We can take some positivity into this from the Liverpool game.
The first half was excellent and the only disappointment was the players couldn’t provide sterner resistance to the inevitable onslaught that followed.
Neto is finding some real form, Bellegarde didn’t misplace a pass and I thought João Gomes looked sharper than he has done for a while. All of those things are valid causes for optimism.
But tomorrow is different. Tomorrow is all about the result. I’m not going to say we can’t afford to lose this early in the campaign, but defeat would underline in bold exactly what this season is about.
We know Luton away is going to be markedly different to Liverpool at home and I am concerned about whether this team has enough to combat a more direct and robust approach.
It’s zero points from four games for Rob Edwards and plenty of people are writing the Hatters off already.
But their next three games are Wolves, Everton and Burnley, so it’s probably wise to hold out on any firm predictions until they can be weighted against those around them in the table.
Brighton and Chelsea both beat them by three but the margins were thinner against West Ham and in particular, Fulham, last weekend. They could easily have won that game.
Everybody knows the drill. They’ll let teams have the ball and sit in their 352 shape, but when they get it, they’re going to be direct and physical. As mentioned above, I don’t think that’s a bad tactic against Wolves.
Whatever they do tomorrow, I think everyone would agree they’re going to be in and around the bottom three. It’s not just quality, it’s a lack of experience at this level that will end up costing them.
Ryan Giles was dropped for their trip to Craven Cottage last week so he may not feature tomorrow. I felt Wolves were wrong to let him go, but time will tell on that one.
Last week, the first half proved me wrong about the full backs who were both excellent. But I felt their performances deteriorated as Liverpool took control and Ait-Nouri was at fault for their equaliser, getting sucked towards the ball and leaving Salah free to get his cross-shot away. Fine margins, but that’s the Premier League.
I suspect Gary O’Neil will stick with the same XI but I would personally look to get some more height into the team to cope with the threats that Luton pose. That probably means Toti and Doc coming into the back four.
I’d still like to see Kalajdzic get a start, but who do you drop? Cunha has been excellent save for some horrendous finishing, Neto has been the star man in the last two games and Hwang has three goals from limited minutes. You could play Cunha deeper to get Sasa on the pitch but that would mean dropping Bellegarde and he was outstanding against Liverpool.
There are all sorts of configurations for Gary to consider and we have greater quality than Luton, so he’s got to earn his crust here.
Well done to Aquilador, DebenhamWolf, Wokingham Welsh Wolf, Prawny, Wokywolf, Lord Twix, Desert Wolf and Winchcombe Wolf who all correctly predicted the scoreline against Liverpool. Sheffieldwolf remains top of the leaderboard at the end of Gameweek 5.
I’m very concerned about the team’s ability to navigate a challenge like this one, but we have better players than Luton and I’ve seen some good things in our performances, so I am going to predict a victory. I’ll say 2-1 to the old gold with Neto to get on the scoresheet.
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Up The Wolves!