Player Ratings: Wolves vs Stoke City
Sorry about being late to comment on the match, folks. But it was celebration night yesterday! What a start to the season! I’m a believer and I believe in Wolves!
After a slow start Wolves dominated all match long. But we must not forget that Kenwyne Jones was a big threat as long as he was on. After his injury Stoke had no one to hold up the ball and they were sat on their backs.
But Stoke is not a bad side even without Jones. It took guts and skill to pressure them the way Wolves did for long periods of the game. I believe the key to this was our midfield. They were fantastic both in their support of the strikers and the back four.
I picked the right eleven that started and I believe McCarthy did that aswell. But he used Van Damme on the left wing instead of as a left back. He did well there against Bilbao and he did it again against Stoke.
The other new kid on the block – striker Steven Fletcher – did a good match aswell. Always on the move and keeping the Stoke defence occupied.
But let’s do the ratings now. But first I’ve got to say that all who started yesterday did a good game. And the tactics applied by McCarthy was spot on.
Marcus Hahnemann – 8 – Didn’t have that much to do in terms of savings. But he was very active in the air and the area. Looked very fit and ready for the season to come. Hennessey will have a hard time trying to take the number one shirt away from him.
Kevin Foley – 7 – Back on his – and mine – preferred position at the right back. I think the time as a midfielder has made him better at going forward and he has now turned out as a fully fledged modern, wing running back. And he gifted the team with the free that resulted when he was fouled before entering the Stoke penalty area. The same thing can be said about Zubar as with Hennessey. He will not get into the first eleven when Foley playing like this.
Jody Craddock – 8 – Made no mistakes. Got some stick from Stoke supporters for fouling Kenwyne Jones, but he was first on the ball and it was clearly an accident. It’s good to know that Craddock is in the same form as last season and with Mouyo waiting on the bench he knows he got to be at his best to start.
Chris Berra – 7 – Had a hard time trying to stop Jones the first ten, but had no real problems with the other Stoke forwards. And Fuller is no Teddy Bear, mind you. I want to see Berra as he was in the last games of last season and he seem not to be there just yet.
Stephen Ward – 7 – He always has a die hard attitude and gives his all. This season he seem to have upped his play a notch. Both as a defender and an attacker. He is very fit and athletic and like Foley he works like hell and knows where to be on the pitch. If he can stay injury free for the rest of this season he could be very useful to Wolves.
Matt Jarvis – 8 – Our little engine going forward did well as usual. Jarvis has been our most consistent player in our Premier League adventure (and long may it continue) and one starts to wonder if McCarthy winds him up with some contraction on his back before every game. 😆 It seems that he gets more chances to score when playing at the right wing.
Karl Henry – 8 – Our big engine, and he was firing on all four – or is it eight? – this time. Together with Jones he owned the inner midfield and could plan the attacks and ruin Stoke’s build up play.
David Jones – 9 – We all watched his fantastic technique when he took the free-kick. An act that sent the Molineux crowd up in the air howling uncontrollably (watch the video by CovWolf below!). But that was just the sherry on top of the Balti Pie. His overall play all over the pitch was fantastic. Nobody ran as much as Jones yesterday, I can assure you. He is Paddytheflea’s Man Of The Match!
Jelle Van Damme – 8 – We signed a left back and got a winger? No, of course not. Van Damme is a modern defender that runs the lines. Wolves are still a team that must defend firsthand and can’t really afford that type of a back play yet. Especially when we have a better choice with Ward. But I believe we will get there eventually and that Van Damme will be a very good choice as a left back aswell.
Ebanks-Blake – 7 – He seem to really enjoy himself playing together with Steven Fletcher. He works much better and harder outside of the area and looks fitter than last season. But he must score soon to keep his place in front of Doyler.
Steven Fletcher – 8 – I can see now why McCarthy asked Morgan and Moxey to splash the cash to sign this fella. He puts a shift in at the same time as he knows what he is doing. Hard work and excellence in skills. And at the right place at the right time, shown by his goal. Got a slight injury and had to go off, but it’s nothing serious, says Mick.
Andy Keogh – 6 – Came on for Fletcher and played for about 40 minutes. I’m usually a big fan of his but yesterday he was not showing anything, really. Missed a lot of passes and could not hold the ball up. But when Keogh is in form he still will be able to do a job at Wolves. Or is he moving on?
And let me just add a little something about the way Chelsea welcomed WBA back to the Premier League – couldn’t have done it any better myself. 😆
(Highlights with all goals now available among the links in the right margin as usual)