Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Blackburn

The first anger after the game have given way for the usual disappointment and despair. It’s not a good idea to write abut the game when still upset and angry, even if it’s probably more interesting to read, because your senses gets distorted by the sentiment in action.

Yesterday I wouldn’t be able to write that Wolves measured up well to Blackburn and that with a little luck we could have taken points in the game. In the first half we had as much of play and chances as Blackburn and who knows what would have happened if Doyler had scored on his chance early on? At the same time I must say that many of the players didn’t play to the highest of their known abilities and that bothers me.

Our formation worked well though and we looked fairly solid in the back, despite some semi-dangerous attacks from Yakubu and Hoilett early on. We started as the best team the first twenty or so minutes, but my notion was that we lost more and more of the initiative as we lost more and more of  the control over midfield as the match went on.

Before the game I would have thought that Davis was our weak point in the inner midfield, but as it unfolded it was O’Hara and Edwards who didn’t perform as well as expected. Perhaps because both of them are struggling with injuries and aren’t totally fit.

It’s very significant for Wolves in this period of Premier League play though, that a young medfielder who played with a league one team a few days ago can play a dominating role at our midfield much in the same way as Frimpong did when he came from reserves team play to boost our team.

I‘ve told you again and again during the years that the weakness of Wolves and what separates us from being a team in the upper half of the PL is our weak inner midfield. This game and many other games prove that I’m right and for those of you who hope for some player who didn’t play yesterday to step in and sort it out I just have laughs and headshakes as an answer. The problem should have been dealt with years ago, but was a blind spot for our former manager and still costs us every week.

The stats for Davis are excellent. He didn’t miss a tackle and he nicked the ball from the opposition many times and two of them got yellow cards trying to stop him from playing. His performance also corroborates another critique of our former management. The fact that they have not given young players from our own academy enough chances.

We have a whole generation of excellent footballers already shipped out to other clubs, not getting a deserved chance to break into the team and we risk that another generation of even better young players going down the drain because of mismanagement. I still hope that TC will have a different view than McCarthy on this, but I’m not at all sure. It’s only under the knife he has taken in the excellent Davis.

A few weeks ago it looked like Wolves had plenty of choices on the wings. Now it looks like crises as Kightly doesn’t measure up and Doyler doesn’t look as a winger nor as a striker when playing at the right side of field. Voices have been heard to take Hammill back from Boro and I agree to that. The problem is that we have to wait until the end of this month before we can do that according to the rules written into the loan-out agreement.

In the meantime my choice for the right wing would be our own young Anthony Forde. At the moment and with the right support he can perform better than both Kightly and Doyle at that position in my opinion. Or maybe Hunty is on his way back, I don’t know but something has to be done about it pronto and TC now has a chance to prove that although in McCarthy’s management team he hosts a different view of our young ones.

I believe that Zubar was the wrong choice for right back and may have had an impact on the performances of Kights and Doyle. With Foley at right back they would have had better service and would have been more free to go forward. Zubar is no master at positioning nor at the passing game and I frequently asked myself where he was when Blackburn attacked at his side and Stears had to face it alone.

Ward and Bassong at the other side had great problems defending against Hoilett and Stears had a handful with Yakubu, but they were actually not to blame for the goals in the back. Bad marking on the throw-in (but not from Doyler as some writes today) and a seemingly unstoppable young Hoilett in very good form were the reasons for us letting in two goals, but not necessarily for us losing the game.

For us to know why we lost it we have to look further up the pitch. I almost got as red as Morgan in my face watching us play the ball back and forth between our midfielders and the back four without gaining any ground on several occasions yesterday, as most of this season and seasons before. It often ends up with somebody getting under pressure and giving away a bad pass making us lose the ball.

We have to find that fast path for the ball up the field with as few passes as possible. We are not Barcelona nor Arsenal and our players does not have the skills to play the ball around for fun and keeping it in the team forever. Wolves must play to the skills that the players possess and to play it around in our own half is suicidal and will always backfire.

At the moment, and for most of the last four years, our left side is the only path going forward that works and that is because Ward and Jarvis knows that as few passes as possible between them when running forward is the most efficient and secure way to get to the other side. No brainer, really!

In this game we had too few attacks and too few in the box when attacking. It looked like we were playing a 4-1-4-1-formation, but Edwards and O’Hara didn’t dare to go forward too far and Doyler was on the wing while Fletcher worked all over the pitch and sometimes not even he was to be found in the box when needed.

Are we so nervous to let one in at the back that we have lost the ability to attack even when one or two goals down? Sadly that could be the case and after each loss we can read about the team contemplating about how to strengthen the defence. Such analysis could be counter-productive in my opinion.

I’m not gonna comment about the protests against this or that, as I believe it gains nothing, called for or not. We are Wolves and we still have as good a chance as the other four teams in our mini-league to stay in the Premier League. Statistically it’s 40% and I would not hesitate to put a tenner on us staying up despite us losing yesterday.

UP THE WOLVES!!!

Hennessey – 5 – Not much to do about the goals and other than that he didn’t have much to do when it comes to saves.  I’m not sure though that he is active enough in telling the players to mark at set pieces. Maybe he is to nice and has to swear and shout at the players to mark everybody in and just outside the box. Use your authority, Hens!

Zubar – 5 - Not my first choice as right back. 67% passing success is far to low and he is often wrongly positioned when the opposition attacks. Many proposes that he should be played as a winger. Maybe worth trying, but Foley is the better right back.

Stearman – 6 – Works very hard and had a hard fight against Yakubu yesterday and I would say he won it, despite being in trouble many times. I could understand TC not playing Johnson in this position and Stears did well replacing our out of favour captain. Stears gets the smiley!

Bassong – 6 – Looked more solid than Berra at the position and is a better footballer in my opinion. Works well together with Ward and Jarvis and has the potential to play even better at the run in.

Ward – 5 – Insecure at defending, giving the ball away a couple of times. Still a threat going forward together with Jarvo, but missed a couple of crosses aswell. Not in form, hopefully he will get back into it pronto.

Davis – 7 – An excellent first in the Premier League, One I believe we wouldn’t have witnessed with McCarthy still in charge. Honours to TC for having the guts to play him, after all he had a couple of other choices.  With 5 out of 5 succesful tackles and two scoring attempts created while having one himself he was by far our best inner midfielder in this game and he was much more physical than Henry is (23 succesful tackles in 23 games played this season by Henry).

Just what we have missed in midfield, with or without Henry playing. He also caused two of the Blackburn players getting yellow carded while roughly trying to take the ball from him. Good work and good luck in the future! David Davis will get Paddytheflie’s Big Star in this game – his first in the Premier League – hopefully of many to come!

Doyle – 5 – He is clearly no winger but we didn’t have much better options for the position. The delivery was not tops with Zubar playing on the right back and he may have done better under other circumstances. Nevertheless he had chances at goal both as a winger and later when we went 4-4-2 as a striker. With some luck he would have scored one or two and then his ratings would have gone up.

O’Hara – 4 – Was all oer the place as usual. I had hoped that he would occupy a more forward role just behind Fletcher, but he was more of a box-to-box player in this game and with a lingering injury he clearly couldn’t pull that through without horrible errors and being absent in or just outside the box when needed. Rightly played and fit O’Hara is a very accomplished footballer, but he was neither and not yesterday.

Edwards – 5 – Also back from injury and maybe he couldn’t do himself full justice. Were though wrongly picked by the referee twice for fauls and was playing well in most of the first half when he was going forward more than O’Hara, which surprised me at first. Replaced by Milijas who had a few very intelligent deep passes, something I miss in Edwards. Both Edwards and Milijas had chances on goal and Milijas should have scored one late in the game.

Jarvis – 7 – Our only player being a real threat to Blackburn in this game. Looks like he is the only in form player in Wolves at the moment, besides Davis. With more players in the box and the players in the box being more concentrated and with more quality in their last touches Wolves would have scored a couple on his crosses. He missed a couple of them, true, but his accuracy was still high as is my rating of him. Matt Jarvis gets the little star!

Fletcher – 5Could hae done better in this game, but was left alone against the Blackburn defence in many cases. As I wrote above sometimes he drifts away too far from his main position and task, though. Putting in a shift for the midfield is great, but it is goals that we want from him firsthand.

Paddytheflea (Who has promised to stop moaning and will support his team to the end of season!)

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~ by paddytheflea on March 11, 2012.

16 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Blackburn”

  1. Watching Norwich vs Wigan…..I have said it all along….we are definitely the worst team in the premiership. Wigan can attack, can create, and are more entertaining than our bunch. I wonder if our matches are being watched overseas, what impression of our so called best league in the world is giving out. Have never ever seen Wolves so hopeless. I dont believe they would be top ten championship side at the moment

  2. I agree Paddy, Davis did well,but it is still a lot to ask of an untried kid.He played well but messed up his header from the throw and that led to the first goal.The Prem is unforgiving.We cannot do i t with kids., unless they have exceptional young talent.Forde did well first game against Arsenal but then never got a kick next game against Chelsea. You can ruin kids by pushing them in too soon.Whatever happened to Lowe,the kid that Jones played last time we were in the Prem. I know you and too many others don’t realise it,but Mick McCarthy did exceptionally well in getting players to play as a team and above their general level of abilities.At least a dozen non Wolves fans have come up to me and said ‘you should not have sacked your manager’. I always give the same reply’I know’ .And by the way Sky did rerun the first goal and showed that Doyle’s marking was slack.

  3. Actually I don t blame Davis for the goal ….going up to head and clear the ball under pressure is not that easy…..marking was not on……fault of Doyle not Davis ….definite

  4. We need to face the harsh truth that not only we the poorest team in the Premiership but there are at least 6 Championship sides playing better football than us. This is due to the lack of ambition shown by the club since promotion and to date we have got lucky and got away with it. No doubt we expected a couple of the promoted clubs to struggle and they haven’t, the result is that we will not get away with again. But frankly having listened to what Morgan had to say yesterday (I was there) it does not surprise me that we are struggling, frankly he has no idea how to run a football club and has no respect for the fans. Incidentally despite the club’s comments Morgan did blame Steve Bruce for the delay in appointing a new manager and the Jamie O’Hara incident has been badly miss reported, all be it unacceptable, it was not a mob and no one was threatened.

  5. Feeling pretty negative to be honest. Past seasons we’ve been at the bottom or lost games but I always felt we had the ability and spirit to get out of it. This season is different and I don’t see any way we can get out – in fact if we don’t finish bottom it will be a surprise. Hopelessly inadequate defence, ineffective midfield with no drive, bite or leadership and only 1 striker who looks a threat. The only way is down :-(

  6. Davis is a light in the dark, definetly. Kightly is our best right wing, and if we are not going to use him on the wing he should play behind Fletcher. He should be in the team.

    We still have a chance to survive. Come on you Wolves.

    • Nonsense Kightly made zero impact and looked the Championship standard player that he is. He is hopelessly out of his depth at this level.

  7. Oh it was a poor match from Wolves point of view and yes we see all Wolves matches LIVE in our country while in the Championship we would only see those that are shown on Sky. So we would only have six or seven in a season if the same thread is used as in the season’s before we were in the Premiership. What annoys me most is that Wolves surrender the midfield department from the first whistle. They don’t play the opposition in their faces thus they have time to pass at their leisure while the defence is shaky. Regarding David Davis I agree that Wolves must give chances to the young ones but to pitch them in in a delicate match as Saturday’s is a bit of a gamble. Unfortunately the two goals come after mistakes through inexperience of the lad. The first when he sliced his headed clearance strainght to Hoilett ijust on the edge of the area and he was unmarked while for the second goal it was a lost ball by the boy near their penalty area that led to Hoilett’s clincher. The team has no luck as their were some half chances that on other days would have gone in and finally a team like Wolves struggling for fit players let some experienced one’s go on loan like Guedioura, Hammill and Elokobi.

  8. I strongly agree with the comment that we are not giving our young players any sort of a chance to prove themselves. The best centre back on the books is playing out of his skin at Sheff. Wednesday. Danny Baath can tackle well, is good in the air, and has the essential pace that we very much lack. How can we not give him a chance now, given the atrocious form of Berra Johnson and Stearman ?

  9. Hi Paddy
    From the opposition again, remember earlier in the season. Good article as always when we play you. I think your problem, Wolves that is, is that they don’t put teams under pressure for long enough periods. Robinson, our goalie, had virtually nothing to do the entire game. However I think and I hope we both stay up! Have you seen QPR run in? Bolton are very poor and hope we can put paid to them next week and I think Wigan have gone!
    Hope that is the case because we are tactically still crap but obviously hope we survive and I enjoy your blogs and quite like Wolves>

    Cheers

  10. Mmm not sure I agree with the unreserved praise of Davies. His loss of the ball when he was easily shrugged off the ball ultimately led to the goal. That he looked good says more about our current squad performance than him actually being as accomplished as is being made out.
    The rest is spot on… I was pleasantly suprised when I saw the team this rapidly turned to bewilderment with our actual shape and positioning which was obviously equally a mystery to most of the team who had no shape and sent passes into no mans land at best and in Wards case straight to a Blackburn player!
    If we run that crap next week we may see a PL record scoreline and not in our favour, which would top off a perfect few weeks!!
    Quite how this total implosion has come about will be debated for months/years to come. One thing is clear despite a lot of comments to the contrary our squad still has a load of dead Championship wood in it which should have been chucked out by the third season in the PL. We simply aren’t anywhere near good enough and the team spirit and fight that saved us last season has long since gone. What a bloody disaster which was totally avoidable.

  11. Think it’s a bit harsh to blame Davies for the second goal – the pass to him from Kightly was too short and it was easy for the Blackburn defender to cut out. The ease with which the ball then ended up at the other end of the pitch and eventually the back of our net is what was really worrying.

  12. By the way doesn’t it seem that Steve Morgan has caught himself out with his own lies now? He claims the Wolves job was “only offered to one man – Alan Curbishley” but then blames Steve Bruce for delaying the appointment of a new manager as he “had accepted the job and then changed his mind”. So I make that TWO people were offered the job at least then Steve…..

  13. just accept you got beat by the better team on the day.

    • Yes we did, but it was not that hard to beat us yesterday and you’re still not off the hook.

  14. Comments from Canada, admittedly I only see the games on TV so not the same as live.
    Hennesy has to be in goal of course.
    I would keep Zubar because he is one of the few players who looks comfortable on the ball. (pity we did not hold onto Mancienne we could do with him in midfield) Paddy you speculate playing him on the wing, but he is a better player coming onto the ball, rather than with his back to the opposition & needing to turn. But needs Foley in front of him to take over defensively when needed. Foley did well in Newcastle game, I rate him.
    Centre backs Stears & Bassong, will be better with Foley in th team.
    LB – only one choice, but was concerned about how many times Ward “telegraphed” his passes.
    Midfield – Foley, would like to see Guediora back althogh watched a Forest game recently & he looked very ordinary (but others are carrying injuries), Davies worth another run out although I do think he made mistakes which led to Blackburn goals. Edwards is a great player, but is he really fit? O’Hara is struggling, have never thought that he could carry the midfield, decent player when fit. Rest him for Milijas. Jarvis of course. Kightly for me also lacks penetration, looked good in first game but has faded. Hunt always tries. Losing Frimpong was a blow. So Foley, Edwards, Davies, Milajas & Jarvis.
    With Fletcher up front. Doyle has done really well for Wolves, holds the ball up well, but unless we can paly 2 up front, Fletcher is the greater goal threat.
    We have some really promising younger players, I am not as familiar with them. Doherty, Forde, Batth, stand out for me, also Hemmings & Mendez-Laing, would like comments on our youngsters. If we go down we will need them.
    Paddy thanks for the blog enjoy your comments.

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