Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Manchester City
It is good to be alive. It is good to be a supporter of Wolves. It is good to have fooled the betting company of some of their funds. 😆
And I can thank Wolverhampton Wanderers for everything (well, my mother and father claim they have something to do with me being alive, I’ve been told) 😆
Everything has probably been said by others by know, but I really want to express my feelings and impressions of the game tonight. This night when we all got what we have waited for so very long; A Victory.
But we didn’t get it out of luck or because Manchester City played bad or did an awful lot of mistakes. We came out victorious because we were the better team for the day. Deservedly.
The pace and quality of the City team shocked both the seated and the Wolves team at start, or so it seemed. The five or so first minutes was a pain in my brain and I thought that – well – we will be at least a goal behind very soon.
But when that didn’t happen the Wolves team managed to get a grip on themselves, the play and The Blues and they leveled play up.
Actually – when City got that shitty penalty – it was rather unexpected as Wolves was the team that had most of possession by then. But after that goal there were a lot of negative thoughts in my head and I can’t figure out just how the Wolves players could keep them out of theirs.
They didn’t just win the match, they came out as winners of the psychological fight as well. They must all possess the mental strength and the team spirit of giants to go on despite this early blow. I’m impressed and amazed.
But we spectators – without that strength in our minds – didn’t have to suffer that long, thanks to – not higher beings but the force of the Wolves team and especially then – Nenad Milijas.
It came as a surprise to me that Milijas was starting along with Edwards and Hunt on the midfield. But a very nice one at that, as I knew that they could give something else to the team. The creativity I wrote so much about last season, if you remember.
With Hunt and Jarvis on the wings and Edwards and Milijas taking turns at thrusting forward we had a balanced midfield for the first time this season. That – I believe – was one of the reasons Wolves came out as winners tonight. And – of course – let’s not forget the returning member of the quintet – Captain Carl Henry – bringing stability, hard work and a fighting spirit that made us win the midfield.
Mick McCarthy picked the right team and they proved it to us all. Mancini opted for two players up front and a diamond formation in the middle. By that he weakened City not only in the middle – with a Wolves team that outnumbered them – but also against attacks from the wings. Exactly the weapon we now have available and fully armed. McCarthy surprised Mancini just like our players with humble background surprised the multi-millionaires in blue.
And the Wolves team didn’t stop. They kept up the play – building it up from the back as they have done in the last games – and only on occasion loaned out the ball to them. And when they did they pressed the holder of the ball and marked the other City players runway giving them no place to go – pressing them to make mistakes. And as a consequence they did!
The second goal did not come as a surprise at all, but surely as a relief. Edwards had been close before in hitting the post of his old friend, former room-mate and English international Joe Hart. Or perhaps he just politely knocked on the door?
Anyway. A couple of minutes later he stepped in. Foley crossed from the right and the ball arrived to Doyler, whose shot was blocked, but it went out to Dave Edwards in perfect position to slot it in the right corner of the goal. Still friends, Hart?
The thing is that everybody really did their part. And there were some lovely football played on Molineux. Perhaps the best for decades. I’ll bet some people cried afterwards. And when I read on the Official site part of what McCarthy said after the game I was close to tears.
“If people know me it’s all about sticking together. You’re either inside the tent doing it out or you are outside the tent doing it in!”
“We stick to it and fight the cause for each other. If you believe in each other and fight and scrap for each other you’ve a chance of getting results. If you become fragmented then you’re history. The players have all those battling qualities and will put their bodies on the line but they can play as well. I’d like that to be appreciated as well.“
He is a philosopher aswell – apart from his other qualities – our good manager. Isn’t it time to put all doubters to bed know and acknowledge Mick McCarthy as a great leader and manager – perhaps the best manager in Britain – at least when it comes to man-management, which is a very big part of managing a football team of today?!
Anyway. Wolves managed to battle it out and keep the lead, despite Manchester City pressing forward in the last minutes of the game. The lads in old gold and black had the mental strength not to look back at previous games and get nervous. No, instead they mobilised the last power in their bodies and minds and sorted it out. And what a relief when the referee signalled end of game. Wonderful!
Deliberately I’ve not ‘talked’ so much about the individual players performances so far. That comes now. The ratings. But I want you to bear in mind that each and every one of them did their part this day. Everyone of them!
Hahnemann – 6 – Actually he was one of our weakest for the night. Did some aerial mistakes that could have cost us both one and two goals. But the main thing is that he sorted it out in the end and got control.
Foley – 8 – Getting used to him playing at this level now, but non the less he does a fantastic job and takes a great deal of responsibility in the team. Had much ball and passed it well.
Stearman – 7 – Maybe a surprise to some that I rate him so high, despite his tackle being the cause of the City penalty. But it was not easy to avoid that. It was Silva who did a smart thing when he stopped running, just waiting for Stears to slide into him. But after that – and especially in the second half – he was excellent.
Berra – 7 – He had a hard time trying to stop Adebayor, but did it well most of the time. He was also better in the second half than in the first. I think he is hitting form now, getting better by the game.
Ward – 7 – His best game for some time. Allthough he didn’t have as much to do as in the previous games. Did well playing on the wing as well.
Henry – 7 – Had perhaps expected an encounter with De Jong, but didn’t have to go through that as he was injured in training. Was the holding midfielder and that is his best role. Held it all together and did more than his part.
Milijas – 9 – His goal renders him an extra point. He was excellent against United. Now he was fantastic! Nobody passed the ball as many times as he did and nobody tackled as much and well (4 – all won). Against United he took the Henry role, now he took Jones role. What has happened to him?
I mean – we all now how sensitive his left foot is and that he is creative and can make very good passes, free-kicks, shots etc. – but now it all comes together and he is working hard at a good pace aswell. Has he quit smoking? 😆 In great competition he is Paddytheflea’s Man Of The Match!
Jarvis – 9 – He was the man who started the march forward when we seemed to have lost the game already in the first minutes of the game. He was excellent in the first half and his crosses are getting better and better. I believe he has been the best winger in the Premier League for some weeks now. But he must have run out of steam a bit in the second half. But he still was a threat and demanded the opposition to allocate two men to guard him every time he moved forward. Jarvis for England!
Edwards – 8 – He did it! After the United game I wrote on his rating: “But he’s got to better his play and score on his chances if he wants to stay among the starting eleven and get higher points from me“.
Well, what do you know. He did listen to the little flea. 😆 Against United he was better than against West Ham and now he – as a couple of others – has proved to me that he can cut it at this level not only for now , but in the long run. It is a lesson to some of the fans that you have to give players time when they come back after injury. It’s not easy to play in the best league in the world.
And if you score two next weekend, you will get one of those moving stars above, Dave! 😆
Hunt – 7 – Didn’t believe he would play today, after getting totally exhausted after the United game. But – as I wrote before – he is a fighter and that showed on the pitch today. He switched with Jarvis on a couple of times and worked well. But just like with Edwards we have to give him time to recover and find his pace. In a couple of games he will bring us much luck. Believe me!
Doyle – 7 – Pondered of giving him only a six, but that wouldn’t be fair as he brings so much to the play and is so important to the team, despite not reaching the level we know he can play on. The level that implies getting round or through the defences and score. He also missed some important passes, but defended well and has a fantastic work capacity.
As usual. Links to highlights in the right margin.