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A Terrible Weekend

It was bad enough watching Wales lose to France in the World Cup yesterday (I'm thinking of rescinding my permission for my daughter to marry her French fiance) but at least the team deserved to win and would have won had their captain not been controversially sent off in the 19th. minute. WW, on the other hand, would not have won, even if they had had 15 men on the pitch against WBA.

Unlike last weekend, I have watched a lot of soccer over the last three days, viewing recordings of the ROI and Scotland matches, as well as today`s game at The Hawthorns. In retrospect it was a mistake viewing the internationals as the performance of our players did not fill me with confidence about today`s game (and with good reason). Doyle missed a sitter- an even easier one than today`s chance- while Berra was responsible for at least one of Spain`s goals. Hunt was lively.

I paid dearly to buy my ticket to watch the match on the computer today and I now wonder whether it was worth it. My wife`s sympathy for me over the Wales result soon evaporated when she realized that I would not be taking her out for a Sunday jaunt.

So, we went out yesterday instead, though my declaration that I couldn`t drive (on account of the amount of beer I had drunk at the pub) did not put her in a good mood. We also spent ages looking at carpets for the bedroom because, allegedly, I`ve damaged our current one by spraying juice on it whenever I peel an orange. This morning, moreover, we toured every garden centre in Surrey looking for climbing hydrangeas. I am now rushing through this report before I start to cook the Sunday roast. At least, I`ll have a bottle of red to ease the task ...and the pain of the WW defeat (that's the second bottle).

And so to the match. In an act of defiance, MM did play Henry, though he also included Milijas and Hammill in the starting eleven. I could hardly complain because I had argued for the selection of NM in a 4-5-1 formation, though I did suggest the substitution of Henry by Guedioura.

As events turned out, we needed Adlene on as a twelfth player from the whistle. Having dominated the first few minutes of the game without scoring (a customary weakness), we gave away a soft goal. Once more, the back four made elementary mistakes, failing to close down the man on the ball or to track attackers off it.

Thus, was the pattern set for the rest of the match. We probably shaded the game territorially but lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. We had opportunities: Doyle should have scored in the 12th. minute but the ball was blocked on the line. Johnson missed an easier chance when he headed wide in the 66th. minute.

We reverted to a 4-4-2 formation when SEB replaced Milijas in the 54th. minute. He did provide a little extra impetus and was involved in a couple of half chances but he hardly turned the game round ... and I was sorry to see NM go. We missed Fletcher, though even he would have had trouble reaching the overhit crosses.

For all their endeavour, our players looked second rate in comparison to their WBA counterparts. If I were Trapattoni, I would certainly prefer Long over Doyle at the moment. Whereas our players dithered and over-elaborated, often making the wrong choice, WBA`s strikers, backed up by their midfielders, swept forward, driving straight at our defence past a non-existing midfield. Our enforcer, Henry, hardly merited the name. At least, Guedioura brought a greater sense of urgency when he came on.

The tendency of our defenders to back off from the advancing player with the ball helped but, if necessary, Long, Tchoyi and (later) Odemwingie simply ran past them. On one occasion, Long outpaced RJ by 10 yards in 30. And we turned him down in the summer! Our defence was dreadful ... and that includes Johnson again. If we do not do something to tighten up at the back, we`re doomed.

Perhaps we should play Zubar in central defence: he has height and pace ... but who, out of the two current occupants, should stay? Doherty has to start at right back. Only Ward deserves his place in the side. The tackle he made in the box in the 26th. minute was superb, preventing a certain goal. He`s come on a lot this season and I am happy to acknowledge his progress. If only the others could show the same level of determination and skill.

Our record is now worse than last year`s and we are sliding inexorably into the relegation zone. With the present squad, it`s going to be difficult to turn round our fortunes, especially if MM persists in selecting players on criteria other than current form. I would exclaim, 'Roll on January`, if I didn`t know that`s probably wishful thinking.

We have glaring weaknesses all over the pitch and they should have been addressed in the summer. It`s going to be difficult to persuade quality players to come to Molineux unless the price is right. But, as we know, we spend our money on the frills rather than on the players.

Two seasons ago, we avoided relegation before the last game, whereas last year we scraped through by fewer than three minutes. How much closer can we get? We still have virtually the same side, which continues to ship soft goals at the back, lacks bite in the middle and cannot put away chances upfront. It`s a recipe for disaster but who`s responsible for it?

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

The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 16 2011

Time: 3:41PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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As long as we cut out the mistakes we'll be ok.And do remember, if you think differently that's because you are a numpty.
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16/10/2011 19:13:00

I know it's ... er ... 'early doors' but I think I am beginning to panic. We look like a second rate team, even against an average side like WBA, and on this showing do not deserve to be in the PL.
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16/10/2011 19:25:00

I've read it's the worsed run of defeats since our free-fall through the divisions began in the 80's.No need to panic SB, until we decide there aren't three teams even worse than us.MM has finally made public his determination never to drop Henry...and at the same time, let "the other 10" (as he, apparently, views them) know that they are his ex-captain's support cast.Anybody who takes issue with this public declaration of support for KH, is, of course a numpty.
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16/10/2011 19:52:00

If what you say is correct, A4D, there's every reason to panic.
Report Abuse
16/10/2011 21:27:00

Lets all be honest the defence is useless the midfield not much better and without Fletcher we cant score we had chances but same old storey are bad defence and lack of fire power what excuse this week from MM. iF something doesnt change soon goodbye PL we need players of PL Quality in JAN to be bought in never mind these players are good enough there not and never will be. Doyle cant score Milijas was useless Hammil wasnt much better stearmans geting worse and Berra is even worse than him and we wonder why Johnson isnt playing well. Fof once i thought Henry and Ohara had decent games but we still got over run in MF HOW 3 AGAINST 2 because we cant keep the ball and when we do we cant score why Jarvis crossing was pathetic and Hammils wasnt much better all for taking your chances and if Doyle is are CF why was he playing on the wing so much.
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16/10/2011 22:39:00

Collectively we were very poor today. Pointing fingers tho, Johnson and Berra looked nervy and lack pace, Stearman always a worry, KH and JOH were outworked, Milias is lazy, Jarvo lacked a final pass, Hammill responsible for first goal, Doyler...was he even on the pitch?? Mick failed to inspire even me, and i'm the biggest optimist on here!! Positives: Wardino. Adlene showed some nice touches and purpose and SEB looked like he'd been cuttin back on the fried chicken.
Report Abuse
16/10/2011 23:36:00

I saw this posted on the E&S site and thought it summed things up quite well: "In August MM's supporters were telling us it had taken 'til October to get this many points, last season. I've got news for you...it's October".I wouldn't disagree with much of what i've read on here...and BT,I don't think i'm the only one that agrees you are definitely the biggest optimist we've got.Having said that, you don't let it get in the way of giving a balanced view of matches and performances.The only thing I tend to disagree on is MM.As for how the bottom of the table looks,now.Other than there being none of the new boys down there,there aren't too many surprises, I don't think.It's where I thought we'd spend the season...again. The reasoning behind that was that lack of transfer activity meant we had virtually the same team as last season, so same again in the league. As i've said a few times, since before the season started, I don't buy into the theories behind long term injured players returning "like new signings" or that players will be better than last season, guaranteed by nothing more than the passing of time.And Johnson? We're now left clinging on to the hope that he isn't really as bad as he looks (which is p*** poor, let's be honest) and that it's having RS and CB in the same line as him, that's affecting his own performance.Yes, but how do they affect his speed of turn? To nick and old 'un from the '70's "the QE2 turns quicker than him".As for optimism? It's not a natural state for me, I need to be convinced by what I see on the pitch, rather than what I hear in PC's.Even though it's what I expected,it still hurts all the same. The "Mick Out" campaign is now in full swing, with a home match, next. The boo-boys will be out in force waiting for a bad start. The players won't be looking forward to it, I wouldn't imagine.
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17/10/2011 09:21:00

We also spent ages looking at carpets for the bedroom because, allegedly, I`ve damaged our current one by spraying juice on it whenever I peel an orange. This is officially one of the funniest things I have read in YEARS. It took me ten minutes and a short stroll to be able to get on to the report itself. Why would you peel an orange in the bedroom? It's effing genius my friend. Comedy dynamite. It summons imagery of a drunken, dejected Mister Banks perched on the edge of the bed mulling over the game peeling an orange. You're going to ruin that carpet if you don't pack it in. Jesus wept- I do miss England. The humour I tell you. Speaking of which- which Vital Wolves are up for pints over the festive season. I am planning on at least a couple of weeks home this Christmas and pints will be supped, before, perhaps during, and most certainly after the game- especially the way things are going. I am playing catch up on here again clearly. It is a dismal state of affairs at the moment. I am popping over to the other threads to read up. Good report as always Banks.
New York City Wolf
Report Abuse
21/10/2011 02:32:00

I'll be there Yorkie. I should have my head firmly pinned on top of the spinal column by then. As long as there is a sufficient gap for the Banks's Best Bitter to go down.
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21/10/2011 11:31:00


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