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Another game of two halves

Another game of two halves

Having written this post as a response to the Stats thread, I realised that, as Akela was likely to put it up as a report, I thought I would save him the trouble.

Another game of two halves. If we can do it in one half, why can't we do it for a full 90 minutes? And why do we always have to give away a goal or two? We were dreadful in the first half and were lucky to go in at the break only a goal behind. If only Ward's shot had dipped a little more. Naturally, Hennessey kept us in the game again.

In the second half we dominated play and should have won the game through one or other of Doyle's chances. Even so, he got closer to a goal than SEB did. Fletcher put away a typical goal, getting on to the end of a glorious cross from Jarvis. If only Matt could do it more consistently.

The back four looked vulnerable at times and even when we were dominating the match, I was always worried that Bolton might capitalise on a defensive mistake. The CDs probably did enough to maintain their places, though we shall see what happens in the window ... and there's the Icelander of course. Nice to see Foley back and I would prefer to see him in at RB in the absence of Zubes.

It's a pity he couldn't play Jonsson today as it would have side-lined Elokobi. I was worried about George but Bolton surprisingly did not attack down our left flank very often. Thus, MM's decision to pull him off at half-time must reflect his realisation that he is not up to PL standard. I hope so, though I don't wish to be mean to George.

Certainly, Edwards improved our momentum in the second half. Hunt is also playing well in a deeper lying role than is customary, though he was still able to make forward runs. I am looking forward to seeing Frimpong in the middle: he's just the kind of player we need there: strong in the tackle, able to pass and to run with the ball. He resembles how we hoped Guedioura might turn out to be ... but, it is to be hoped, without the same puppyish rushes of blood to the head. When JOH comes back, we might be able to do without Henry.

For me, this was a far more tense affair than the Arsenal match, apart from the final 21 minutes at the Emirates of course. We needed to win today and, if not, to avoid losing. We managed to achieve the latter result, though we should have won.

The fact that we cannot put away our chances might hurt us in the end. Why, for instance, did we make so little use of our wingers in the first half? Had we done so, we might have forced Bolton back, while, at the same time, providing more opportunities for Fletcher and SEB in the box. And why can't we head or kick the ball into the net from two yards (Fletcher aside, that is).

Both teams were very tense and this affected the quality of the play. Bolton managed to control their nerves better than us from the kick-off and dominated the first half. When we finally started playing after the break, they began to look vulnerable at the back and we should taken advantage of it.

Passes are still going astray, players are still getting caught in possession and Hennessey still hoofs the ball miles upfield, seemingly aiming for the opposing CDs or goalie. A more varied approach is required, including one that relays the ball quickly from the back out to our wingers. As Kightly is playing well at Watford, we might have further options there soon.

Thankfully, we lie outside the bottom three as we go into the new year, while Bolton prop up the table. That might make Onuoha decide to join us rather than the more local team and, boy, do we need someone like him at the back, preferably by Monday!

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

Date:Saturday December 31 2011
Time: 8:50PM


I'm interested to know what Hammill has done to deserve being left out? Good assessment of the game as per usual SB. I have to agree.".He might be a lovely guy but Big G really isn't good enough and putting Ward in midfield??? Ward is a model professional but MM uses him like some cure all. I was very apply when he went back to LB and felt it bought Jarmo more into the game. looking forward to seeing the new boys and hoping for a couple more.
31/12/2011 22:03:00
I would like to know why we keep playing Elokobi just so MM can sub him thats twice now just waisting asub in my eyes. If going to play Ward in midfield he should get another LB because quite clearly he does not trust GB.Once again cant keep a clean sheet and Fletch comes to the rescue hopefully as MM said Frimpong will be playing on Monday and maybe give Jonsson a run out. IT is worring that only SF seems able to score if only we could keep a clean sheet hopefully a couple more signings in Jan and things might look a bit better.
31/12/2011 22:17:00
Jonsson and Frimpong, Onouha maybe and Kightly back perhaps, others possibly on the way....will any or all together get the team going from the start of the game, Southbank? That is your opening point. It is my only one. It should be down to MM to fire up the players; and he can do it, to be sure, our second-half performance proves it. Rustmonkey: I too would like to see Hammill in; Hunt and Jarvis are playing well enough, though, so unless injuries intervene or MM decides to field 3 wingers......
01/01/2012 05:33:00
Lovesw im not sure on Kightly we need some steel in the team thats why Frimpong is a good signing Wolves have the least amount of tackles in the PL. Yesterday was just another example when Bolton scored their were 7 Wolves players behind the ball yet not one player put a tackle in and this has been happening all season. Dont want to blame players but i thought that was what Henry was their for Kightly is a good player but we need some steel i would leave him at Watford for rest of season see how he gets on go for Diame of Wigan and Onouha of MC then watch us fly.
01/01/2012 08:58:00
Kia: I mentioned Kightly only because Southbank makes a reference to him in the article. You take up the same point I did in a comment in Akela's Arsenal-Wolves Stats thread. Exactly how I see it: the back 7 or 8 wait inside the box with no one challenging for possession outside of it. This Frimpong and Adlene, along with Jonsson, if he is assigned a defensive midfield position, would perhaps remedy that, IF they are awake - if they are awakened by MM, that is - earlier than at the start of the second half.
01/01/2012 09:26:00
That's quite a long write up...not much point saying anything, he clearly isn't listening.What I took as the biggest positive from yesterday was how poor a side Bolton have become. We now know that BW aren't in a 'false position' in the league at all. It wasn't the fixture list that has had them at the bottom for almost the whole season thus far, it was the crapness.Add to that Cahill's imminent departure and I think they are a bolt on for relegation.Yes, we were terrible first half but only went in a goal down.It really did beggar (my) belief that that MM decided on moving SW for George... again...for the third time.And for the third time out of three it didn't even come close to working.Wardy hasn't justified being played anywhere but as a preference to George at LB, in the three matches he's played up front/midfield. As SB points out in his report, GE had little to do defensively and didn't do anything wrong. In actual fact, at the other end, he got two or three decent crosses over, which is more than Jarvis did.I don't think MM took him off as a reflection of his performance, rather as a means of changing an anonymous midfield.Apart from SW's screamer of a shot, Big George had created more than the lot of 'em combined.This was in no small part due to the tactic (at least, I assume it's a tactic) of hoofing the ball.Nobody could have fairly accused MM of being a long ball merchant. Whatever his detractors may have to say, that was the one thing his teams (club or national) hadn't gained reputations for.If the back four don't feed the ball to WH to launch skywards, then they do it themselves. That changed in the second half, to some extent, but has been a worrying trend of late, all the same.Secondly, I hope the fact that our goal came from a directly delivered free kick will cause a rethink with regard to playing so many of our free kicks and corners short.I wouldn't mind if the players appeared to have practiced what to do once it's been taken, but there doesn't seem to be any prepared plays coming from them. We'll never know, of course, but our Ned may well have enjoyed some success in playing Fletch and SEB some quality balls, considering the lack of quality in the opposition's ranks to prevent it. He'd have watched, skywards, as the ball continually flew over him anyway, in all probability.Hopefully the new blood can breathe some much needed life into the middle, but even as things stand I'd rather have our problems than Bolton's.As a last thought, we'd been discussing in the week the NM sending off and I mentioned that a middle ground needed to be found between the old days of having to 'hit someone with a hatchet'(I think that was a Billy Wright quote with ref to the physical nature of '50's football) to be sent off and the histrionics of teams like Arsenal- although no team plays the collective victim any better than them, to be fair to the others.Yesterday the ref seemed to have decided he wasn't going to book anyone for anything. SEB could have been given a straight red, on another day, for the elbow on Cahill.It really does depend on who you get, where you get them and who you are.Happy new year to you all.
01/01/2012 11:16:00
Morning all- second time I have been at the computer in nearly two weeks- after a particularly unpleasant 2011 it has been a magic trip home and I have, like the Wolves back defence, been given the run around during the trip my sisters four nippers. Plans changed. I went up to get tickets for the Norwich game but the only two they had next to each other were in the 'no roof' stand, and standing in the cold whislt they were trying to reload the printer suggested I ask about tickets being available for the Chelsea game- they were so I snagged a couple of those instead. I will check the computer in the morning- if anyone is up for a vital pint let me know. Having made the most of two weeks at home and the festive atmostphere, drinking, I shall probably drive up tomorrow. Point no good. As always Banksy is spot on with his analysis of the game. Frimpong will probably prove to be his best signing, must admit I was pleasantly surprised we snapped him up- straight in and with suspension and injuries in mind I imagine he can keep his shirt from now til the end of the season. Things can only improve. We pulled off the stops last season beating the big boys- now the likes of Blackburn are winning at Old Trafford? We are not going to get away with shoddy returns for too much longer, simple as. Nothing changes really. Miracle we took the point at Arsenal registering one shot on goal, and we were dire in the first half at Bolton. I had recently convinced myself we would stay up based on there being three teams worse than us; a pathetic outook really and I was not seeing us finishing above 17th anyway but the festive period has brought its share of surprises- it looks grim to me. Totally missed the boat on Martin- I think I said when he got the job you go watch them finish top ten and look at the difference he has made already. I think All4 or Rusty, could have been any of us really, asked who would replace Big Nose if we sacked him and that is the main question. I talked to my Dad about this this morning and he said what a cracking job the fellow has done at Swansea- I said- why would he leave Swansea for Wolves? Barmy I tell the'. Well, last day tomorrow before I fly back to the pleasant surrounds of Brooklyn; let's hope we can capitalize on Chelsea and their woes/ be a nice send off. As said I shall check the computer in the morning, if anyone is planning on a pint before the game I shall see you there. All the best. 2012 can only be better. I hope.
New York City Wolf
02/01/2012 02:47:00
Nice to hear from you, Yorkie, and to read your insightful comments. It's just unfortunate that I am marooned at home at the moment. Perhaps next Christmas: it could be easier getting tickets for the games too!!! I watched Sunderland's match yesterday, willing MC to stick the ball in the net but I had forgotten about the MON effect. If only our board had been more decisive. As if to prove the point, look at Saturday's game against Bolton, which depressed me beyond belief. Never mind the atrocious showing in the first half, we still looked an average outfit when we began to exert some pressure on another average team. I can hardly bear to watch a match, expecting us to ship a goal at any minute, while having no confidence in our ability to put one in the other goal. Thank goodness for Fletcher, who has been scoring goals in spite of a poor service. I am extremely pessimistic about our chances today, fearing the same backlash from Chelsea that characterised our encounter at Stamford Bridge. Moreover, as the third game in a week our squad is going to be more tightly stretched than Chelsea's. I am looking forward to seeing how Frimpond shapes up, though. As Yorkie argues, he's a shoe-in for the rest of the season. Jonsson ought to get a game too and in many ways that's an even more interesting prospect. As ever, when watching games I cannot attend, I shall be viewing it from behind the settee.
02/01/2012 08:47:00
Frimpong, that is!
02/01/2012 08:49:00
Kightly by all accounts is back up to speed and scoring goals for Watford and I think should be recalled,lets hope we can get something out of the game this afternoon.UTW.
Crete Wolf
02/01/2012 12:43:00
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