Analysis and ratings: Wolves v West Ham
Promised to be back with ratings of the players against West Ham and after watching two re-runs of the game I believe I’m ready to make an informed statement.
It was – at least partly – a game of two halves. In the first half – or until West Ham got their (wrongly rewarded, I insist!) penalty – Wolves dominated both in possession and chances.
In the second half of the game the Hammers managed to come back and they had slightly more chances and possession than Wolves.
Wolves executed an excellent press on the ball holders in the first half, and immediately when they grabbed possession they ran forward – while looking for options to pass. In other words – they were in their faces and turned the play very fast and their passing were very accurate.
When Jarvis got the leading goal they did not stop attacking or their press. Actually – after half an hour played – they tried even harder to get a second by pushing up with Berra and Stearman when they got a foothold on the Hammer side of the pitch. Excellent play!
What was lacking then? Well, luck of course, but as I said earlier a killer instinct, a striker mentality and precision among the players.
Maybe that’s not what to be expected of every midfielder and defender, but forwards like Doyle should be more successful with the amount of chances he had in this game. For example I counted to three chances of breaking through the Hammers defence just before their equaliser that he should have dealt better with.
Much of the elite sports games of today are between equally skilled teams. A goal in football boosts the confidence of a team with an immediate effect clearly visible for the spectators. This psychological effect could be seen in the behaviour of the West Ham players after their goal.
They played with much more confidence and managed to hold the ball up and pass it better than in the first half. Their play also became faster and they ran better in the deep, causing the Wolves team to stretch out.
I believe that some of our midfielders lost some steam in the second half aswell. Maybe partly due to the equaliser by the Hammers or just because they had run a lot in the first half, chasing and going forward.
That resulted in the midfield sometimes being overplayed and sometimes remaining to deep with too much space to cover getting forward when gaining possession of the ball and giving their opponents better chances to take the lead when sitting in the knee of the defence.
Fortunately that didn’t happen this time, though, but West Ham had a couple of good chances. But if we look at the match as a whole Wolves were the better team and deserved three points.
Let’s then go to the individual ratings:
Hahnemann – 7 – Did no errors, but didn’t have that much to do. Good precision in the kick-outs as usual and spread his cool among the players The penalty was not impossible to save, but he had a 50-50 chance to choose the right side and lost.
Foley – 7 – Some say he was clumsy to cause the penalty, but I don’t agree. After watching the incident several times in real time and slow motion I come to the conclusion that he did nothing wrong. In other respects he was very reliable in defence and he was one of the best in going forward when getting possession. Together with his work rate he is one of the best players in Wolves in this game and the season so far.
Stearman – 8 – He did a fantastic display after coming on for the injured Craddock early on. He was where he should be when the Hammers attacked and everywhere else – even close to grab a goal. Only very good goaltending by Green hindered him. Very close of becoming the Man Of The Match in my opinion. Craddock couldn’t have done it better!
Berra – 6 – He still has troubles with his timing, but did a little better than in the previous games. But I still have him down for three mistakes that could have resulted in West Ham getting passed him and score.
Ward – 7 – One of few who was better in the second half than the first – maybe the only one. An extra point for his work going forward and the cross to set Jarvis up for the goal.
Mancienne – 7 – Playing as a holding midfielder is his cup of tea and with Henry out he is essential for the security. He is also fast at turning play around when he breaks and gets possession. He went forward many times – a testimony of a weak West Ham team.
Fletcher – 6 – Played mostly on the right side, but had a more free role than an out and out winger. And on at least one occasions he changed sides with Jarvis. But I don’t believe this is the right position for Fletcher. He is not good enough in defensive play for the midfield and he does not get enough opportunities to score in this position. Unfortunately Van Damme looked ‘out of sync’ when he came on for him five minutes or so after the hour.
Edwards – 6 – It’s funny when I look at the game and try to pin each and every players contribution, one of the midfielders always are lacking points from me at the end. Usually for me that one is Henry. This time it’s Edwards. But when I look at other stats I find that Edwards did just fine. As Henry, he contributes with very good play when cutting out opportunities for the opponents to start attacks. And he had a couple of chances to score aswell. I believe he will get even better.
Jones – 7 – One of the very best on the pitch in the first half and the engine behind Wolves getting forward and creating chances. But he didn’t last the distance – partly because the West Ham midfield was fired up because of their equaliser, but I’m sure his batteries were down on the red aswell (see above). It showed by less precision in the passes. Together with Foley and Ward he was the hardest worker on the pitch.
Jarvis – 8 – After the first re-run I watched I gave him a seven, but that’s not good enough! Like most others he didn’t have as much ball in the second half, but his contribution in the first half was excellent. And he delivered some very good crosses in aswell, something that uses to be his weakest point. Against West Ham he was a constant threat going forward and as usual he even does a good job in defending. One more player with his caliber going forward and Wolves would win many more games. Jarvis is Paddytheflea’s Man Of The Match!
Doyle – 6 – I’m still waiting for Doyle to get to the the form he was in last season. The lack of precision and timing in handling the ball when going forward is obvious, but it takes so little getting it right and reaching the ‘flow’ that able him to get passed the last defender and score. I pray that he will reach that level again, because that is a must if Wolves will still be in the Premier League come next summer.
(Link to highlights in the right margin as usual)