Fighting performance makes a point
A point at Arsenal has been a rare thing for Wolverhampton teams down the years.
You have to go back as far as December 1980 for the last time we came away from Arsenal with a point.
31-years is a whole generation, OK so we might have only made the trip on a handful of occasions, but that doesn't make the result any-less valuable.
It would seem that whenever Mick McCarthy's side has its back to the wall, it will always come out fighting and that spirit should never be questioned.
The goal from Fletcher was instinctive, the sending off for Nenad Milijas was unjust, but the performance of Wayne Hennessey optimised the performance and perhaps gives McCarthy another couple of weeks of breathing space.
Sorry for the delay in making a comment but I had to wait until my heart rate came down from the ceiling. What a great fighting performance, especially after the early goal and the unfair dismissal of Milijas. It sets us up nicely for the Bolton match and will make potential recruits more favourably disposed towards us ... Sorry ..... I have to go ... my wife ... is dragging ... me ... from the ............... keybo ......
After my euphoric comments penned shortly after the match, reality has to intrude. Here is my considered overview of the match, written secretly and in haste before my wife drags me away from the keyboard and tells me off for not resting my neck ... and, rewritten, after appearing as a featured thread.
First of all, the good points.
We may have been lucky but the players displayed great spirit and resolve to keep Arsenal out, especially in the final 20 minutes. In a sense, we may have benefited from going a man down because Arsenal forgot about their slick passing game and tried to bludgeon us into submission.
It was also good to see Jarvis flying down the wing again, ably supported by Ward. Shame about Zubar on the other flank. He adds so much to our play going forward that I hope that he recovers quickly, though I am not optimistic. It was gratifying to see MM blood an Academy player too. I thought Forde played well: perhaps we should give other youngsters more of a chance.
As a further bonus, we possess quality players at both ends of the pitch. WH kept us in the game with a string of remarkable saves, while in Fletcher we have a striker who can convert his chances. His header yesterday was perfectly placed.
Unfortunately, both men are often poorly served by the players in between them.
All over the pitch, we still give away the ball because of poor passing or being caught in possession. Although improving as an enforcer- he was in the thick of the action yesterday- Henry is particularly bad. Whenever he does not pass immediately, I worry because he dithers and loses the ball, often in a dangerous position. It could have cost us yesterday.
We are lso failing to make best use of our assets, especially our tricky, fast-running wingers. While Jarvis is beating his man again, he, like Hunt and Hammill, still have trouble in weighting their crosses properly. With Fletcher in the middle, it's unforgivable.
At the back, all four/five performed heroics yesterday but, fortunately, in the final onslaught Arsenal played to our lads` strengths. Instead of passing the ball around on the ground and exposing our CDs` lack of mobility, they pumped balls into the middle. CB and RJ swatted these crosses away with ease: Berra was awesome in this respect.
That our back four leak goals is not entirely their fault as our midfleld frequently goes AWOL for long stretches of the game. It did yesterday. So, the opposition sweeps on to the byline or into or around the box, putting added pressure on the back four. Normally, such pressure leads to a goal, as Wenger remarked. Thank goodness for the brilliance of Hennessey ... and the resolve of our defence.
Crete Wolf rightly highlights our shortcomimgs in this area and it is something that we have to address in January. Fortunately, Frimpong saw us at our battling best yesterday and might fancy his chances of making his mark and boosting his own profile.
As MM has cautioned this morning, it will all be wasted, if we lose to Bolton on Saturday. Let`s emphasize the good points but remember our shortcomings and work hard to eliminate them. Even so, I am still elated with the result which really does feel like a victory, especially after our customary early in the match generosity.