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I contemplated all three PL games with a degree of apprehension, thinking that each of them would provide the acid test needed to assess the progress that WW had made since last season. For different reasons the Blackburn and Fulham games did not resolve the issue. This afternoon`s game did, though the result can be read in both positive and negative ways.

I prepared for the match by paying my dues, doing the shopping, hanging out the washing (and taking it in when it started to rain) and offering to make dinner this evening. In the local supermarket I talked to the Arsenal and Fulham fans, neither of whom was very happy ... especially the latter.

As the game was on Sky, I did not have to fiddle with dodgy free view sites or curse my ongoing problems with accessing the Beacon broadcast. So, at noon I moved the settee closer to the T.V., opened a can of bitter and settled down to watch the match.

I enjoyed the first half, though I had to turn up the sound because my wife insisted on stripping the wallpaper in the spare bedroom and using the sander. I tried to interest her in the match but she said that she preferred decorating to football. I`ll remember that and offer her the choice at a later date (though it could backfire on me).

... where was I? Ah yes, the opening session of the game. AV probably shaded it but WW were competing well and both sides had opportunities to score. If only Hunt had headed home Ward`s perfect cross, it could have changed the pattern of the game. We might have won all three points.

Whatever was said over the tea break, it galvanised AV, who swarmed all over WW from the kick-off. We were lucky to survive, though AV fumbled a number of chances ... and WH was on top form. We did not staunch the flow until MM made his tactical substitutions at 66 minutes, replacing Jarvis by Foley and Hunt by Elokobi. It did the trick, tightening up the defence and even allowing us to venture into AV`s half.

Indeed, we could have won the game at the death. On 87 minutes Herd bashed into Ward in the box and elbowed him to the ground. A minute later we won a free kick just outside the box. Henry bounced the ball and I sensed a repeat of JOH`s goal at The Hawthorns. JOH retreated in readiness ... but there was a delay and the moment passed.

Oh well! AV did not deserve to lose but I would not have worried about that, had we scored. In fact, a draw flattered us and that, I suppose, is a mark of how far we have progressed since last season. Last year, we would have shipped a goal or two. If we have learnt how to hang on in spite of being outplayed, we will pick up bonus points.

Overall, only WH and Johnson emerged with their reputations intact. AV`s wingers gave our full backs the run-around and on a different day (and against a worse goalkeeper than WH) they would have set up several goals. Ward looked much better when coming forward and more comfortable in midfield. Berra and Stearman had to resort to their customary tactics of holding on. Elokobi was no better and in his rashness could have cost us a goal in the 68th. minute. On the other hand, Foley, brought on to help Stearman, strengthened our defence. He has to start next time out.

In midfield the Henry/JOH axis spluttered. Uncharacteristically, JOH was guilty of numerous sloppy passes, though, to be fair, that was a general feature of the team`s play. Neither Hunt nor Jarvis sparkled, with young Herd, in particular, bottling up MJ. As a result, Fletcher and Doyle did not receive adequate service from the wings and never looked like scoring. I don`t think Fletcher even headed a ball goalwards!

If this game more accurately reflects our progress this season, we still have some way to go. Ward is OK at LB but we do need cover: Big George is not good enough. It`s the same story in CD, though Berra is improving. Zubar might be an option but it`s a risk, and we would lose his attacking play from RB. Moreover, when Fletcher had to go off for a few minutes I realized with a jolt our lack of alternatives. We only had Vokes on the bench and, as the game against Northampton in the week proved, he still misses opportunities which PL strikers have to score. Teams do not get many chances in the PL as Hunt`s miss proved.

On the other hand, we won a point against the odds and we top the league as I write. I`d have settled for that at the opening of the season.




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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 27 2011

Time: 4:09PM

Your Comments

Good analysis, although I though that Henry and JOH were quite good in the centre of midfield, a few stray passes but like you said that was the whole team!
SUPERSPARKES
Good analysis, although I though that Henry and JOH were quite good in the centre of midfield, a few stray passes but like you said that was the whole team!
SUPERSPARKES
What a ***** report, are you really a wolves fan! it was a bloody good draw for us when you consider the strike force that the vile had, it was a tale of two strong defenses and if the ref had done his job towards the end we could have won it, to say a draw flattered us is the biggest load of garbage out - again I ask are you really a Wolves fan!
johnwolf
What a ***** report, are you really a wolves fan! it was a bloody good draw for us when you consider the strike force that the vile had, it was a tale of two strong defenses and if the ref had done his job towards the end we could have won it, to say a draw flattered us is the biggest load of garbage out - again I ask are you really a Wolves fan!
johnwolf
Johnwolf: you miss my point. I am happy with the draw and would have taken it before the game, never mind during the battering we were taking in the third quarter of the game. The fact that we did not concede is a measure of our progress, as I indicated in my report. However, we were lucky. Agbonlahor and N'zogbia ran rings round our full backs and set up loads of chances. Berra has improved but he still gets turned and resorts to holding on. We started well but couldn't turn it into goals. It might have been different if Hunt had scored. In the second quarter, AV had the better of the play and dominated after the break. We only really got into the AV half in the last ten minutes. If you read the stats, AV were far ahead on points: in terms of corners, attempts on goal, genuine chances and territorial possession. That's why I said a draw flattered us. To write an accurate report one has to try to avoid partisanship and assess the game honestly, as one sees it. I consider the outcome a point well won but I can see room for improvement and am obliged to point that out.
Southbank60
Johnwolf: you miss my point. I am happy with the draw and would have taken it before the game, never mind during the battering we were taking in the third quarter of the game. The fact that we did not concede is a measure of our progress, as I indicated in my report. However, we were lucky. Agbonlahor and N'zogbia ran rings round our full backs and set up loads of chances. Berra has improved but he still gets turned and resorts to holding on. We started well but couldn't turn it into goals. It might have been different if Hunt had scored. In the second quarter, AV had the better of the play and dominated after the break. We only really got into the AV half in the last ten minutes. If you read the stats, AV were far ahead on points: in terms of corners, attempts on goal, genuine chances and territorial possession. That's why I said a draw flattered us. To write an accurate report one has to try to avoid partisanship and assess the game honestly, as one sees it. I consider the outcome a point well won but I can see room for improvement and am obliged to point that out.
Southbank60
I take it that with Liverpool's win,we're now down to 3rd.Tut, carry on at this rate and we're going to have to play in the qualifying stages of the CL. I knew it couldn't last!
all4divisions
I take it that with Liverpool's win,we're now down to 3rd.Tut, carry on at this rate and we're going to have to play in the qualifying stages of the CL. I knew it couldn't last!
all4divisions
I have to say that I think its a fair assessment of the game that I watched. Villa was always gonna be a sterner test than the other two and so it proved. We had the first 15 mins then to be honest hung on for grim life the rest of the game other than the odd skermish and a dubious decision. I also agree that the midfield looked a bit lack lustre and agreed with the changes MM made. The forwards were left a bit isolated today as we spent a lot of the time on the defensive. BUT.......I'd have taken a point beforehand so i'm happy. Undefeated....clean sheet and still at the right end of the table. The key to our season isn't beating the better teams....its beating the swansea's, Blackburns,Norwich's and QPR's. They are the games that will keep us up. If we can take points off the better teams then that can only be a bonus. UP THE WOLVES!!!
Rustmonkey
I have to say that I think its a fair assessment of the game that I watched. Villa was always gonna be a sterner test than the other two and so it proved. We had the first 15 mins then to be honest hung on for grim life the rest of the game other than the odd skermish and a dubious decision. I also agree that the midfield looked a bit lack lustre and agreed with the changes MM made. The forwards were left a bit isolated today as we spent a lot of the time on the defensive. BUT.......I'd have taken a point beforehand so i'm happy. Undefeated....clean sheet and still at the right end of the table. The key to our season isn't beating the better teams....its beating the swansea's, Blackburns,Norwich's and QPR's. They are the games that will keep us up. If we can take points off the better teams then that can only be a bonus. UP THE WOLVES!!!
Rustmonkey
In all seriousness,though...the first thing I did when opening this match report was to scroll down to the bottom, to see who the reporter was.Was it SB,NY... or A.N.Other fan?The reason being,if it was SB or NY, I know i'm going to get as close to a balanced view as possible(not withstanding their clear, inherent favouritism)If it wasn't them, then I may have to prepare myself to wade through a biased report of a match I only saw half of.No worries though, it was SB. I only saw the second half and would agree with Rustmonkey, that we were having to hold on...which, to the teams credit, they did. It won't be the only time this season that they are going to have to fall back, and the first test of their resolve has been passed.We've now got 7 of the 40 points we need, three games down and a positive GD.No first- eleven injuries,as far as I know, and a point away to a team that would be expected to finish above usAll-in-all, there's been worse saturdays to be a Wolves fan.Thanks for the report,SB,as balanced as I expected...regardless of what the Fifth Column conspiracy theorists say.
all4divisions
In all seriousness,though...the first thing I did when opening this match report was to scroll down to the bottom, to see who the reporter was.Was it SB,NY... or A.N.Other fan?The reason being,if it was SB or NY, I know i'm going to get as close to a balanced view as possible(not withstanding their clear, inherent favouritism)If it wasn't them, then I may have to prepare myself to wade through a biased report of a match I only saw half of.No worries though, it was SB. I only saw the second half and would agree with Rustmonkey, that we were having to hold on...which, to the teams credit, they did. It won't be the only time this season that they are going to have to fall back, and the first test of their resolve has been passed.We've now got 7 of the 40 points we need, three games down and a positive GD.No first- eleven injuries,as far as I know, and a point away to a team that would be expected to finish above usAll-in-all, there's been worse saturdays to be a Wolves fan.Thanks for the report,SB,as balanced as I expected...regardless of what the Fifth Column conspiracy theorists say.
all4divisions
Well after numerous reports from Banksy and myself it has made my morning there to read All4's appreciation for our continued, deliberate approach to present the facts despite our sometimes, despair and clear love for our club. Fantastic report Banks- I was actually house and dog sitting for friends in Long Island for the weekend when evacuation was strongly encouraged due to the approaching hurricane. I had decided that after a good breakfast I would pack Captain Bob into their car and head back to the relative safety of Brooklyn; yes, safety and Brooklyn in the same sentence! Amazing. Securing their house and garden from flying objects, I managed to settle down for the second half- what Banks brings to the table aswell as his usual intriguing build up and match analysis, is an observation on the bigger picture the here's and the there's, the good's and the bad's. We would all have taken 7 points from 3 games, of course we would, but clear as the light of day we are short on numbers, there remains concerns in the usual areas and there is always room for improvement. I won't write a report as such, as I did not see the whole game but I shall write a follow up in a bit. Proud of my Wolves.
New York City Wolf
Well after numerous reports from Banksy and myself it has made my morning there to read All4's appreciation for our continued, deliberate approach to present the facts despite our sometimes, despair and clear love for our club. Fantastic report Banks- I was actually house and dog sitting for friends in Long Island for the weekend when evacuation was strongly encouraged due to the approaching hurricane. I had decided that after a good breakfast I would pack Captain Bob into their car and head back to the relative safety of Brooklyn; yes, safety and Brooklyn in the same sentence! Amazing. Securing their house and garden from flying objects, I managed to settle down for the second half- what Banks brings to the table aswell as his usual intriguing build up and match analysis, is an observation on the bigger picture the here's and the there's, the good's and the bad's. We would all have taken 7 points from 3 games, of course we would, but clear as the light of day we are short on numbers, there remains concerns in the usual areas and there is always room for improvement. I won't write a report as such, as I did not see the whole game but I shall write a follow up in a bit. Proud of my Wolves.
New York City Wolf
As a villa fan i thought we shaded it but you looked dangerous at the begining an end, you seem more solid with johnson in ur defence know where last season just like us always conceeded goals hard fought battle both still unbeaten midlands know have a few good teams it seems rather than one shame about the baggies isnt it ;)
ClivetheVillan
As a villa fan i thought we shaded it but you looked dangerous at the begining an end, you seem more solid with johnson in ur defence know where last season just like us always conceeded goals hard fought battle both still unbeaten midlands know have a few good teams it seems rather than one shame about the baggies isnt it ;)
ClivetheVillan
ClivetheVillan: I agree with you about wanting to see West Midlands' clubs do well and to attend as many derby games as possible. I should point out, however, that some of our fans are quite happy with today's result at The Hawthorns just as a section of the Baggies' fans would have celebrated had either of our two teams lost yesterday ... especially us!
Southbank60
ClivetheVillan: I agree with you about wanting to see West Midlands' clubs do well and to attend as many derby games as possible. I should point out, however, that some of our fans are quite happy with today's result at The Hawthorns just as a section of the Baggies' fans would have celebrated had either of our two teams lost yesterday ... especially us!
Southbank60
I must say that leading up to the West Brom game last season which we desperately needed to win, the 'derby' sense had nothing to do with it for me- beating them was great but on the day no better than beating anyone, the reality of us desperate for the win over riding all other matters especially bragging rights. I read all the build up however and it did seem as tense as ever- no doubt being this far away takes the sting out of it. I have always liked and respected Villa. I want the Albion derby games. Birmingham I could not care less for. It was not a game to remember at all, but looking back after the dust had settled both sides could have won it and I think there may be general satisfaction that we both have two weeks off (unfortunately) where we can at least sit back and enjoy being unbeaten. Tottenham are hurting at the moment which effectively takes a whole load of pressure of our shoulders ahead of the game. They are usually expected to beat us but we always give them a great game and if we see anything anywhere near that classic 3-3 from last season then I can not wait for it. I expect us to keep our unbeaten run going and assuming we have avoided injuries from the international games we have the resources to beat them.
New York City Wolf
I must say that leading up to the West Brom game last season which we desperately needed to win, the 'derby' sense had nothing to do with it for me- beating them was great but on the day no better than beating anyone, the reality of us desperate for the win over riding all other matters especially bragging rights. I read all the build up however and it did seem as tense as ever- no doubt being this far away takes the sting out of it. I have always liked and respected Villa. I want the Albion derby games. Birmingham I could not care less for. It was not a game to remember at all, but looking back after the dust had settled both sides could have won it and I think there may be general satisfaction that we both have two weeks off (unfortunately) where we can at least sit back and enjoy being unbeaten. Tottenham are hurting at the moment which effectively takes a whole load of pressure of our shoulders ahead of the game. They are usually expected to beat us but we always give them a great game and if we see anything anywhere near that classic 3-3 from last season then I can not wait for it. I expect us to keep our unbeaten run going and assuming we have avoided injuries from the international games we have the resources to beat them.
New York City Wolf
As a Villa fan would agree with rustmonkeys summing up only thing that concerns me for both teams are we have both played blackburn and fulham so its hard to know how good our results really are. I predicted 1-1 should have known better with 2 centre halfs running our respective clubs what other result could there be.
Merlin128777
As a Villa fan would agree with rustmonkeys summing up only thing that concerns me for both teams are we have both played blackburn and fulham so its hard to know how good our results really are. I predicted 1-1 should have known better with 2 centre halfs running our respective clubs what other result could there be.
Merlin128777
Johnwolf, the less evident the partisanship of a reporter, the better the reporter. I know Southbank can speak for himself; indeed, he has done so, he does not need my coming to his rescue here. It is just that I feel I should point out that he wrote the article in the capacity of a reporter, and I do not say primarily ,but exclusively. I myself went a step further in a comment in another thread: I said we actually nicked a point! Shoot.
lovesW
Johnwolf, the less evident the partisanship of a reporter, the better the reporter. I know Southbank can speak for himself; indeed, he has done so, he does not need my coming to his rescue here. It is just that I feel I should point out that he wrote the article in the capacity of a reporter, and I do not say primarily ,but exclusively. I myself went a step further in a comment in another thread: I said we actually nicked a point! Shoot.
lovesW
 

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