Will Paddy be back?

•February 18, 2013 • 4 Comments

It has been reported to me that the famous blogger Paddy lost his footing while trying to live on the bald-headed manager Stale Solbakken.

He is now a convalescent but may yet rise up from the dead and start to report about his great love Wolverhampton Wanderers again. It is no way to say when at this hour, but keep in touch with this site and hold on to your hopes. It’s been a complicated surgical operation and he needs some time to recover, just like his favorite team, really.

UP THE WOLVES!!!

(friend of Paddytheflie’s)

We´re on our way

•September 29, 2012 • 8 Comments

As I said in my analysis a couple of weeks ago this Wolves team own the potential to climb right back up to the Premier League. The defeat by six goals to Chelsea doesn’t change my estimation of the team a bit. Why not so? Well, there are many reasons to that.

Firstly, we played the European Champions away with our second team, totally unused to play together in an ordered fashion. The reason most of them were starting was to rest our first team players for more important games, like the ones up-coming against Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace.

Teams not trained together will ultimately perform under par when it comes to set pieces, which we did in the first half against Chelsea, getting behind with two goals very quickly. With a young and partly inexperienced team that was enough to take their spirits down against such a huge team as Chelsea.

Enough said about that. The League Cup is not what it once was and even if, its not at all our main goal this season. The league is and that is what counts and matters. We have done very well so far in my opinion, despite seven newcomers, a new manager with a partly new idea on how to play the game. Solbakken is an interesting fellow and I am inspired by him and I believe the Wolves players are aswell.

In fact I was inspired to write this article by the article at the official site where he explains how he works with the players tactically to give them more tools to win the games. Mind-boggling, really! Imaging McCarthy having tactical briefings with the players explaining to them how to react in certain situations and pointing out that there are many ways of reacting to different situations and there are some ways that are better than others to get forward and achieve situations that will lead to goal opportunities.

I’m not saying that McCarthy didn’t have any tactical briefings with the players, but I very much doubt his skills in this area and the very fact that Ståle and the club are revealing how our new manager goes about in this area says to me that there has been major changes in the management of the team to the benefit for the players and the development of how they play and think football.

But something we must recognise is that these changes will take time. I believe, despite the Chelsea-game, that Solbakken already have achieved to stop the defence from leaking goals en masse. Not by changing personnel, but by changing the way the defence connects to the midfield. they are working closer together now and everybody is involved, have a task and feel responsible.

Some players describe it as we are “narrower”, but that doesn’t mean that the wingers are not allowed to go forward wide, just that the team acts more compact as a whole and there are fewer “holes” between parts of the team. When the forwards and the midfield moves up the pitch the back four follows and when they defend they do it more as a unit, without panicking. Not at all times, no team is that perfect, but more so than before.

Without a doubt its Doyle and Ebanks-Blake that will be the ones to have the head responsibility to score our goals this season. They both have proved their worth in this division earlier and I rely totally on them to bring most of the goals necessary to win games this season. Ziggy and Noble are two young and up-coming replacements who are already better than most of the strikers in the Championship and both are capable of breaking through this season. They will have many chances to do that as Solbakken have to rotate the team with so many fixtures coming up in a short time.

I’m exited about our midfield for the first time in years, apart from the time when Frimpong was a guest at the club. Doumbia is not only exiting going forward, but also very stable at defending and he has improved holding the ball and passing it around already. Henry is back and has a cooling and stabilising effect needed as we have Sako and Pez at the wings with – hopefully – Ward and Foley acting as wing-backs pushing up the field.

With Foley back in contention I regard the team as complete to take on the challenge against any team in this league. Wolves looks solid, well balanced and ready for the first time this season – and maybe for the first time in a couple of seasons, really. The team badly needed someone to take the ball up the pitch and I regard Foley as one of the few with the skills to do so. What I really wanted was a midfielder with those skills, but Foley will sure do and he is the last bit of the puzzle.

So, without my usual green board and gadgets I can present a very probable first eleven for the game against the Owls as this:

———- Ikeme ———-

Foley – Johnson – Berra – Ward

Pez – Henry – Doumbia – Sako

—– Ebanks-Blake – Doyle

And how will this team fare against an Owls team with former Wolves striker Jay Bothroyd leading them and former Wolves legend Dave Jones managing?  I believe very well. I hope, on home soil, they will act sooner than react and take the game to the oppositions side and score a couple early on.  My hope is though that they will not think too much on tactics to forget to fight, cause every game in the Championship is about to fight to your teeth in order to achieve the only thing that matters to both the players, the club and the supporters – a victory and three ponts. No pussy-footing!

UP THE WOLVES!!!

Paddytheflea

Time to settle down and do some magic

•September 1, 2012 • 8 Comments

The transfer window has been shut and there has been no major signing in the last minute, as was rumoured among fans. Fletch, Jarvo and Kights are gone but no less than seven new players have been signed. Now its high time to get some togetherness to build a team, but that will have to be done in the midst of the war they call the Championship.

What are Wolves chances of bouncing back up into the elite forces of the footballing world immediately, fans are asking me. Its still early days and premature to give a comprehensive answer to that, but I will try to speculate and hopefully come up with some answers below.

Let us first establish the absolute truth that Wolves has become weakened going forward with the sell of Fletcher, Jarvis and Kightly. At least the first two are impossible for a team now playing in the Championship to replace quality-wise and Mr Kightly had the rare quality of starting up a team to progress forward, something he demonstrated for Wolves again and again the last time we were in the Championship.

At the same time its important to remember that Fletch did not figure in the team when we last made the way up to the Premiership, nor did Doyle. And we all know the potential of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after our last time in the Championships. Add to that the unknown potentials of Sigurdarson and Nouble and it does not look too bad striker-wise for the season that has kicked off.

What more can be said about our new signings the Icelandic striker “Ziggy” and the big man with double citizenship of England and the Ivory Coast? Ziggy looks a little lost so far, but I’ve seen some passes and runs that could forebode something interesting to come. I wish that he would have the guts to take on his man a little more in the penalty area, at least he could earn a penalty by that and even get past. But the confidence will come and he will get stronger in training and more used to the tempo of english football aswell. Probably a good signing, hopefully a star to be but maybe we should have some patience with him, not expecting him to break through completely this season.

Nouble is a positive surprise to me. Big, yet technical and a steady man to have at the bench if everything else fails and also to hold the ball up when we are in the lead and want to change to a 4-5-1 from 4-4-2. I’m not sure if he is the choice of Solbakken, but he will prove to be an asset to the team, I’m sure.

So the final conclusion about the strikers of the “New Wolves” is that we are better equipped than we were when we last made our ways up to the Premiership so there is no reason to believe that we lack the firepower to take the step, despite the loss of Fletcher.

Let’s take a look at the midfield. A lot of things has happened to that part of the team, positive and negative. The loss of Jarvis saddens me. He has been my favorite player in Wolves from the first season when he arrived to the club and his development as a player has been amazing. I will follow his career and wish him good luck wherever he will play. A top player and a top bloke.

What do I have to say about the players that have been signed on to replace him and Kightly, then? Peszko, the Polish winger from Cologne has been involved a lot already and I must say he looks like a very good signing! Some say that he is as good as Jarvo, but I wouldn’t go that far (it was said by a man who is yet to understand the greatness of Jarvo). Clearly Peszko – or “The Pez” – could be the best or at least one of our best signings under Solbakken. He assisted for plenty of goals in Cologne and he has the potential to do that and score some himself for Wolves. Like about Sigurdarssen its about self-confidence and knowing the league. He will be a great asset to Wolves this season and hopefully seasons to come.

We have more influx in the middle, something that delights me as  you know that I’ve seen our midfield as the weakest part of the team. Solbakken has probably drawn the same conclusion and brought on Razak Boukari, like a couple of others from France schooled at Chateauroux, a special crib, it seems, for skilled, technical footballers. I believe he still have something to prove, but with our own Forde getting better and better we do have enough skill on the wings to support our strikers.

There is a problem with, and has been for a number of years, with our inner midfield. With O’Hara and Henry both injured at the moment we are more vulnerable than ever in this part of the team. Hopefully, though, Henry will soon be back (thought I would never write that) :lol: and O’Hara will strengthen the team in a couple of months.

Until then, though, we have our new arrivals in Tongo Doumbia and Bakary Sako. Doumbia has managed to get a very good start in the team and is already a favorite among the fans which of course bodes well as the fans are always right. :lol: No, but he is a box-to-box midfielder with skills to hold the ball and that is exactly what we have lacked for years.

Sako is a player I’ve only seen on Youtube and for twenty or so minutes in the game against Northampton, but what a nice beginning at our club! To me he looks different class and I hope he will settle in and become our first inner midfielder for years to be a real threat going forward. We have plenty more playing in the midfield like Edwards and Davis. They will sure play a role, but probably not in the first eleven in my opinion.

My conclusion for the midfield is that its strength depends on if we can use the potential our newcomers already have shown that they have and if O’Hara and Henry are getting back in good shape. I would, though, like to see another class player brought into the team, perhaps on loan. I had hopes that we would bring Whelan from Stoke to the team, but that did not happen, but perhaps that’s not too late if we take him on loan.

The defence is by most seen as the Achilles heel of Wolves. I could understand if many fans are very worried as this is the part of the team that is the most intact after the window has closed. But we have one new signing, an Austrian citizen with the name Margreitter. How come we always try young ones in these positions? It takes a footballer years to learn the trade to be a good central defender. I’m sceptic to this signing and would have wanted a more experienced man at this position.

We will probably keep Berra, and that is good. And we have added to the team so to speak internally by engaging Batth, who played very well for the Owls last season. Johnson has been given another chance and Moyokolo is said to be fit to play soon. We have enough central defenders to play bowling with them, but are they good enough? Only time will tell, but I doubt other Championship teams have better. I am a little worried about this part of our team, though.

What about full-backs, then? Ward is a favorite of mine and will be very useful both at defending and going forward in the Championship as he has already proved. Elokobi is a good back-up for him at the left side and this is perhaps one of our strongest positions in the team. For the other side I have more doubts. Zubar may hopefully straighten up his play with more French friends in the team. The Solbakken tactics with wing-backs should suite his style of play, but he has to be better at positioning in his defensive work to fit the bill. Foley is on his way back after injury and may very well take this position when fit.

Conclusion for this is that we have fullback good enough for a top Championship side. What about our keepers? Could we really perform without Hennessey fit? Of course we can! Ikeme is doing just fine and De Vries is an excellent back-up for him. Hennessey will probably be back before schedule and will have a hard time to grab his place in the first eleven back.

The over all conclusion is that Ståle Solbakken looks to have been very successful at finding the right players to fill the gaps in the team. It’s early days yet and I may have to eat it later on but this looks like a team that could challenge for the title come spring. It’s an awful lot of work to do until then though and everything could also misfire. The potential is there, though and now its up to Solbakken to realise and release it. Time to settle down and do some magic, Mr Steel!

UP THE WOLVES!!!

Paddytheflea

Don’t sell our best players, Mr Moxey! (clips)

•August 6, 2012 • 9 Comments

Pre season is drawing to a close and many things are undecided still about the team. It’s not a good start to the season when nobody knows if we are able to keep our star players Fletcher and Jarvis and popular power house Kightly.

With those three in the team Wolves will stand a greater chance of getting out of this division, something I believe everybody inside and outside the team are very aware of. The club will get much dole if they sell them for sure, but then it comes to the problem of finding players with the same quality who are free and willing to play for Wolves in a very short time.

It’s an equation that’s very hard to put together with a satisfactory outcome so the very best thing is to give compensation to the players if they stay and help the team to graduate and I’m sure that all three of the ones mentioned above are willing to do just that if they get a good deal from the club. Do you read me, Mr Moxey?!

So Vokes went to Burnley, good for him. I don’t believe they will have a chance to take one of the play-off spots this season, but it’s a solid club with heart and soul and I hope Sam will find a good sporting life over in Yorkshire.

The first team has played three pre-season games since I reported last with one win against Walsall, a draw against Shrewsbury and a loss against promoted team Southampton. With many of our best players on the injury list its an expected result but the important thing is that the players will get match fit and practise the new tactical dispositions made by manager Ståle Solbakken.

Of course I hoped for a better performance against the red and white striped southern team, but without our best players its hard to play a hungry promoted team away with a good result. That was another performance underlining what I wrote above that we really need the star trio to remain under the black and old gold colors. If they do we will be stronger than last season and that should be enough for promotion if Mr Steel is the accomplished manager everybody says he is.

There has been a lot of guesses and speculation about Solbakken and a team without wingers. I’m not at all sure about that. He wants the full backs to be more of wing-backs for sure, but that does not have to mean that he prefers to play completely without wingers. I’m sure that we will see many runs and crosses from the flanks by wingers this season as we have in previous. Maybe they will turn inside more often, though, and we certainly need to strengthen up in the middle, both going forward and defending.

I must give some credit to the club for putting up an account on YouTube with clips from their pre season games. I will publish links to the Walsall and Shrewsbury clips below and hopefully Wolves will publish a clip with highlights from the Southampton game soon – if there were any. Looking forward now to the start of the season, but I’m still very worried about some of our players future in the club. Am I too conservative? I don’t think so…

UP THE WOLVES!!!

Paddytheflea

Pre Season Thoughts

•July 25, 2012 • 12 Comments

It was no surprise to me that Wolves decided to put Sam Vokes out for sale and sold Adlène Guédioura to Forest.

Let’s face it. Vokes looked like a future star striker when he first came to us from Bournemouth, but he could not fulfill that first promise and will not be able to compete with our other strikers for a place in the first team. Will he end up in Burnley or maybe Brighton? I don’t know, but I wish him good luck in the future. He is a hard working professional and deserves the best.

Many supporters believe that Wolves did the wrong thing to sell Guédi to Nottingham Forest. I’m not one of them. He is a force going forward and has a very good right foot, but having said that we must not forget his shortcomings. Sometimes he is sloppy with the ball and he is not as good in the defensive work as going forward. He often tries to hold on to the ball too long and loses it to an opponent, sometimes starting dangerous counters. We have several midfielders better than him. Good luck to him, though. Maybe Forest can get more out of him than we did, it will be interesting to follow his career.

It seems that the pre-season tour to Ireland was a success as usual. I wish I had the opportunity to visit Bray ones again. I was there a couple of years ago and it’s a gem of a town with a beach a mile long and beautiful houses (some of them public) :lol:

A clip has been published by the club from the match against Bray – which as you all know by now – resulted a 5-1 win for Wolves. Not surprising at all and the result is not important. What is important is how the team played and what changes by Solbakken that can be spotted.

I think two things are visible as changes in the way Wolves play under Mr Steel. Firstly he wants the full-backs to be full wing-backs, moving up high following their winger. The winger often play back to their companion who will get a better position to cross the ball into the area. It was very fruitful in this game.

The other thing that’s noticeable is that the whole team is higher up the pitch than we are used to. Partly that may depend on the opponents, of course, but I think we will see a further forward going Wolves this season with only the central defenders and maybe one of the midfielders left behind. That results in more options when attacking and we are able to press our opponents better, but of course also a vulnerability at the back.

I like both these changes and look forward to see more of this and other tactical dispositions made by the new management.

UP THE WOLVES!!!

Paddytheflea

Is The Season Over Yet?

•July 19, 2012 • 14 Comments

Hey folks! Is the season over yet? TC must have taken some treatment against fleas, cause I was knocked out already in March after the Bolton game and didn’t come to my senses til recently. To be a flea or a bee is no way easy or free, believe me!

Nobody supporting Wolves had a nice time last season, though. The team did not reach its potential and several players held their heads between their knees, not the right position to score and win games.

But enough with the past now. Like most teams, apart from Pompey, Wolves got a future and my opinion is that it look as bright as the sun in July. :lol:

Let’s face it. We’re down there now. There’s only one way to go now but up and we all have a ticket to that ride. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that its gonna be easy – I’ve just heard that eigheen out of the twenty-four teams competing in the Championships the upcoming season has played in the Premiership – and you can bet on that all of them are thinking they’ve got a chance to knock on the door and get in there again.

So Ståle Solbakken it is. The first manager in Wolves history from outside of the British Isles. A bold move from the board – no matter what they say. Ståle means steel and that is exactly what we need this season. Solbakken – one of my norwegian friends tells me – means sunny hill. That sounds good aswell but his head looks like a sunny hill without grass and unfortunately it does not make a good habitat for fleas so I have had to look for other accommodation.

I will not be able to watch all games this season but I will report from the ones I attend of course. My reports will not be as frequent as they usually are, but maybe more interesting as I will discuss tactics and formations more than before. I believe this will come naturally as Mr Steel and his young sidekick Johan Lange are said to be accomplished in this area, something we are not used to as Wolves fans, at least not for the last six years or so.

So what do we know and what could we speculate on about the upcoming season from the facts we already got?

It’s a new start. Ståle will present new and fresh ideas and he and Lange will transform the way the team play – hopefully and very probable in my opinion, to the better. I read somewhere that Ståle is a 4-4-2 guy. That’s not true. He usually form his teams in a modern 4-2-3-1-formation or a 4-4-1-1 dito. As a former star midfielder in Norway he will have a better eye for how to play in that part of the field than MM and TC had. That is important. Perhaps not so important in the Championships as in the Premiership, though, because much less of the action is played out in that area in the Championship.

I hope for a more direct approach in play and that the team can move fast forward from the middle of the pitch as well as from the wings. We have the runners who can play that game if they only are instructed to do so. I would like – as before last season – that a proper inner midfield playmaker is brought into the team. Wolves do need a playmaker as much as fish need water. Again though, more in the Premiership than the Championship.

Everybody is complaining about our back four but that is not completely fair in my book. They were often laid bare and alone by an absent midfield last season and a couple of seasons before that. We need to build a team with the same idea on how to play and I do hope that the roles and responsibilities between the midfield and the back line is sorted out once and for all.

Many of the players from last time we were in the CC are still with us. They are better and more experienced today, but they must not forget the enthusiasm and hunger that kept them going forward then. Without that in the team we risk to stay in this league a lifetime. Much of this spirit is brought to the players from the supporters. We are catalysing energy by our behaviour on the stands. Don’t forget that folks! They need us, perhaps more than ever in the beginning of the upcoming season.

If we want to see Premier League football on Molineux in the foreseeable future we must not take notice of the shortcomings of individual players first hand, but to applaud the things they do well. That’s the proper way to bring up a child as well as elevating a football team.

The Flea Is Back – With A Vengeance!   :lol:

Paddytheflea

Probable Lineups: Wolves v Bolton

•March 31, 2012 • 4 Comments

This is it! No more excuses! We are Wolves and this time it’s about sink or swim and we are fu**ing swimming today or we go down!

I did not watch last game live so I did not want to relate my thoughts about it to you. We lost but I believe it was a step forward, but we need more than that to beat Bolton. Surprised as I was by the resilience of the inner midfield made up by newcomer Jonsson and Edwards, that wont be enough to beat the Bolton team with former Wolves player Mark Davies among others.

Perhaps we will find ourselves paying for the mistakes made by our former manager in not letting our young ones play a role though buying young players all over with questionable quality. Mark was one of the very best that has come out of the Wolves Academy and McCarthy didn’t pay attention to him, Now our former manager spills his guts about how good he was at escaping relegation while our former ace can bring us down. Shame on you, Mr McCarthy!

I used to love this game, but I admit now it has become a burden in my life. Like most of us when the team does not perform I am in agony. There’s no way to escape though, no way out, just to endure and fight it out and sheer for your team and hope for the best. We’re in deep sh*t and we know it. This is probably our last chance to straight it out, if we do it’s a fantastic escape, if we don’t it’s back to the CC and what? Uncertainty!

Henry is not among my favorite Wolves players but probably has something to offer when it comes to stability in defending from midfield tomorrow. He will play. Johnson and Bassong will be our central defenders and Ward is as certain on the left back as Hennessey is at goal. But what about right back? Stearman did a good job acting almost as a third cental defender, perhaps something Wolves need?! On the other hand Zubar is available now and he is a better choice going forward. My choice would be both – Stears at the back and Zubar at the wing, but TC has many other options for these positions.

What about the formation then? Well, as they played a 4-4-2 away we will surely play it at home. It will be Henry and Edwards and why not? I am thrilled we have not tried that earlier on, despite other options it sounds good to me. That is if we have options on the wings that could go forward.

That makes it possible to play both Fletcher and Doyle up-front. Doyler would not be my choice, though, but it will be the choice of TC based on merit. Rightly so or not I have always claimed that Ebanks-Blake has not been given a proper chance. He has something that made him two times a golden boot winner in the CC and the step up should not be too far if it is smoothed by the right manager and the right circumstances. in my opinion.

So what will the result be for this match, that will probably decide our faith for the next couple of years? I think we will win it if we play it well. then we will have about a 40% chance of escaping degradation and the club and TC will have the fans behind them. But this is the last chance. Everybody knows that. Win or swim. Or drown and go down. Three against one for Wolves, but watch out for Mark Davies!

Paddytheflea

 
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