Player Ratings and Analysis: Tottenham v Wolves (video)
One could say that Wolves lost because of individual errors in the match against Champions League team Tottenham Hotspur.
One could also say that the Spurs manager Harry Redknapp coached his team to a victory by a clever use of substitutions.
A third way of explaining the final result is to look at the injury of our greatest threat to Spurs in going forward – winger Matt Jarvis – as a decisive moment in the game.
I believe that all three of the above factors had something to do with the result. Wolves started the game very well. The first 25 minutes or so we stood up to the CL-team and had much more ball than last season in the same game.
Then Spurs had a few chances with crosses searching Crouch, but our central defenders – both Craddock and Stearman – did a very good job at fending them off and marking the big man, and when they missed out on it Hahnemann was the wall between the posts that we all have gotten used to from last season.
On a counter-attack in the last minute of the first half Foley and Jones with a nice one-two got passed their left back and Foley managed to find Steven Fletcher between their central defenders with a low cross. He made no mistake with punching the ball past Cudicini. A beautiful goal! (see video below)
At half time Spurs made a change taking on Hutton for Kaboul. That proved to be a smart move by Mr Redknapp. Kaboul had played very well defensively, but didn’t help his team much in going forward.
Wolves started the second half as they started the first – standing up to Tottenham and passing the ball very well between themselves.
But after a few minutes gone first Fletcher – who now had moved more to the left wing – and then Jarvis got a knock. I guess that the original plan by McCarthy was to only bring on Van Damme for Fletch, but now he had to substitute Jarvis as well – with Edwards.
With Jarvis out, our possibility to threaten the Spurs defence and hold the ball up vanished. But at first wolves looked to defend very well all over the pitch and Spurs found no way to get forward.
But Hutton was very lively on his right wing and as there were close to no threat of Wolves going forward he could concentrate on advancing. And he did.
And having fresher legs than Van Damme and Ward he managed to press forward into the edge of the penalty area, where Ward made an individual error and fouled him instead of just following him and close him out. Probably his error was due to both tired legs and head. (see clip below)
Van der Vaart did of course no mistake taking the penalty and Tottenham got their equaliser with fifteen minutes left.
Both teams seemed to get energized by the goal and the standings after that. Wolves pushed forward to regain the lead and Spurs also tried a couple of attacks.
When Wolves actually looked to have a hold on the game and pressed Spurs with a corner and a couple of throw-ins to the area Ward – as next to a last outpost in the team – missed a pass and Spurs could launch a counter-attack.
Just when the Wolves defence looked assembled again in the Wolves area, the ball took a deflection and Pavluychenko was at the right place in the right time and could easily give Tottenham the lead. This was in the 87th minute and each and every Wolves supporter had a drooping mouth. (see clip below, not of drooping mouths, idiot!)
Wolves tried to come back after that blow, but Spurs played safe and could hold the ball in the team a little too easy. But the Wolves agony was not to be over yet.
In the 92nd minute Hutton – who else? – ran forward against Hahnemann, chasing a ball together with Stearman. The central defender had been excellent fending off Spurs attacks all through the game, but although first to the ball he hesitated about kicking the ball to Hahnemann and Hutton could kick it instead – making it deflecting on Hahnemann and into the back of the net. Why? (see clip below)
I actually have the answer to that. Stearman wanted Hahnemann to grab the ball without him kicking it so that USA could make a fast kick-out giving Wolves a chance to attack and possibly gain an equaliser. But that’s just an explanation of course. It was a big misjudgment by Stears and the end of the game.
Instead of occupying fourth position in the tables – if we had managed to hold on to the lead – we now find Wolves on 15th. But as a team we are playing very well – better than last season – and I have no doubt that Wolves has the strength to advance and take points – even against the best teams in this league.
To the ratings:
He was outstanding in Wolves for the day and seem to be back in top shape after a little dip in the beginning of the season.
Marcus Hahnemann is Paddythefleas Man Of The Match!
Foley – 7 – Had of course a handful with Spurs prolific and pacy winger Bale. But he managed to close him up better than could be expected with a good sense of positioning. Made a couple of mistakes in the first half, though. But the foreplay to the goal renders him an extra point.
Craddock – 7 – Despite his normal height he uses his physique and good sense of positioning excellently to take down all opposition coming in his way. It looks like we can look forward to another season of Jody magic in leading by example.
Stearman – 6 – Fitted in just well beside Craddock and took charge over the left middle like he had done nothing but that for years. With two third of the match gone by I said to myself that he has just played Berra to the bench for the season, but then came the error explained above. Without that his play had rendered him a seven.
Ward – 5 – After half an hour he was – together with Jarvis and Hahnemann – our best player. He is better at passing the ball than any other in our back line and he makes fantastic tackles – most of the time. He also cooperates well with the winger – both Jarvis, Fletcher and Van Damme.
But with two match decisive individual errors his actions were – together with a couple of other (see above) – a big reason for Wolves losing all three points in this game. I have drawn off two points from his ratings because of that.
Jarvis – 7 – As always he was a big threat to Spurs going forward. I hope Capello noticed him, watching the match at White Hart Lane. He should probably have had a penalty being brought down in the area. Got a knock early on in the second half which in my opinion made Wolves less dangerous for the Spurs defence and was one of the reasons that we lost the game.
Mancienne – 7 – Helped up the back four and took a great deal of defensive responsibility by tracking down forward moving Spurs players. Passed the ball much better than against Fulham (89%). With a more crowded midfield he performs very well.
Henry – 6 – Much less aggressive in this game than the two preceeding it. If it’s due to the media, orders from Mick or own judgment I don’t know. The most probable answer is that it was not necessary against Spurs, as their inner midfield does not go forward that much.
Jones – 7 – Linked well with Doyle and Van Damme and is our best passer of the ball (89%). He is in my opinion our best offensive midfielder and one of his excellent corners or free-kicks could have made a difference.
Van Damme – 7 – Came on for Jarvis but took the left wing. McCarthy told the media in the week that he was in special training to gain strength to play for the ninety. Now he played only for forty, but energized the team when coming on. Very much involved in such a short time. I like to see him perform the whole game next.
Edwards – 5 – Came on for Fletcher, but took the right wing. Played four minutes less than Van Damme, but were very much less involved. Maybe he need to play in the Reserves or at least in the League Cup game coming up against Notts County, to gain match fitness.
Doyle – 6 – Always very much involved in play and yesterday maybe more than usual. Played almost a similar role to Jones from start – high up the (right) midfield rather than as a striker. I believe Hahnemann reached him with his kick-outs six times during the game and he is excellent at taking control of the ball, but usually with his back to the goal. Had a shot at goal in the first half, but it was blocked. As a midfielder he was a seven, but as a striker a five.
Fletcher – 6 – Not much involved in play, being the most forwarded player in Wolves in the first half. But it paid off with a fantastic goal and he showed that he is a sniper, capable of penetrating a Champions League defence.
Took a more laid back role in the second half – playing mostly on the left wing – before getting a knock and being substituted. The well taken goal rendered him an extra point.
Ooh what a long article. I hope someone takes the time to read it – and I love comments! 😆
And here’s a link to a video with the Highlights I’ve found somewhere.
Vodpod videos no longer available.