, and who want to talk Wolves to whoever is willing to listen. And often to those that don’t.

This end of Season BallBash (we might consider a name change) is planned to to take place at A Park View Hotel, 12-13 Park Road West, Wolverhampton WV1 4PP on Saturday 6th May 2017.

The intent is for Bloggers to arrive anytime they wish during the day and weather depending we have previously assembled in the large area behind the hotel where all the fun starts. There is no need to “sign in”, just turn up and I am sure you will enjoy the day.

Evening meal

We have on previous gatherings ended the evening by way of dining in the restaurant. I have arranged the booking of the main dining area for us from 8pm.

Those that wish to dine that evening will need to let me know by no later than mid April so that I can confirm actual numbers with the hotel.

Those not residing in the hotel will need to pay a deposit of £10.00 per head, but I will pay this and recover it from you when you arrive on the 6th .

There will be a three course A La Carte menu at a cost of £26.00 per person which you can see here. I ask all wishing to dine to let me know your choice of Starter, Main and Desert and I will forward that to the hotel at the time of confirming numbers.

To date I am aware of the following Bloggers who intend to dine that evening, please let me know if this is not accurate:

Mark Davies +1
StuWolf + 7
Bedford Wolf
Brompton Wolf
Twixfix +1
theDOOGooder + 1
ClivefromHouston

Please note that there is provisionally a number of ex Wolves players attending the evening. Names are known but will not be released – so come along and be surprised.

Everyone reading this Blog is most welcome, whether you post on here or not, and it will be great to see as many new faces as possible. The more the merrier.

I am sure that Clive from Houston will undertake his annual trip to the Black Country, so for those that have grated their teeth throughout the season after reading his posts, please come along and meet our Pussycat.

I am also sure that there will be a number of Bloggers arriving from all over the UK and from other parts of the World, and I am sure the whole day and the evening event will be enjoyed by all those attending.

Even though I have not asked him, I am confident that Mark theDOOGooder Earl will once again capture the events throughout the day and produce yet another fantastic montage, for us all to enjoy.

Finally, at the last BallBash, it was decided that at the evening meal we all dressed wearing “Silly Ties”. There has been some deliberation about a theme this season.

Any suggestions (not stupid ones Clive), are welcome and the decision will be made on the majority of suggestions received.

Looking forward to seeing you all again in May.

Brompton Wolf

Fulham 1 Wolves 3

What a difference two weeks can make.

It wasn’t so long ago we were heading into fixtures against Ipswich and Rotherham with little (if any) confidence about our prospects.

Now, after two excellent performances against talented opposition, the urge to look up the table rather than over our shoulders is beginning to return.

Paul Lambert deserves credit for masterminding this turnaround in form, though the measures he’s taken to achieve it are fairly simplistic.

When you field your best attacking players and play others in their correct position, a positive outcome is more likely to be received than if you’d done otherwise.

Take the reigns off this Wolves team and they’re a match for any team in this division.

Fulham (an excellent side, by the way) were cut open with regularity yesterday, particularly down the flanks where Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro were back to their diminutive best.

It’s taken this writer some time to warm to the latter but we’re undoubtedly a better side with him than we are without.

That’s an assertion Costa is sure to agree with, given that he seems to benefit from Cavaleiro’s presence more than any other player.

With two buccaneering wingers to focus on (not to mention Ben Marshall and Andi Weimann), teams can’t afford to double up on Costa the way they were a few weeks back.

That gives him the freedom to run at teams and, as Fulham’s full backs found out yesterday, damage them.

If we can keep both players fit and focused over the summer then next season could be mightily enjoyable, providing the spine of the team is also improved.

Given the mooted interest in Costa from a number of Premier League sides, that could prove a difficult ask.

For now though, let’s savour this most satisfying of weeks and hope that it’s the beginning of a strong end to the season.

Fulham Vs Wolves Preview

I do think Wolves have better players than every other team in the bottom half of the league.

But putting it all together on a semi-consistent basis has been a big problem all season.

We’ve also got too many players of very similar ability levels who bring different things to the table, which is why managers keep tinkering trying to find the right combination.

Assuming we do stay up, the decks need to be swept over the summer. Shedding six or seven players is as important as adding the three or four we obviously need.

Until then, I can’t foresee us consistently picking up results with our mix and match lineups.

Fulham

I had one eye on the Fulham Blackburn game while Wolves were turning things around at Griffin Park.

They twice took the lead and had most of the ball as you might imagine, but Blackburn gave as good as they got in the second half and deserved their point.

Wolves have to do exactly what they did against Brentford and stop Fulham getting into their passing rhythm.

They’ve really gathered momentum over the last 10 games and if they’d held on against Blackburn they’d be in the top six.

I thought they looked really good at Molineux in that 4-4 draw, but they’re definitely still vulnerable at the back.

They’ve got where they are with decent form home and away so Craven Cottage is by no means a fortress. We should have a chance.

Wolves

It’s another case of stick or twist for Paul Lambert. Does he persevere with the starting lineup that did well at Brentford but couldn’t break through or bring in some of the players who helped turn it around?

I don’t really mind either way, but we’ve got to try and get something like a settled side for the final run-in.

And the above line up isn’t too bad when you’ve got the likes of Marshall and Cavaleiro in reserve to introduce as we did in midweek.

Also worth remembering that the above eleven did the business at Anfield (with just one change) too so they have some pedigree.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

It would be great to get a result here ahead of the international break. We’d then be heading into two winnable homes games with real confidence.

Can’t see us keeping Fulham out but if Lambert can extract another high intensity performance from the group, we should be able to inflict some damage ourselves.

I’ll go for half of what we saw at Molineux in December – 2-2.

Up The Wolves!

Brentford 1 Wolves 2

Performance and result – finally.

We’ve had both in recent weeks but not together since winning at Barnsley at the back end of January.

The latter remains the most important of course, but the former was a stark reminder about what this group of players can produce when they all turn up.

Paul Lambert’s more balanced team selection helped, returning to the side that secured victory at Anfield save for Danny Batth replacing Richard Stearman.

But this wasn’t a backs-to-the-wall defensive masterclass. It was Wolves on the front foot attacking throughout. 24 shots on goal in total, which must be a season high.

Perhaps the only worrying aspect of the night is that despite controlling much of the play, we came within five minutes of losing.

In fairness, Brentford’s goal was well-worked and ruthlessly dispatched. But Wolves should have been ahead long before and level much sooner.

That familiar wastefulness in the final third oh so nearly cost us again, with Nouha Dicko and George Saville the main culprits after some excellent build up play.

But credit Wolves and the manager who continued to throw everything at Brentford until they eventually buckled under the onslaught.

Ben Marshall’s influence in the last two games has been clear. Two pivotal assists, one on Saturday for Andi Weimann to profit and last night the teasing ball that allowed Matt Doherty to crash home the equaliser.

That’s what we’ve desperately lacking of late, our key match winning players making those killer final passes for others to latch onto.

Once Marshall and Cavaleiro were on, it also freed up Helder Costa to ghost in and thunder home the winning goal.

I’ve been critical of our star man of late, but only because he seemed to be operating on the periphery. Last night he stepped back in and looked up for the scrap.

You could see his visible frustration as team mates squandered chance after chance and then the release after netting the winner.

We need more of that in the remaining games, not just from Costa but everyone else.

The standard has been set.

* Check out all this weekend’s Premier League predictions and enhanced odds over at this website.

Brentford Vs Wolves Preview

Perhaps I’ve been a little hypocritical.

I’ve been banging on for weeks about the need to collect scrappy points and we’ve done that in the last two matches.

But I don’t feel my comments on Saturday were unjust. Rotherham were incredibly bad and yet Wolves were lucky to beat them.

Now we’re off to Griffin Park where we’ve been skinned alive on our last two visits hoping for something much better.

It’s a difficult fixture, but it’s one of our games in hand and yet another chance to create breathing space. We need a big performance and the result to go with it.

Brentford

Brentford logoFrom the outside looking in, it seems like a bit of a nothing mid-table season for the Bees. Not that we have any right to turn our noses up at such luxuries.

And for a club that have spent many years in League One and lower, they’re probably not too unhappy about being considered a solid Championship outfit.

Losing Scott Hogan late on in the January transfer window was probably a bit of a blow to their immediate aspirations, but that money could help them improve next season.

Their home form has been decent, but not overly intimidating thus far with 7 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats.

Rajiv van La Parra scored the winner for Huddersfield on Saturday and they won’t fancy losing two at home on the spin.

Added to that I get the genuine sense that Dean Smith hates Wolves, so they’ll probably be running around like feral dogs desperate to heap more misery on our already horrible season.

Wolves

I get that Paul Lambert wants to send out players that are going to scrap for every point, but I think he should be showing a bit more adventure.

I might be the only one, but I really feel like Helder Costa has checked out. You can’t ask players with limited ability to be better, but you can ask players with ability to try harder.

For the moment, I’d give Cavaleiro a go down the left and keep Marshall down the right.

Weimann has a goal a game record as a central striker so must start. Maybe playing alongside Dicko with Edwards making way in midfield?

And of course, I’m not fan of midfielders at full-back, so I’d change that too, but not holding my breath on that one.

Predictions

I don’t like the look of this fixture so would be happy with another ugly draw. Even that would take us a point and a position further away from danger.

That said Fulham on Saturday looks even worse, so perhaps we should be going all in on this one trying to get a win?

1-1.

Up The Wolves!