Date:Friday January 6 2006
With Glenn Hoddle’s men’s stuttering performance at Coventry still fresh in their minds, Wolves fans could do with something to lift their mood a little.
Wolves sit on the edge of the Championship playoff spots whilst this weekends foe, Plymouth Argyle hover precariously close to the relegation zone, but in Cup ties, league position can count for little. A week ago, the teams had to settle for an equal share of the spoils in a match that Wolves dominated, and should have won, but that Plymouth could have quite easily nicked at the death.
The match should and in all probability will, be won or lost in the middle of the park, and to an extent, the outcome very much depends on which Wolves midfield unit turns up. When they have gelled, the Wolves middle section has outplayed and outfought their opponents, and simply had too much to offer for their opposite numbers to compete. But those occasions have been few and far between, and its rare these days for teams to look at the Molineux team sheet and be stumped for a solution to the problems sat in front of them.
Every man back behind the ball, defend in numbers and soak up the pressure seems to be the stock answer and Plymouth are a well organised side easily capable of doing that, but Wolves may have a few surprises in store for The Pilgrims this time around.
Paul Ince is nearing full fitness, Hungarian Denes Rosa is also available, and with Tom Huddlestone temporarily back on duty at Spurs there is both a gap and a need for a bit of steel in the heart of the Wolves formation. The presence of either in the starting line up could well influence things in the home sides’ favour.
As could the shape of Glenn Hoddle’s team. In their last meeting, Hoddle unveiled his 3-5-2 side that near tore Plymouth apart for the first 45 minutes. But it was also the same formation that succumbed all too easily against Coventry City 3 days later, so there is no saying Hoddle will stick with his 3 centrebacks, and not revert back to his favoured 4-3-3.
Whichever he chooses, many will still feel that the biggest threat to Wolves place in the fourth round will be their own inability to finish teams off. Time and time again Wolves have failed to convert possession and chances into goals, and in the FA Cup, you don’t often get second chances
Wolves have faired slightly better in the cup of late than their opponents and have a history of good runs to reminisce over whilst Plymouth have only progressed beyond the 3rd round once in the last 11 years, and in that year, 2000, they lost to Preson in the very next round. In previous Cup meetings between the two, Wolves have won 2, and drawn 1, the last being a 2-1 victory in 1951.
Curious Match Fact
Its’s 46 years since Wolves last won the FA Cup, in a match where two goal hero Norman Deeley clashed with a young Dave Whelan and broke his leg. Whelan invested his insurance pay out wisely, and used it as the foundation for a business empire, and set him on his way to being a multi millionaire, and Chairman of Wigan Athletic.
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