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Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom

I started my New Year`s resolutions early: I did not over-indulge on Christmas Day and put in a sprightly shift on the bike yesterday morning. It`s a pity that the Wolves team did not do the same. They looked heavy-legged, dithery and lacking in sharpness and invention.

When I shooed my elder daughter off the computer just before the match, I noticed that she was buying underwear online. It was my only bit of excitement all afternoon! And even when I turned to the match all I saw on our side of the pitch was another collection of big girls` blouses. We were awful, to the extent that the fans booed the players off the pitch at the end of both halves. Who are the numpties now?

I was so looking forward to the match that I frog-marched my wife and daughters round the lunchtime visit to the garden centre, the cost of being allowed to watch the game uninterrupted by domestic duties. Clearly, we had flattered to deceive against Birmingham, as I suspected we had done. I suppose it`s some consolation to know that there is at least one team worse than us in the league … though I expect that that`s an erroneous assessment too. That match also fooled MM, given that we played an unchanged team and left Jarvis on the bench.

Apart from one dodgy moment in defence (a portent of things to come) the team started well and the goal came against the run of play. Once again, we were undone by a basic defensive error and unsurprisingly it was Stearman who made it. He was at fault with the second goal as well, though Zubar has to take some of the blame. If we do not eradicate these lapses, we`re doomed. We have to invest in experienced, capable and reliable defenders in the transfer window but which players, who fit that description, would want to board such a rickety boat?

One can point to some positives in the match. We did create some chances and did score a goal, albeit too late to affect the outcome of the match. We should have had a penalty and a goal then would have brought us back into the game with time enough to do something about it. But, as I have to apportion criticism fairly, our forwards, as Premier League players, should have put away more of the openings presented to them. As the commentator stated at one point, Bull would have buried a missed header by Hunt. Fletcher continues to remind us why he should be on the field, scoring an opportunist goal of the kind that has so often gone begging throughout the season. However, until we tighten up our defence we cannot afford the luxury of an extra player up front.

Crete Wolf put his finger on the problem: we lack pace all over the field. Wigan always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and their passing was so much slicker and more accurate than ours. We wasted chances by dithering or by taking the wrong option. Zubar`s wild kick into touch as we were pushing for a late equaliser seemed to typify the lackadaisical approach of the team. Some of our players are literally not up to speed for the Premier League.

Players will return (perhaps even Kightly) and we might conceivably plug our holes with new recruits, but by then it could be too late. Yesterday was the first match of five we are playing in a fortnight and, as they include Liverpool (A) and Chelsea (H), as well as the next must-win game, against WHU (A), we need a fully fit squad now. By the end of January we could be miles adrift and having to play catch-up. What makes it all the more depressing is that we expected so much at the beginning of the season, an optimism that did not seem misplaced when we comfortably defeated Stoke on the opening day. Were we wrong and is it our fault?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday December 27 2010
Time: 9:22AM


Big Bad Wolf
27/12/2010 10:15:00
Bottom at christmas is historically a one way ticket back to Doncaster,Derby etc.I will be amazed if we can turn it around with the players we've got.We need a defining moment,maybe a shock signing,something to kick start our season alas I fear the worst.
Crete Wolf
27/12/2010 12:41:00
i think mccarthy is a failure as a premiership manager.the players he brought in are not good enough.1 - 11 on paper leaves wolves along way behind wigan as the 2 matches this year has proved.i think you need a new manager and a clean sweep of your team as most of it is championship level.but good luck for the rest of the season.
johnney handsome
27/12/2010 13:48:00
Wonder if Man City pay 38 million for striker Edin Dzeko they will keep him on the bench for the rest of the season?and even if Tevez gets injured they could bring in an irish left back who has'nt played up front for donkeys years to play striker!,mmmmmm sounds crazy but I suppose it could happen,could'nt it?.
Crete Wolf
28/12/2010 10:10:00
To put a further dampener..>If Kenwynne Jones hadn't have been injured we would not have beaten Stoke either.
28/12/2010 11:08:00
OLDGOLD: you may be right but on the other hand Fletcher would not have suffered the retaliatory foul that blighted his start at WWFC.
28/12/2010 11:26:00
I wonder what Morgan was thinking looking down at the bench at his 7 million investment and then at the pitch to see Ward playing upfront. Despite his injuries he has 5 goals for us, so why he can't get a start is beyond me. Most of us have said it repeatedly this season, we can't play 4-4-2, we are flatter than a witches tit and the lack of organization is a joke- I would cringe to see the statistic detailing exactly how many times we passed it back to the goal keep. I had a very close view yesterday and even at 1-0 down the players faces told it's own story- far from belief you could actually see the frustration written all over them. He pulled it off last season switching to 4-5-1 and bit by bit we put enough points on the board- we have played well with the system this season without getting the points so does his have another system up his sleeve that is going to get us out of it this time. I maintain that on paper we have a better squad than several clubs around us, stayed up, spent more than any of those around us- we tend to concentrate on the repeated individual errors, I have stuck up for Stearman all season but surely he can't play him again after that. I don't think we can ever predict what side we are going to play and in all honesty the tactics and set up are proving our downfall. It's the spirit of the side that has got us the amount of points we have on the board as it is, so if they have finally lost that then we've had it. We are the only side without an away win, just to add to our growing list of miserable statistics and a trip to Anfield is hardly one for us to look forward to is it.
New York City Wolf
28/12/2010 14:00:00
Oh dear, NYCW, I find myself agreeing with you. My spirit is ebbing away too. Unfortunately, it won't improve tomorrow evening as we will be forced to select the players who cost us the match on Saturday. Stearman has to play because there is no-one else. If he has one of his inspired games, he will be OK. However, he seems incapable of avoiding a slip-up or two. The ones he made on Saturday were unbelievably bad (that is, if anyone else had committed them).
28/12/2010 16:53:00
Banksy, we find ourselves in a dire situation. The boo's at the game for me, well, I have heard a lot worse. The fans were almost apologetic in their disdain. Fans pay a lot of money and I am all for one sharing a boo here or there at the final whistle- fans pay a lot of money and have every right to let their feelings known, and they saved it for the end of each half which for me is fair enough. I think everyone is truly grateful for what Mick has done for this club, he has turned it on it's head from the mess we were in the day he took over, and whilst I have stuck up for him all season, I sat down with the fixture list yesterday and in current hands I can't see us picking up 30 points. 4-5-1 we played well but couldn't put the points on the board, 4-4-2 (See above) so again, what else? If they win tomorrow and we are a point away from safety people can slap me down for this, but in all reality for the first time during his tenure I am sat wondering exactly what else Mick can do for the club. Nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong tomorrow but I can't see a point, I can't even see a point at West Ham (my favourites for relegation, below only Wigan) so where are the points going to come from. Chelsea and Arsenal on the horizon? I'm sorry, the bloke has worked wonders for this club but if a painter did a nice job on the bedrooms and the living room, but splattered the bathroom in dog *****, would you let him take his brush to the kitchen? He kept us up, outstanding job, he was rewarded with twenty million and we are rock bottom. To happily repeat myself, the best time to change manager is after the last game of the season, second to that is January 1st. The managerial merry go round is already in motion, and whilst some firings have to me proven absurd, Hughton, Sam, it brings to light a rare occasion in which there are several quality manager's currently unemployed. I'm tired of 'learning from our mistakes' because we don't, I'm tired of 'bouncing back', 'the next game being crucial'- 'two wins could make all the difference'- I've said it myself and I'm tired of it. I can't see where the next point is coming from so here's a challenge, considering we have given Wigan 6 points this season, give me 6 from the next two games. I don't want 1 point, I don't want 2, I want 6. If we don't have 20 points on the board after 20 games and he still has a job they may as well give him the key to the city.
New York City Wolf
29/12/2010 02:42:00
Well, we're half way to the six points you demanded. Report to follow ... and a little more upbeat than Monday's diatribe.
29/12/2010 22:58:00
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