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Beaten but Unbowed

Beaten but Unbowed

In spite of our dismal performance on Saturday and the awesome display of MC`s fire-power the following day I was looking forward to this match. Not only were no points at stake but it would give fringe players the chance to force their way into the side.

If I was also pleased with the line-up, which some of us have been advocating for weeks, I am under no illusions that it will resemble the one that turns out on Saturday, no matter how well they played. And several of them deserve to be chosen in the starting eleven. In an answer to a direct question, MM admitted that they would be considered for the game. I will hold him to that promise.

Having roundly criticized our performance on Saturday, a match we drew, it`s a little ironical to praise the team for their efforts in a game, which we lost 2-5. But, there were genuine positives to be taken from the team`s performance. The players looked sharp and eager and fought for every ball. Even after going 1-5 down, they never gave up.

Even better, we engineered a number of good chances and netted two of them. We should have earned a penalty too. Moreover, we actually looked dangerous coming forward and, if we maintain an aggressive cutting edge, we will score more goals. Hunt missed a glorious chance on 47 minutes which, if put away, would have brought the score back to 2-3 and perhaps a different outcome.

Although we started with a 4-4-2 formation, the midfield looked both more solid and creative than the one we opened with on Saturday. I was particularly pleased to see Guedioura being given a proper chance to prove himself and he did not disappoint. He was tenacious in the tackle, eager to drive forward and not afraid to shoot at goal. He adds so much dynamism to our midfield that he has to be selected for the first eleven on Saturday.

I thought that Milijas earned his place in the team too, though it`s hard to counteract the claims of JOH , who scored a goal within a minute of replacing him on the pitch. I would like to see both of them selected and, as we will be playing a 4-5-1 formation at Eastlands on Saturday, perhaps they should. Henry will have to give way but when he came on at 67 minutes he added nothing defensively and weakened our momentum going forward. His passing was poor too.

Even though we let in five goals, the play of the back four marked an improvement on Saturday`s performance. We were unlucky to concede the two goals that resulted from rebounds but, on the other hand, MC could have scored more. On this performance De Vries will not replace WH. In the end quality told and few defences would have withstood the onslaught once they got into their stride. We won two-thirds of the first half but they scored three times to our solitary goal. It wasn`t a game for old-timers like Craddock to make an impression.

Doherty had a torrid time at RB; his failure to cut out diagonal crosses and inability to stick close enough to his man contributed to several of the goals. Elokobi, on the other hand, had a surprisingly good game at CB. He made one superb tackle in the 23rd minute, prompting me to write in my notes, 'A Centre Half is Born`! He also was solid in the air and won more than his share of challenges.

It is good to see Doyle making progress and getting sharper by the game, even if he is still some way off his 2009-10 season form. He is holding up the ball better, is quicker on the ball and slicker with his passes. I have never seen Vokes play better either, his run to the by-line, having nutmegged the FB, created our first goal. Milijas took his chance well. The second goal resembled the ones which MC were scoring. Fine interplay between Ward and Hunt down the left wing led to a cross which JOH converted confidently in a repeat of the one he scored on Saturday.

MC will have a completely different side out on Saturday and, if they play as well as they did against MU, we have to up out game even further. Even so, I think that most of our players who started the match this evening should keep their places. Hennessey and Johnson will return but there`s no obvious partner to RJ in central defence. In midfield I would merely add JOH to the other four, with Edwards in a more forward position behind Doyle. At the moment playing two wide men is not proving beneficial.

Do we have a chance at Eastlands? Well, MM knows the nature of the threat and has a couple of days to devise ways of combating them. Frankly, I think he literally has to park the team bus in front of our goal to keep them out but MC might be complacent after tonight`s result. I doubt it though, because we fought them all the way and looked dangerous whenever we attacked. That`s a good sign for us. Will it be enough ... not if we leave holes in our defence.

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

Date:Thursday October 27 2011
Time: 12:14AM


I was/am at work (gotta love nights) so had to listen to it on the radio but it would appear that Doherty was more undone by being left exposed on the right. he's a young lad and I'm sure he'll make the step up. George in the middle, hmmm....he has the guns but he gets caught dillydallying on the ball too many times...old saying "if in doubt boot it out". Craddock was always on a loser tonight against a second string team that had a £27mil striker up front and pace all over the field. against lesser teams he would be ok. Wardy seems to have had a good game again. I don't mind having Henry as a Defensive Mid if we play 4-5-1 and have Hunt, Miljas (J0H), Ade & Jarvo in with him. That would give us balance. Doyler is a good holder of the ball but not a natural Goalscorer so needs the attacking mids to help him. Obviously once Fletch is back then we will need a rethink. Pleasing to see that we actually had a go tonight. Pity we didn't do that on Saturday...if we had all this in-house fighting wouldn't have happened. Come on Mick.....see the wood from the trees and take a gamble. You may be surprised:) Maybe us Muppets ain't so idiotic after all. UTW :)
27/10/2011 01:23:00
Big Tasty loves Big George. I celebrated that tackle like it was a goal!!
27/10/2011 01:56:00
I am in general agreement with you Rusty, especially about the need for MM to consider playing the lads in form. That's all I ask of him. I replayed the match and thought that George was solid throughout. Indeed, when Nasri turned him early on, he recovered and dispossessed him. I wouldn't mind fielding Henry in your midfield formation but he did not impress yesterday. That is why I would play both Ned and JOH, adding Edwards for a bit of grit as well as drive. At the moment I would rest Jarvis, especially for the MC match as Hunt is far more feisty. We could catch them on on an off-day and they will be a little wary of us. A good start, as last night, and we could get a result. With WH between the posts we will not ship so many goals. Who said I was not an optimist?
27/10/2011 07:27:00
You guys came out of the block firing on all cylinders, especially in the first 20 minutes then fell away. Not the biggest compeition in the world and so don't be too disappointed. The game that matters is on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium. For those of you coming, enjoy the day and may the best team win.
27/10/2011 08:33:00
Tudor, I don't think we fell away because we fought through the whole game and continued to create chances. Rather, a collection of MC fringe players, unused to playing together, took time to sort themselves out. What would take most squad players several games as a team to gell, only took your lot 30 minutes, such is the quality at Eastlands.
27/10/2011 08:54:00
Credit to Wolves for not giving up on the night, we'll see what happens at the Etihad on Saturday. Good luck!
27/10/2011 09:19:00
Alot of possitives to take from the game. I did feel for Doherty on the right, and certainly two golas came from him being exsposed, but he kept going. MC did struggle to get going but once they did, they just cruised past us. The Sami Nasri goal was pure class, and to score 3 goals in less than 4 minutes proved the gulf between the two teams. once City got going they were a joy to watch and fully deserved the victory, good luck to them for the rest of the season, I can see two tophies heading their way this season! As for Wolves it was a vallient effort against a team high in confidence, where as we are very low in that department. AG and NM made the midfield look a better place than it was on Saturday! GE at CB was solid, but I have to say that he still is not confident with his passing and dithers at times. Vokes looked good and ran all game. Hunt was his normal terrier self, and with ward on the left with him looked our most dangerous combination going forward, and very solid at the back! A good performance, i just hope that some of what was learned can be taken on into the Wigan game. I would forget Saturday to be honest city are on fire and we could be on the end of a right thrashining!!
27/10/2011 09:45:00
SB yes in terms of performance brill what team on sat totally dfferent i agree Hunt Guedioura Milijas plus Ohara in MF should all start but will they. The team put up one hell of a performance CONSIDERING the oposition plus who would have thought Elikobi at CH Has MM finaly found a partner for RJ I THOUGHT HE WAS BRILL and that says something.
27/10/2011 20:12:00
I only hope Gued and Milijas have made the grade - in MM's mind, that is. In mine, it has always been the case. As to our chances, Southbank, I am not at all concerned about that. They are Man City, they are playing pretty, and sitting pretty, too, at the top of the table. With them, first and second string does not apply. So any points from the Etihad would be a bonus. As to WW's own second string, I maintain that there isn't one and that it is determined only by MM's persistent de-selections for the starting eleven. Just like Man C, then? Far from it, for the difference in class of the squads is great. So I am expecting nothing on Saturday as far as points go, but I would be satisfied with an offensive approach at the start, just like on Wednesday. Not that an early goal may mean much, as we have learned all too well, but it would make for an entertaining match. An attitude of 'nothing to lose' once again then - and NM and AG to start this time too.
28/10/2011 14:28:00
4-4-2 then, lovesW? Or, a 4-5-1 formation with offensive potential, that is, a midfield which includes JOH, AG and NM in it?
28/10/2011 15:06:00
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