Archives for August 2017

Brentford 0 Wolves 0

A stalemate against the league’s bottom side isn’t traditionally a cause for optimism.

But I agree with Nuno’s assessment that Brentford are in a false position, so in time this result will likely be viewed as a decent one.

Zooming out a bit, 10 points from 5 games is a solid return with that magical 2 point per game average usually good enough for automatic promotion.

When we reconvene after the international break, back to back home matches should provide a good opportunity to return to winning ways.

What we learned from Saturday is something we probably knew already – we need more cutting edge.

Chances were created and squandered at Griffin Park with Bonatini among the culprits. That elusive striker can’t arrive soon enough.

I still think the Brazilian has a lot to offer, but equally I don’t think asking him to lead the line for 46 matches will get it done. With Nouha Dikco seemingly set for an exit, reinforcements are needed more than ever.

Other than the lack of goals this was a decent enough performance and although the woodwork and John Ruddy were both tested, it’s another cleansheet. That’s 3 shutouts in 5 matches, which again is cause for optimism.

The coach kept faith with the team that had done the business prior to Cardiff, with only Ruben Vinagre breaking through.

And the flying wing-back was at the center of everything as Wolves tried to breakthrough. He also stood up to some serious examination in his own defensive third.

I like the player and with Barry Douglas unlikely to give up his spot without a fight, we’re well stocked for the position.

The focus now becomes beefing up the areas of the pitch where we’re not so well equipped before the transfer window closes.

With Dave Edwards departing hot on the heels of Joe Mason and Dicko also on the verge, at least one midfielder and preferably two strikers must be on the shopping list.

The club have done an excellent job thus far in reducing numbers, while adding the right quality and a few more key additions in the next week will complete the picture.

Busy days ahead.

Brentford Vs Wolves Preview

Victory at Griffin Park was the catalyst for survival last season. This time, our aspirations are greater.

It was good to bounce back in the cup, but even more important for rectifying last weekend’s defeat is putting some more points on the board.

That should be an achievable goal given that our next two fixtures are against the two teams currently sitting in 24th and 23rd position.

Yes, it’s early days but both Brentford and Millwall have gone four games without getting a victory and it can’t all be down to bad luck.

Brentford

Brentford logoDean Smith believes his side have been playing well enough to win games and from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of them, he’s probably not wrong.

They play attractive football and have good technicians, but like Wolves they have to earn the right to play their intricate passing game.

Keeping things tight at the back has been a problem and the nine goals they’ve conceded already is the reason they’re at the bottom of the pile.

If they go a considerable way through the season letting in over two goals a game, it’s going to be a long old campaign for the Bees.

But I suspect they’ll come good. They obliterated QPR 4-1 in the cup on Tuesday so that will give them some confidence going into this one.

Wolves

Nuno has some real headaches over team selection for this one after so many did themselves proud at St. Mary’s the other night. I don’t envy his position.

Would I play Vinagre over Douglas? Price over Saiss? Cavaleiro over Bright? Deslandes over Miranda? Honestly, I have no idea.

What I would say is that I don’t want to go back to making three, four, five changes to the team for every single league game so my approach would be evolution over revolution.

You might bring in Cav and maybe one other, but I’d keep the nucleus of the side that has generally performed very well in all the league matches to date.

Predictions

Theoretically, this should be a decent game for Wolves. If both teams want to get the ball down and play and it becomes about who can retain their shape and then find the right passes, you’d back us to win out.

I’m nervous because I think Brentford are due a good result and we’ve put a stonking great target on our chest with our summer transfer business and all the ‘best team in the league‘ plaudits.

But I have confidence in our coach and the group of players, so I’ll back us to get back to winning ways.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

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Southampton 0 Wolves 2

The times, they are a changing.

Not the fact we play our reserves in the cup – that’s exactly the same. More that those reserves are just so much better.

Cavaleiro, Dicko, Graham, these aren’t the calibre of second string picks we’ve come to expect.

Nuno’s teams always feature pace to supplement the rigid defensive shape and tippy tappy approach, which makes for a pleasing balance.

Then you’ve also got youngsters likes Vinagre, Norris, Deslandes, Ronan and Wilson who all look ready and capable.

Sprinkle in the battle hardened old school like Batth, Price and Edwards and you’ve got a formidable group.

What connects the three camps is that they’re all hungry and motivated to try and force their way into the side.

The head coach said after this win that there’s no first eleven. His team selections in the four league matches to date beg to differ.

But after the Cardiff defeat where a few deficiencies were exposed, who might now enter the equation at Brentford?

Ruben Vinagre has impressed in both his Carabao cameos and looks like a more effective attacking option at left wing back than Barry Douglas.

His compatriot Cavaleiro was already first in line having come on at the weekend and made a few things happen.

He twice setup Nouha Dicko last night and swung over the corner for Batth to score. Enobakhare and Jota have been good but one could find themselves sitting it out at Griffin Park.

With a hat-trick of first half chances spurned it’s difficult to say Dicko warrants selection over Bonatini, but he’s certainly an option.

Donovan Wilson took his only chance with aplomb so maybe he could even jump the queue? He’s consistently done it for the under 23s so why not?

I personally wouldn’t tinker with the back three, despite Miranda’s weekend struggles, but Batth, Bennett and even Deslandes might feel they’ve got a claim.

Will Norris in goal was so ridiculously assured, even John Ruddy might be pushed harder than he’d anticipated.

Whatever Nuno decides to do, it’s a pleasing situation to be in and fantastic to progress.

With a home tie against the lowest placed side left in the competition, we should go even further too.

Yes, times are changing and definitely for the better.