Will Paddy be back?

•February 18, 2013 • 5 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.


(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!



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) 😆 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. 😆 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!



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…



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) 😆

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.



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. 😆

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!   😆


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!


Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Manchester United

•March 23, 2012 • 6 Comments

I really hate this! It’s like it comes true when I write the analysis and ratings down and is still undecided before I do. Silly, I know, after all it’s been days since the game and a new is coming up soon.

No surprise that we lost to the magnificent league leaders, of course. We didn’t have to make it so easy for them though. Zubar didn’t have to slide into a United player soles first twice. Both times the referee got it right.  Why did Zubes do that, I mean it wasn’t like they would have a clear-cut goal opportunity if coming round him?

Ronnie Zubar has not got the pace and the technique for the game he is trying to play. It was obvious when he came through going forward himself aswell. He had no control over his crosses and they sailed wide and far. Maybe if he had some more games in his belt this season, but now he will not have the opportunity to get that this season. A sad story.

Wolves did fight well against the odds the first twenty minutes or so before their first goal. They could have got a couple before that but we went close too. We were still not getting forward with pace vertically, though. Still that balling around at lower midfield without a compass set at their goal area. A surprise to me that TC used Doyle again from start as Kightly really looked fresher when coming on against Fulham and I believe he proved himself as a sub again Saturday. And Kights always have been one of those players with his compass directed at goal. A strength of his for sure.

Otherwise it was the left side of our forward going play that functioned as usual. Ward and Jarvo knows each others moves inside out. A big loss was of course that Davis had to leave stretching some muscle in his abdomen as it looked on field. I haven’t visited the official site to find out the last couple of days, I must confess. Too fed up.

The defence and defending set pieces. As usual. Were we this bad at it last season or the season before? I don’t recall that. So we’re going backwards when it comes to defending. Why? There seem to be no player taking charge over the defending on set pieces or no one at all ever really. No strong, experienced man in the team that the others listen to and who knows how to set up a defence. It’s not enough if TC tells them before the game and at half-time and they train it in the week before. There’s got to be someone out there, adjusting play to circumstances. A strong wise voice. A leader. It is as McCarthy didn’t want to share power by employing such a player and we suffer from that and I believe we always have the last five years or so. Maybe he saw Johnson as such a man, but he doesn’t seem to have that kind of authority, not wise enough and with enough knowledge.

Perhaps Craddock would make a difference in defence. And remember he is good at scoring aswell, but with only one game played in the league this season he sure is a long shot. So we’re in deep trouble both in defence and in the inner midfield. At least we cannot sink deeper tha our current bottom placeing in the league and looking at play it is well deserved. Depressing!

The mini-league still lives, or does it? Blackburn looks to be on secure ground soon after two back-to-back victories and QPR can make a Houdini escape despite having a difficult run-in. And then we will be three and it will be decided. Noooo! There must be a way to escape this, but it will not be easy and most of the players have to hit form and find a way to play together with guts and efficiency. After Darkness…

About the ratings. The game got distorted after the sending off and it’s really hard to give the players fair ratings when they play with ten men. You might say that I give too high ratings in general, but I rate the individual players here, not the final result or how Wolves stood up against United as a ten man team.

Hennessey – 5 – Seems to have lost his magic and looks nervous at times. Doesn’t command his area like he still did a couple of games ago. Even the kick-outs sometimes fails, but with the defending by his  peers out in the field any goalie would get nervy.

Zubar – 2 – Disgusting! Came through a couple of times on his flank, but when crossing everything went terribly wrong. At defending he was a security risk with bad timing as long as he was on. TC should have gone with Foley from start, as I expected after Zubars game against Fulham. I’m still behind TC, but he got to show what he’s got in his pocket and brains now or I will accuse him of not being any better than his predecessor, as many other fans do already. Time flies and I’m afraid neither TC nor Zubar does so far.

Stearman – 5 – Managed to stop attacks on many occasions but also looked slow, clumsy and misplaced many times against fast running opponents. Is Johnson a better choice? Or Craddock? We will soon find out, but I’m not too convinced about that. Feel free to surprise me!

Bassong – 4 – Thought he was a class player when we signed him on loan from Tottenham. Now I would prefer Berra.

Ward – 6 – Not good enough at defending and together with Bassong he did not accomplish his task at defending his side of the pitch well at all. His rating goes up by his excellent job going forward, though, and he always fights and gives everything for the team. He is the right man to hold the captains badge at the moment and I will give him the little star, because there frankly were very few players to choose among in this game.

Davis – 5 – Did an ok job until injured, but his weaknesses defending the back four against the fast United players were more obvious in this game than the previous. We need hm back in shape, though. Good at tackling and wins more balls in midfield than any other in the team. Close to a six.

Jonsson – 6 – Came on for Davis and did remarkably well. I had no high thoughts about his abilities before, but perhaps I have misjudged the Iceland International. Missed only one pass all game and actually went forward and created a chance. Actually prefered him to Edwards in this game. Maybe he can play a role already this season.

Foley – 6 – Showed that he was a better choice than Zubar on right back and did a better job in the middle than last game. A loss to the inner midfield when he had to move to right back after Zubar saw red and there were not a chance that we would catch up after that. I awaited more goals in the back and they came until United decided to concentrate on all being behind the ball and defending the clean sheet.

Edwards -5 – He blows hot and cold. I’m not sure he is the kind of player Wolves need on inner midfield, but he battles hard and runs like a dog and we hadn’t many to choose from in this game. Hard to rate as the inner midfield suffered the hardest after the red card on Zubar.

Doyle – 5 – Uncomfortable on the wing, would maybe have been a choice if we play a 4-3-3, but with the team being pressed back by United he didn’t fit in at all. He always get chances at the start of each game and then he disappears somewhere. Why? Is he a show-off without guts or just easy to read? Too many bad games this season to be starting. The players that TC has shown more confidence in than McCarthy did has not repaid him by performing well enough. Sad.

Jarvis – 7 – The only player in the team to play up to his abilities in game after game.  Shows great character and morals to perform under these difficult circumstances. With the constant backing and support of Ward he goes forward but as the others are not of the same high quality they can’t make his gifts into goals so at the end it all comes to nothing. Sad, but Matt is not to blame for it and he of course gets Paddytheflea’s Big Star.

Kightly – 6 – Came on for Doyler with only 33 minutes left to play but showed a drive going forward despite that all was lost by then. Should play from start now and Doyle should be the one to come on from the bench. Gets my smiley and I expect him to be a star player against Norwich. Time to show what you really can do and offer us fans hope now, Kightly!

Fletcher – 5 – It’s so easy for a team to defend against only one danger-man, but despite that Fletcher got a couple of chances and he should have scored on at least one of them. It’s not easy for him and he of course suffered too with only ten on the pitch. Hope he haven’t lost his scoring-ability, though, we will need it. Very soon!


Probable Team Lineups: Wolves v Manchester United

•March 16, 2012 • 4 Comments

Manchester United has no weaknesses, says our manager Terry Connor, but how come  they get beaten twice by a middle of the league team like Athletic Bilbao, then? When reading about the Basque team, ran by former Argentina and Chile coach Bielsa, I noticed this statement from him:

“Our simple ethos is this: we try and win the ball back as quickly as possible from our opponents as far up the field as we can, and by that I mean everyone is involved in regaining the ball, from the forwards through to anyone else. Then once we have the ball, we try and find a way of getting forward as quickly as possible, in a vertical direction if you like.”

Simple as that! It didn’t look simple last night when I saw them play against United, though. They were a very technical bunch, from their forwards down to their excellent right back. Wolves cannot match their technical skills, but we sure can use the same tactics as Bielsa so eloquent and succesful used to win against Manchester United both at home and away.

The frequent reader of this blog knows that the tactics Bilbao used is exactly the one I’ve proposed again and again that Wolves must apply to gain success. Especially against the better teams in the league, which are most of them seen from our at present in the gutter perspective. There has been no TC-effect yet, if not counting the draw against Newcastle, and it’s time for an upset and a three-pointer to lift us up in our spirits aswell as in our mini-league.


1. Blackburn FC 28 – 20 25
2. Bolton Wanderers FC 28 – 26 23
3. Queens Park Rangers FC 28 – 19 22
4. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 28 – 28 22
5. Wigan FC 28 – 29 21

I hope that the squad of Wolves watched the Athletic Bilbao-United game and now are convinced that it is fully possible to slay the giant and how to go about it. The Manchester team will still be affected, not only in their minds by the loss, but also in their bodies as it will be only two days and three nights of rest for them before they visit us. Let’s give them a warm welcome. Out of the Spanish paella pan and into the fire of The Black Country!

Karl Henry will probably, as a precaution, rest for another week before he will try his wings (?) again in the team. Maybe he will try to play for half an hour or so from the bench. That would suit our young midfielder well to be able to go out after an hour in the high tempo that United probably will  set up in this game. When I looked at Davis play last weekend I believe he comes closer to a vertical game a la Bilbao than Henry anyway.

Manchester United have a doubt about Jones as he has the flu and Rooney is said to have had a knock against Bilbao, but otherwise they have a very fine squad to choose among and Sir Alex Ferguson is usually very good at picking the ones most up for it for the day and Wolves will meet a team steaming with revenge from the Basque adventure that went wrong. They will no doubt play 4-4-2 against us and not the 4-5-1 that they  tried to stop Bilbao with.

Will we mirror that? I doubt it. We don’t have the strength to meet them on equal terms formation-wise and  we should be better off playing 4-5-1, but still trying to catch them high up and press forward.

Before I line up the probable starting lines, what is the probable result. All but defeat is of course good for Wolves, but there’s nothing at all that points to any points gained for Wolves in this game. To hope for is that we can hold the numbers down, that’s all. 0-2 is a probable and secure result for United, though Wolves will not of course go down without a fight.



P.S. Just as I finished the line-up below there are reports from TC that both O’Hara and Milijas are doubts. We can count on Hunt to replace one of them, but what about the other if not able to play? It will probably be a surprise start for Eggert or to play Foley in an inner midfield role. It sure is a substantial weakening of the team if both of them are out anyway. D.S.

Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Blackburn

•March 11, 2012 • 16 Comments

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.


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!)