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Hither and Dither: Wolves Pulled Apart

Hither and Dither: Wolves Pulled Apart

After all the cyber excitement surrounding Jarvis`s future it was back to the real excitement of a trip to Molineux yesterday. And I was excited, as I considered that there would never be a better opportunity to complete the double over such an iconic team as Liverpool.

I was less bouncy on the way home, a feeling shared by the Wolves supporter I met in Warwick services. Thank goodness for Everton`s late equaliser against WHU. Listening on the car radio to Manchester United thrashing Birmingham City might have cheered me up a little if it weren`t for the fact that we are playing them in a fortnight`s time. Of course, it would be typical of our season if we were to achieve the same result as we did against Chelsea.

And the day had started so well. I had a good journey up, buoyed up by the promise that some MU supporters had made me at Warwick services that they would stuff the Blues. I parked the car at West Park at 11 am, made sure of my bearings (in my presumed euphoria four hours later I didn`t want to get lost again) and walked into town.

As I neared the stadium I sniffed the match-day odour of fried onions and was tempted. Then, the thought struck me: of all the guys I had ever seen eating a burger from a stall, I had never come across any of them again. So, with a shudder, I walked on ... but not to the Moon Under Water, having been put off by the queue there on my previous visit.

The Varsity, on the other hand, had plenty of space and I was served straight away. Even better, it was a pint of Banks`s best bitter. Above my head Mick was being interviewed on Sky TV, presumably to tell us that his team were up for the match. Then, Kenny said the same thing ... presumably.

Unfortunately, our players had not caught MM`s words. I suspect they had caught his virus, though, because they were leaden-footed and lethargic. Even Doyle suffered, the ball bouncing off him rather than sticking to his feet as normal. Fletcher had a better game. And, without wishing to be controversial, Jarvis did not impress either (given the furore, I did pay particular attention to him). He rarely took a man on and when he did get to the byline his crosses were often poorly flighted. Hunt, though bustling about, as ever, was no more effective.

What of Hammill? Pity about the scuffed shot in front of goal but from the little I saw of him, he looks a good prospect. We do know that he can cross the ball - the first two he hit were by far the best of the game- and that he likes step-overs.

So, we cannot say that the defence was solely responsible for the defeat, though clearly it played a part. The first goal illustrated the problem of operating an offside trap system, if the players do not check where they are in relation to the opposition. Zubar was at fault, playing Meireles on and presenting Torres with the simplest of tap-ins. He lacked his normal 'attack`, too, poking and prodding the ball instead of heading decisively for the opposition goal. If last week`s second goal was Maradona revisited, this week`s equivalent was Varney mark 2: unstoppable. I felt sorry for Hennessey, who played well but was let down by the men in front of him.

Clearly, we are not making it easy for ourselves but I am left wondering how a team that could dominate Manchester City for virtually all of the first half could start so tamely this time. In spite of the Dalglish effect, this is not a vintage Liverpool side. Indeed, Wolves probably shaded the game territorially but we defended poorly and did not take our chances. Liverpool had several shots on goal before we even had one. Their goal, when it came, seemed inevitable.

As other bloggers have already remarked elsewhere, this has got to stop. No more bleating about being too good to go down. If we continue to play like this, we deserve to be relegated. Even MM pointed out the problems in his interview on Football First: 'We`ve had lots of play, lots of chances, lots of crosses but we didn`t have that bit of quality to finish them off when we needed it". That says it all really.

On a personal note, the mid-day start did allow me to return to Surrey in time for a Saturday curry, a quick getaway from the top of the stand being facilitated by the early departure of so many other disgruntled fans. At least I scored some points at home, allowing me to tell my wife that I had already bought my MU ticket. I thought it politic not to say that I was also going up to watch Blackpool and Spurs with a trip to the Emirates stadium thrown in for luck (and, boy, will we need it!).

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

Date:Sunday January 23 2011
Time: 9:38AM


Glad you enjoyed Banksy,from a tv standpoint which is all I can hope for these days it was not much better!.Thank goodness results went for us,worrying thing is though, are we going to get any more points for the next 3 weeks??.We certainly need a lift,something to change things,I suggested maybe another coach with maybe some new ideas/tactics to come in and assist Merlin and Coco in another blog? or maybe a suprise 'big' signing to lift the whole place.Bent has done something at villa,it gives the whole place a lift when a good player arrives,I'm not suggesting we spend that amount of money but we need something?.As for the game I was dissapointed with the midfield,ok the first goal was a defensive error but they seemed totally in control of the middle and that I felt was their platform for victory.As ever UTW.
Crete Wolf
23/01/2011 10:38:00
We need two competent defenders - cos at the moment, we only have one. Ive spewed diatribe the internet over, and cant be arse to point out something that for some reason mick doesnt seem to realise. If you dont fix the defence mick, then kindly leave.
23/01/2011 18:21:00
Karl Henry......
23/01/2011 19:28:00
I'd say anyone who doesn't respect Liverpool is not a fan of football. Growing up watching their glory years, and with their rich tradition and history in mind, Wolves v Liverpool is for me, the 'ticker tape' fixture of the season- the one I look forward to more than Manchester United (due in part to the fact their fan base is made up of glory hunters from the likes of Plymouth, Cornwall and a few I dare say from Wolverhampton). It was brilliant yesterday watching the players trot out to a packed house at Molineux - it really smacks home that you are up there, in the best league in the world. I had hope at the start of the second half, me and the missus propped up in bed- the only downside "Where's Blakey?" "Still injured dear- don't worry, he'll be back soon, you miss him don't you" a sad look on her face, response "I appreciate his footballing ability", "Good answer." Sylvan, if you are reading this, your goals are appreciated but you are not welcome in Brooklyn sir! Anyways, five minutes and one arched eyebrow later an unstoppable shot, goal of the season contender, had nestled in our net. As Banksy duly points out it was a bad day for Hennesey and for no fault of his own- two keepers wouldn't have stopped that shot- the other two goals, thanks to our defending, he may as well have stepped aside and let them roll them home for all the chance he was given. I resist picking out players, which has taken particular effort this season when it comes to Ronnie Zubar but the time has come. I think he is an outstanding player, and up until this season I can't remember him dropping a bollock. This season he has repeatedly made mistakes and yesterday he was all over the shop. His surging runs, overlapping, crossing are all well and good, but his main priority is to defend and yesterday he did a very poor job of it. People were singing his praises after the Manchester City game, but I remember Jarvis tracking back 60 yards and nodding back to Hennessey and by which time he had cleared it up field you saw Zubar still jogging back into his own half. I am not going to lay the full blame at his door step because he is clearly encouraged to make these runs by the management, so it leaves you wondering when they have inevitably got the chalk board and crayons on the go, who they are asking to drop back and cover. We dominated a lot of the possession yesterday in the second half, but hit the left flank so many times Liverpool didn't take long to pick up on it, and there were often at least four of their players already waiting. I will take my hat off to their defense because they dealt with everything we threw at them and stopped us in the main part from working the ball into threatening situations. Banksy is right in suggesting this was not a 'vintage' Liverpool we were watching but the way they continuously broke, in numbers, with pace, one touch football and concise passing, they cut us open one time after another and showed flashes of their former selves. Make no mistake that Kenny Dalglish will steer them to great achievements- they were a different animal yesterday to the side we played at Anfield and the timing of his return clearly did us no favors, but let's admit we weren't up to the task. Thankfully, results went our way all weekend. Albion and Blues look WORSE than us but as our mate Crete concisely pointed out recently, our season will hinge on our results against those around us, pretty much all of whom we still have to play. The season has proven utterly bizarre and as detailed in the report, who is to say we won't go and cause another shock over the next two games. I think West Ham have become their own worst enemies in the way they conduct themselves and where they sit is where I expect them to finish. Wigan are showing no signs of improvement and as already stated Albion and Blues are looking decidedly awful at the moment. I don't think it was a 3-0 yesterday but the history books are already marked- after the next two games, a sense of reality will dawn upon us and our fate will be decided upon simplicity- we beat those around us or we don't. It's Premier League Version 3, which will be admirable, or a disastrous relegation that will see revenues plunge, and tear apart the heart of the squad which showed the potential for greatness. In closing, Crete raises a point that is not discussed enough- Connor. He has survived more managers than I care to bother counting and considering Mick seems extremely well connected, and respected in equal measure in footballing circles, a new coach and some fresh ideas might just nudge us to that next level and allow us to realize our obvious potential. Two games from now, I don't think the table will make for happy reading, and with what will prove 12 games left a lift that will come from new ideas might just make the difference. This is no time to change manager, but a change of coach will not rock the boat with detrimental vigor.
New York City Wolf
23/01/2011 19:29:00
I forgot to mention Hammill. He looks quality and yes, he provided the best two crosses. I was squinting when he missed his chance, hoping it wasn't him- wouldn't that have proven a Roy of The Rovers story and possibly, a very different final ten minutes. I think we will be seeing a lot of him between now and the end of the season and he may well make a big difference. Smithy, you begin with Karl Henry... do elaborate sir..... I must stop looking at the table. To repeat, I don't think it's going to be much fun to look at for the next few weeks.
New York City Wolf
23/01/2011 19:34:00
we seem to do worse with him in the team.. i though jones and milijas played well enough together last week to warrant them playing together again.. there was no creativity yesterday and im not saying it was karl henrys fault at all. i think he should have came off early in the second half when we were 2-0 down to try and gamble a bit to get goals..
23/01/2011 20:08:00
It's funny you should say that about Henry. In my last report, the one about MC, I stated that I thought that Henry would have strengthened our defence, had he come on earlier. But Smithy's point made me think about passing thoughts as the game unfolded yesterday. I recall something repeating in my mind: Henry's merely chugging about the pitch!
23/01/2011 20:46:00
24/01/2011 00:21:00
What you talkin' bout Willis? There's a program at Handsworth Library every Monday night that helps adults with learning disabilities.
New York City Wolf
24/01/2011 06:42:00
yeh and he's another 1 that mccarthy will never drop.
24/01/2011 13:43:00
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