Archives for October 2017

Norwich City Vs Wolves Preview

We’ve swallowed a few tough defeats at Carrow Road over the years. But then again, we’ve enjoyed some mesmeric highs too.

I remember a feeling of complete emptiness after that harrowing 3-1 play-off defeat in the infamous 2001-02 campaign.

But Wolves triumphed 3-0 the following year en route to the Premier League. I love you George Ndah.

There was a 5-2 battering to endure in our promotion season under Mick McCarthy, and we also ended up on the wrong side of another 3-1 last season, albeit under controversial circumstances.

But what about Robbie Keane’s debut? Or that chip from Bully over Bryan Gunn? They more than cancel out the anguish.

I feel like this one could very easily end up in either camp.

Norwich

Daniel Farke was cock of the walk after their victory over Ipswich the other week as the Canaries continued their climb up the table.

But defeat against Derby on Saturday has checked that progress, so he’ll be keen to start another unbeaten run to get them cemented in the top six.

I expected Norwich to be in the automatic promotion mix last season, but after falling dismally short and seeing a couple of players leave in the summer I wasn’t convinced they’d do a lot this time.

They’re up and around the action though so who knows?

Like Wolves they played a blinder in the cup, taking Arsenal to extra-time before eventually succumbing late on at the Emirates.

They’ve still got familiar foes like Cameron Jerome and Wes Hoolahan as well as reported Wolves target Nelson Oliveira who remains their joint top scorer in a stop-start season to date.

But with just 14 league goals so far, only four teams have a weaker attack so this notoriously high scoring fixture might be in for a quieter year.

Wolves

I don’t think it would hurt to freshen things up after the weekend. Having watched the game, I can definitely say the team looked like it needed a lift.

Boly, Vinagre and N’Diaye could give us more mobility and power. Bright is worth a start too having enjoyed his performance (minus finishing) at the Etihad.

While I agree with those who say Norris should be pushing Ruddy for a league start, I’m not a fan of changing the keeper around too much so I think if Nuno makes that big call, he’s got to stick with it.

There are plenty of combinations of course and this is just one. The defeat gives the coach a mandate to do as he wishes.

Predictions

I thought we’d win at the weekend and we lost. The performance wasn’t great either, but Wolves still created enough clear opportunities to have won the game.

Norwich don’t look as expansive as QPR, but I still think we’ll unpick them and create, so it becomes about taking those chances and keeping the back door shut.

I’ll back us for an edgy 2-1.

Up the Wolves!

QPR 2 Wolves 1

Fair play to QPR, I don’t begrudge them the win.

More for what they did in the second half than the first. They showed an increasing appetite to pile forward and muscle their way into the ascendancy.

That said, as the home side’s confidence grew, Wolves wasted two excellent chances to get themselves ahead but neither Bonatini or Jota could supply the finish.

If they had done, I think that would have been that, but instead Ian Holloway’s side continued to grow in belief and our defence are always vulnerable to those second phase crosses.

We won’t be the last team to see points disappear via Matt Smith’s forehead either and it’s a reminder to everyone that if you don’t maintain your standards, the Championship will bite back.

In the first half I couldn’t see QPR scoring from open play. Wolves were hardly razor sharp but it had the look of a game that would eventually turn in our favour.

They created little and were playing a high line. Cavaleiro and Jota both came close to breaking the trap and the latter dragged a shot wide after a good run.

But Saiss got caught in his own defensive third and Washington did well to lift the ball over Ruddy and squeeze the ball in at the near post.

The immediate equaliser via Jota’s unbelievable run and Bonatini’s bullet finish should have been the shot in the arm the lads needed a for a second half onslaught.

Instead it was QPR who came out firing and immediately saw a shot come off the bar.

Then came the missed chances in that period of the game that Wolves have been so effective this season and that profligacy was the difference between victory and defeat.

Any loss is painful when you’ve become accustomed to winning, but I don’t see this team embarking on a long winless run.

As Nuno pointed out afterwards, Wolves lacked intensity. I agree. Collectively they weren’t quite at the races.

A response is needed and Norwich away under the floodlights is a notoriously difficult challenge.

I suspect though, we will see that response.

QPR Vs Wolves Preview

Pep Guardiola’s comments about the ball after Tuesday night were ill-judged.

Not least because it revealed he hadn’t even heard of Mitre. Call yourself a football man.

More seriously, I don’t understand how he can say it was ‘impossible to score’ after his team effortlessly dispatched four penalties.

Both teams were spraying the ball around the pitch all night and if you can play a 30 yard pass, you can certainly stroke the ball into the goal from inside the penalty area.

Even if the ball is a bit naff, I thought it lacked class to make those comments in the immediate aftermath of the game, particularly as he gave Wolves no credit at all for their performance.

QPR

Back in the real world QPR haven’t won any of their last 7 matches, turning a solid start into a rapid slide down the table.

Looking at some of their fixtures, they can hardly bemoan tough opposition either. Bolton, Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley have all taken points off the Rs in what’s been a disappointing spell for Ian Holloway’s side.

Too many draws has been the problem. Nearly half their games have ended in stalemate, which is reflected in their scored 16, conceded 17 stats.

They’re not particularly prolific or miserly in defence. They just look, on paper at least, very, very average.

Individually, they’ve got a few players I’ve always liked. Jamie Mackie, Massimo Luongo and Jake Bidwell are all proven Championship performers and in previous years I’d be weary about their collective qualities.

Interesting to see they’ve been stung with a huge fine (£40 million reported) for their cavalier attitude towards Financial Fair Play following their previous Championship promotion campaign.

That kind of walloping great payout will surely restrict their ability to grow in the seasons to come? Hopefully we don’t end up in the same ship.

Wolves

If you’re one of those ‘the league is all that matters’ people then Tuesday must have been pretty splendid. Most of the key men were rested and many of the others only played a supporting role.

Ruddy, Douglas, Doherty, Neves, Saiss and Jota didn’t play a single minute between them. Cavaleiro and Bonatini enjoyed breezy cameos without overly extending themselves.

I don’t know what’s happened to Willy Boly as I expected him to start at the Etihad, so perhaps he’s being saved with a view to slotting back in tomorrow? Unless I’ve missed something about an injury setback.

If the above guesswork proves accurate, Conor Coady will be the only marathon man asked to back up his exploits in the cup with another performance tomorrow. I wouldn’t back against him.

Predictions

The Championship is rarely predictable but we should win this game. Looking ahead to the Norwich fixture and next Friday’s game against Fulham as a block of three, this looks the most straightforward task.

Looking at the odds at Betway, Wolves are being offered at 23/20 for the win so the bookies are confident of us taking the points.

I don’t mean any disrespect to QPR, but looking at where they are currently, our playing squad and how much we have in reserve, the logical conclusion is a Wolves victory.

Even though they’re overdue a good result and perhaps a bit of luck, I think we’ll get it done.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!