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So Near Yet So Far

So Near Yet So Far

Argh! I am having to force myself to contemplate the match again in order to write this report. How could we throw away a point with less than two minutes of actual time to go? If we could hold out with 10 men against a better Arsenal team, why not today? I`m absolutely gutted.

After 30 minutes I would have settled for a 1-2 score-line. We hadn`t turned up. Then we started to get back into the match and I thought that we might be able to hold out. Naturally, without Fletcher, I wasn`t optimistic that we would actually put the ball in the net, an opinion that was confirmed by wayward headers from Johnson and Ward.

Within ten minutes of the restart we were behind as Ramirez, reacting more quickly than Ward to a loose ball from a corner kick, drilled it home from close range. The lead-up to the goal, seemed to typify our season as it stemmed from sheer carelessness. Having made numerous passes to no great effect, we lost possession through sloppy play and conceded the corner.

Chelsea continued to look the better side but WW were putting up a fight and the introduction of Fletcher (for Frimpong) in the 60th. minute perked me up. In the event he did not score but he set up Ward with his cut-back in the 84th. minute.

Why didn`t we park the bus at that point and why were we so lax in our marking? Cole was allowed acres of space down the left flank and, as the defence backed off, he crossed to the unmarked Lampard for a tap-in. Where was Stearman or whoever was occupying our right wing at that point?

Our midfield didn`t help either, with players not marking their men tightly enough. Perhaps Forde can be forgiven but the equally young Frimpong did not live up to his hype. In time he might save us, but it is going to take some time for him to settle in. His passing was as poor as anyone else`s in the team, he made few tackles and did not manage any lung-bursting runs through the middle.

Of our wingers, Jarvis, when he came on after the break, looked more likely to round his man than did Hammill. Indeed, he should have delivered the killer cross in the 67th. minute. Unfortunately, he did not look up before hitting the ball and, as a result, it sailed over the heads of Doyle and Hammill at the near post. Hammill looked better at set-piece kicks though.

Overall, Chelsea were the better side but they were treated more leniently by the referee than we were. Why wasn`t Cole carded for a foul on Doyle, who was so incensed that he threw the ball at him ... and was given Cole`s card for his pains. Cole was lucky to be on the pitch in the 88th. minute, as was Lampard. If the latter only received a yellow card for his feet-off- the-ground lunge at Hammill in the 23rd. minute, why was Milijas sent off against Arsenal. We could have done with him today.

We really needed a point this afternoon because it`s not going to get any easier in the near future. And we should have obtained one. Defensive lapses are still letting us down and we are still rather casual when performing the basics. One could blame MM`s bizarre selection for some of the problems we faced. Indeed, one of the commentators suggested that we looked like a team that had not played together. Moreover, had we put out a more recognisable side from the kick-off, we may have had subs in hand to park the bus in the last couple of minutes and the opportunity to waste valuable seconds while bringing them on.

At least, we have two weeks to integrate our new recruits into the side (and we need one or two more) and the chance to see them in action in the FA Cup match against Birmingham. I expect to return to stadium-viewing on 14 January when I hope to travel to White Hart Lane with a friend as minder. For all the shortcomings of our side, we did eventually make a contest of it today and could have gained a point. There is no reason why cannot get a result at WHL but we do have to cut out the mistakes and be more dynamic in our play.

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

Date:Monday January 2 2012
Time: 7:42PM


Totally agree........We give the ball away way too easily, We lack any real movement or attempt to find the spaces and we insist on standing 5-10 paces away from the player with the ball even if this means backing into our own penalty area. Now....I am NO football Coach but these seem quite basic mistakes that any half decent Football minded Coach would spot. yet, week in, week out we do the same things. It would be easy to blame MM after all...he's the manager but for me this has more to do with the day to day Coaching. I for one want to see the back of Terry Connor. too many recent managers have suffered the same issues with him as No 2. Yes, Ultimately MM must shoulder some of the blame for not pointing this out but for whatever reason, TC looks untouchable at Molineux. I saw MM urging his players to move forward when they were wanting to sit back. I genuinely believe that this is a Coaching issue. Today I saw what initially looked like a strange formation but then realised that MM had set us up to not concede in the first half. Frimpong looked quiet because he sat next to Henry just in front of the back 4 and helped stifle the Midfield thereby forcing Chelsea to come down the wings. Tactic that worked even if it did kill any chance we had of a counter attack. In the second half I knew MM would make the changes to have a go sadly some sloppy defending put us on the back foot both before Wardys goal and at the end. Lamps shouldn't have been on the pitch ( we getting used to dodgy decisions) and for me neither should Doyle. Sorry but he is our Torres. Full of running with no end product. To be honest, if we can get a LB or if the new lad can play there, I would rather see Wardys partner Fletch upfront as I feel he stands more of a chance of scoring than Doyle ever does. Clearly I'd prefer a new striker given the choice but only time will tell. A good game initially ruined by some appalling Refereeing and then by some sloppy defending. Sound Familiar!!!!! Up the Wolves
02/01/2012 21:21:00
Rustmonkey I agree with your assessment is it TC or is it the inability of the players i have said for along time now some of them are just not good enough.Its now three seasons we still cant keep a clean sheet we never tackle anyone im sorry but DE AG KF RS GE KD are not up to the job. i watched Sunderland yesterday against MC they would not let them play closing them down and more important puting tackles in which we seam not to be able to do.We need another 3-4 players in ones which can defend and tackle how many times are we going to start 1or 2 nil down before we start to play if this carrys on we will get relegated for certain. And can you tell me like you said Ward are LB has scored more than our CF ie Doyle yet he plays up front on his own how are we supposed to score it beggars believe. We have scored in the lastten or eleven matches BUT HOW MANY HAVE WE WON not many because of are inability to keep a clean sheet we need help and we need it fast.
02/01/2012 22:42:00
I have just watched the match again on Football First and it just reinforces what I thought when writing the report. We are not closing down men on the ball quickly enough and not tracking men moving into goal-scoring space. As Kiawolves points out, Sunderland were not afraid of MC and harrassed them throughout the game. We're almost bound to give away goals if we allow the opposition space on and off the ball. MM admitted as much in the post-match interview. Perhaps it is TC's fault but the manager has to take responsibility. MM says he knows what went wrong and will cure it. He's said that before and we're still in a mess. At least Blackburn and QPR lost and now we have to hope that Wigan and Bolton lose their matches. MON can do us a favour in this respect. Incidentally, kiawolves, I have deleted the Foghorn Leghorn copy of your post. Aaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!!! I shouldn't have watched the repeat, it's upset me again.
02/01/2012 23:56:00
Well chaps as previously reported I went up to get tickets on the Tuesday afternoon of the Norwich game, stood in the howling wind and I am glad I had the sense to ask if there were tickets available yet for today's game- they were and I snagged a couple. Me & my Dad in the South Bank just like twenty odd years ago. Pork cob before the game, a hamburger after followed by fish and chips mom had us ready by the time I got home, followed by the pub, it was all around a cracking day. I am heading for Heathrow in four hours so playing with my bottom lip in the early hours. Noticed I did not mention the game yet! evening before the game I was enjoying a cider in the house when I forced into mad dash to the toilet where I was vomiting in a rather vicious manner. This continued upon my wake up followed by the trotters- I popped round to try nurse my sisters twins for and hour- they both had a temperature and making the game was looking unlikely. Nan to the rescue and we found our seats in the first minute. We had scratched our respective barnacles listening to the team selection on the drive there, me forgiving my planned pint fest in order of the stomach and lo behold it did not work. Frimpong looked a nervous wreck for the first fifteen minutes but having seen the kid for an hour today I stand by my words he will not miss a game, pending fitness before the end of the season and all the good for us. I noticed he was dropping back when we had a set piece which reminded me he has proabably only trained with them once, so considering all that he was great once he settled. I remember one point the ball fell to him, he ran with it, then I wondered why he started jogging. He must have thought, where the funk are the runners, where is the movement? He needs time to adjust.. learn to look sideways more, backwards, pass it sideways and backwards, give the ball away more. I think he will prove an excellent addition. I said at half time that despite their excitable start you could see the Chelsea chins drop as the game wore on and they were not really hurting us. I realize how much more you see being at the game! Hammill got his start and if he drops him next game or plays him in goal we could see a transfer request. The ref was diabolical. I have just seen the time and realize I am being picked up for the airport in three hours. Must check the suit case. Get on the mend Banks. I aim to be back for a trip in May. I shall still be trapsing through JFK airport with my pin badge proudly stuck in my jacket. Oh yes We Are The Wolves. Til the future my friends. Wordsley Wolf.
New York City Wolf
03/01/2012 01:54:00
Sorry to hear that you were poorly over the New Year: so was I but that was self-induced. In the morning my wife said that I had volunteered to hold a Burns Night party on 25 January. What sort of gesture is that for a Welshman? On the other hand, I was pleased to read your positive verdict on Frimpong. He certainly will have to learn different ways with us. Mind you, his first action was pure Arsenal, rolling over in absolute agony after being tackled. You are also right to point out Chelsea's nervousness. Had we started more dynamically- with the right selection and set-up - we could have got a result. I slept badly as a result of the game, constantly replaying the second goal in my mind ... and I am still upset about it this morning. The ref, as you say, was diabolical. He should have red carded Lampard for his tackle on Hammill and that would have given us the advantage. MM should add that clip to his Milijas/Song video and ask 'Where is the justice?' As it was, we should not have thrown the game away in the last couple of minutes. If you are coming over in May, I will not be able to make the Everton match as my daughter is getting married that day: bad planning on someone's part!
03/01/2012 09:01:00
The formation of KD as lone striker with DE behind him was tried at Anfield and it failed.As it did yesterday. If Fletch wasn't fit enough to start, then why was he on the bench? He took a knock at Bolton, so he was either injured or he wasn't.It wasn't a matter of fitness in terms of stamina levels-if a player only has 60-70mins in his legs then starting him on the bench is an option.Obviously 'resting' Doyle hasn't changed a thing.I'm more and more reminded of what Cloughie said when he bought (and very quickly resold) Teddy Sheringham:"I thought i'd signed a centre-forward, not a midfield player". Fletch HAS to start! Forget KH and 10 others you ****!Our MVP's are at extreme ends of the pitch to each other, NOT in the middle.Had he been on on from the start, i'm sure he'd have fancied his chances of improving his headed goal record, considering the chances that had fallen to others less skilled in the art than he.It would appear that Hunt and 'short' free-kicks and corners seem to be linked.No shorties without shortie, it seems.Maybe that's why Henners hoofs it such a long way. I've just seen MM on the news not looking at all pleased, dismissing Lampard's presence as 'irrelevent' and instead choosing to blame the defending of the second goal as our reason for losing.I wouldn't go as far as to describe the decision to book, instead of send off, FL as an irrelevance- it looked like a foot-up-studs-showing kind of wreckless lunge when I saw it at the ground and must have looked even worse from the distance the ref was stood from it.Neither would I make the leap that we definitely would have won.The match would have been changed, of course, but there are far too many alternate ways it could have panned out. If 10 always beat 11, then fair enough but we can only judge what we saw...there are things we know we don't know.What I do know is that the second goal looks worse and worse every time I see it.Not one of our retreating players so much as checked over their shoulder once for incoming Chelsea players.The fact that THE midfield player who has largely built his considerable reputation around 'arriving late' and scoring goals was on the pitch, seems to have escaped them all...just long enough for him to punish them for it.They were all ball watching and effectively 'marking' nothing but air.Just as I was letting myself do the maths on what a point would do for us, a complete and collective lack of concentration and we're 'back' on 17 points.On the plus side I think Hammill had his best game of the season-if only our no10 was on to attack those balls in the first half.But, in common with others in the squad,he still has work to do on improving his worth when we're defending.As for the new boy,I didn't hear anyone claiming "We're saved" but, as has been said, he'll need time to get to know how we operate...heaven help him!
03/01/2012 12:25:00
0 we operate, all 4D ? The new boy must reveal the secret to the rest of the squad of how to win our share of the balls floated into midfield. I am not saying all of the balls, and I am not going straightaway for the logical 50% either. It beats me how during the course of an entire match, a Wolves player won possession of a high ball in midfield on no more occasions than can be counted on one hand, and for all one could see, with numerical parity of the two sets of players in that area. The scoreline says it was a narrow defeat, we may complain that the refereeing decisions contributed to that, all very well , but we should not fail to see the vast difference in class between the two teams: the speed at which Chelsea exchanged the ball, the ideas, the cohesion..we are nowhere near.
03/01/2012 13:36:00
All4divisions i agree with what you say about Lampard it was irrelevent but i think he was saying wether Lampards there or not we had 6 players in the box yet not one of them did a thing and their was only 2 Chelsea players. I can understand his frustration but this has happened all season and he is the one saying we are improving i dont think so this has gone on for 2 and a half seasons so where is the improvement. I have allready stated if we dont make vast improvements in the transfer window we are going to go down and everything that has been done will be for nothing i now hope and pray that the three Ms now realise the trouble the club is in and relegation is not an option.
03/01/2012 13:44:00
I agree with both A4D and lovesW. As A4D argues, we should have played Fletcher and he would have scored a goal in the first half from Hammill's deliveries. On the other hand, I did think that AH had trouble beating his man and that he did not track back as quickly or effectively as Jarvis does. Jarvis, on the other hand, seems merely to swing his boot without much regard of aiming it. As for the goals, our defending was abysmal. We gave the opposition too much space all over the pitch. I wrote in my notebook that one of the reasons why we had trouble passing the ball and beating a man was because the Chelsea players were in our face, while we were not as tight up on them. When I said in my report that Frimpong will have to learn a different method, what I really meant to say, as lovesW one does, that we could learn from him regarding the way Arsenal play. I also agree with his assessment of the yawning gap in quality between the two sides. The defence did make errors but they have to face determined opponents streaming through the midfield or down the flanks. Why do we back off until the last minute when a slip or a missed tackle can often be fatal, as it was yesterday. I am not only depressed by the way our season is panning out but the sight of Sunderland flying up the table under the stewardship of MON makes the feeling worse. He could been at the helm of our club now and plotting the same upward curve for us.
03/01/2012 13:57:00
Kia-absolutely. These media courses that teach all concerned the fine art of distraction can only work when the maths are still in their favour i.e. in the first 10-15 matches bland statements to do with 'cutting out the mistakes' (aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!) or 'I know we'll improve' will buy some time, in lieu of an actual, articulated and apparent plan of action to change things.But, time marches on and eventually you find yourself halfway through a season, where every team has played each other and no amount of classroom taught 'spin' can detract from the reality of the situation.As you say, hopefully SM has now had his nostrils filled with the smell of the coffee- which, in our case, is a brand that would shame Liddels and reeks of relegation.I still reckon that the volume and quality of players that we are likely to get in will only be the difference (and only potentially at that) between going down and finishing 16/17th.It should have been done in the summer- trying to plug leaks in Jan was part of our reasoning for getting it done then, as I recall.And still we get spin that we are 'getting business done early'. Early?Five months late is a strange kind of early.They f***ed up. They took what I still regard was a calculated risk and it's blown up in their faces.Even with new blood, though, we're still left with the question of whether MM and TC can use them to any more effect than the players we have.As both SB and lovesW have mentioned, we had a packed central midfield yesterday and furthermore it was made up of 'defenders'. Yet we still couldn't gain control.As for players 'backing off' SB, that is down to coaching. No question in my mind whatsoever.
03/01/2012 14:36:00
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