Archives for January 2018

Ipswich Town 0 Wolves 1

There was a time when getting the deck chairs out was a sign of complacency.

But after a well publicised week of fun in the sun, Wolves were all business under the clouds at Portman Road.

If anything last weekend’s limp defeat to Forest now looks like the holiday with normal service so comfortably resumed.

The vitamin D certainly did the trick for our wingbacks who combined to finish a flowing pass and move sequence with the game’s only goal.

They weren’t the only ones with a notable spring in their step. Jota and, much later in the game, Bonatini were two others obviously refreshed after soaking in a few rays, but in truth the whole team looked better for the experience.

The only disappointment is that this comprehensive away performance wasn’t given the resounding scoreline it warranted.

Bartosz Bialkowski made many fine saves, denying Douglas, Bonatini, Enobakhare and Jota (several times) when a second goal felt inevitable.

Better decision making could have opened the floodgates too with Jota in particular guilty of fudging what looked a simple lay off to give Costa a tap in.

Nuno despatched a fluid front three with Cavaleiro, Costa and Jota all taking turns up top and that extra pace in the final third caused Ispwich problems. It’s a compelling alternative to playing a traditional number nine.

Just as important was the selection of Alfred N’diaye who benefited from a minor injury to Saiss. He was colossal alongside Neves and his powerful presence introduced athleticism we’ve missed through the middle. Now could be his time to hold down a regular place.

With the chances passing us by the defence had to withstand the predictable late bombardment. Ruddy nearly gifted the Tractor Boys a point they never looked like getting when he came for a long ball and failed to claim, but recovered with a smart stop.

That was a minor blip in another afternoon where Wolves were so well organised out of possession they were only ever vulnerable to mistakes and misfortune.

With the 12 point gap re-established, temporarily at least, the same it would seem applies to the season.

But with Nuno still preaching focus, while the rest of us dream of glory, I doubt we’ll be talking about deck chairs again until May.

Ipswich Town Vs Wolves Preview

It’s pretty low to blame a bad result on the pitch, but I’m going to do it anyway.

As soon as the game kicked off last Saturday, you could see it was heavy under foot. A few passes held up and it was obvious it effected the team’s fluency.

Yes, it’s the same for both sides and please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying – Forest deserved the win and were comfortably the better side.

But inevitably when the opposition bank up you’ve got to move the ball quickly to create chances and the pitch made that trickier than it’s been all season at Molineux.

Wolves have been successful because they’ve been able to adapt to whatever the opposition have thrown at them. The playing surface in our last two league games has been a bit of a leveller in my opinion.

Just saying.

Ipswich

Portman Road is normally pretty lush, so I’m already in confident mood. But jokes aside, this is a tough one when you’re trying to bounce back.

Expect space to be at premium. Assume little to no time on the ball. Be prepared to scrap it out and take your chances.

The Tractor Boys are nestled in midtable, but just 6 points outside the play-offs. I think Mick is swimming against the tide a bit looking at the teams above them, but you never know.

If they do finish closer to the top, it will be because of their home record. 8 wins from 14 matches is as good as anyone (apart from Wolves).

They made life very difficult in the reverse fixture in December, but I think they’ll have to show more adventure as an attacking force at home and that could be to our advantage.

Wolves

I can’t fault Nuno for his team selection against Forest because I would have picked the same eleven.

And if a week in Marbella has revitalised everyone, it’s tough to consider wholesale change to a side that’s continually delivered.

Leo needs to get back among the goals sooner rather than later. I do expect another striker to come in before January is out.

I’d also like to see another midfielder too if possible. N’Diaye is an able deputy but I don’t want to rely on the potential of Morgan Gibbs-White to close the deal if injuries and suspensions pile up.

Ipswich

We haven’t experienced back-to-back league defeats this season. There, I’ve said it. But even tempting fate, I don’t think we’ll be derailed again.

Derby and Villa aren’t playing until Tuesday and Cardiff miss a week due to the FA Cup, so it’s an opportunity to put more daylight between ourselves and the chasers.

I’ll back us to do that, just.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

* Just a quick note guys. I’ve seen a few people uploading questionable images in the comment section. Please do respect the whole forum. I allow all comments on without moderation, but will begin holding them back and may even remove the picture upload option entirely if it’s being used in a way that I deem inappropriate. I know it’s all in good humour and of course it’s subjective but lets keep it comfortably away from Tabloid territory. Please email if you want further clarification. 

Age of innocence

‘Nostalgia’, as my dear old Dad likes to tell me, ‘ain’t what it used to be.’

He wasn’t wrong in my case.

The mid-90s were a mishmash of unrequited love, unattainable dreams, fake bravado, football and vigorous masturbation, all played out to a Live Forever soundtrack. I call them the Wilderness Years.

Wolves would bookend those most enduring of memories, bobbing and weaving between mum’s departure, a bunch of laughable GCSE grades and pathetic attempts to get-off with a number of nonplussed girls in a Leominster nightclub. Typically, Steve Bull was my ubiquitous beacon of hope, even if the one abiding image was good versus evil, my hero slumped on his knees as he-who-can’t-be-named held his arms aloft in the Lancashire mud.

But I bloody miss those days. So much so that I pine for them at times. A poignant blog from Mikey the poet (aka the phenomenal South Bank Resistance) features a regression back to his youth and some formative gold and black moments to define his DNA. He juxtaposes these with the implications of a corporate juggernaut at work.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a risk that the very essence that marks each and every Wolves fan unique could be forgotten as FOSUN blazes a trail across the land, obliterating all before it like a frenzied bush fire. £35 million for Andre Silva anyone?!

Some fans feel like they can relate to Manchester City right now, as we seemingly track eachother’s successes in our respective divisions. I’d settle for their fans’ ‘We’re Not Really Here’ banner if nothing else. I can definitely relate to that.

So, if the inevitable happens and we do return to the Premier League, will a part of you feel remotely compromised, when the foundations of such success are at odds with everything you’re familiar with?

The rest of the footballing world watches with disapproving eyes, frantically tweeting their bile at Jorge Mendes and anyone else connected with a club who are riding roughshod over every convention known to Endsleigh. It’s certainly a million miles away from the days I recollect most fondly, sporting Staw Distribution shadow stripes, clutching a Golden Goal ticket in one paw and holding Dad’s hand tightly in the other.

Robinson, Robertson, Philip Chard (who?), Nigel Vaughan, Mick Gooding too…I won’t forget your names.

I also love Jota, Neves and Big Willy from the bottom of my pencil case, even if their motives for playing for our great club are a little more dubious than those Sherpa Van heroes.

Back in 1988, we’d walk along Waterloo Road and Dad would regale me with his own Wilderness Years, featuring Skipper Mike Bailey’s barrel chest, UEFA Cup conquests and an obligatory Uncle Clive anecdote as they conquered terraces near and far. With a crumbling old wreck of a stadium as my backdrop, it was scarcely believable we ever played Arsenal there, let alone spanked them 5-1 (featuring Wagstaffe goal of the season).

My first ever game was against Simod Cup holders Reading on September 3rd 1988. Robbie Dennison scored the winner in front of the same stand as Waggy, albeit an empty one. It wasn’t always like this Dad would muse, recounting days of 50k, The Doog and a curious ‘Goodbye Horse’ anthem that still sounds like nonsense.

I wouldn’t expect FOSUN to understand. That they – and Nuno – are dragging us towards the Premier League is good enough for me. If successful, they would restore parity to the Smallman football order. Grandad would indulge in this success with cigarette in hand. He’ll be forensically analysing the league table in ‘The Pink’ at this very moment in heaven, in customary celebration, I know.

Dad’s biorhythms would be correctly realigned too. He could tune into MOTD again for the first time since Jimmy Hill. Ok, so they might not relate to some murky methodology behind it all, but it’s a damn sight more palatable than what Morgan and Moxey were serving up beforehand, not to mention the Bhattis before that.

FOSUN are merely putting Wolverhampton Wanderers in the front and centre of their minds in an attempt to secure success over any other project, be it houses in Compton Park or asset stripping in the days of Tatung. It would seem churlish to argue with that, wouldn’t it?

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards…

…My age of innocence might be long gone, but I’ve never looked forward to Saturday afternoons more.