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.

~ by paddytheflea on October 31, 2010.

18 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Manchester City”

  1. Well done Wolves. Good honest football. I am ashamed at my so called ‘team’. Something is seriously wrong at Eastlands and it’s only a matter of time before the axe will fall (yet again) on a weak managerial regime. What upsets me most is that all I ever want, is to watch a team to be proud of. No disrespect to Wolves, but City did not even show up today. And that is simply not acceptable. Gareth Barry et. al. make me sick. Well done again, and I hope you avoid the drop — you deserve to grace the Premiership.

    • Thank you, Jimbo!
      Many shortsited fans forget how hard you have suffered for many years – just like us – in lower leagues before you hit gold. But it takes years to build a good team, regardless of money. It’s about sticking together, as McCarthy puts it. Seven of our starting eleven yesterday have been with us since the Championship days and only Hunt of our six summer signings started. That says something about team building as a slow process.

  2. Paddy, how about the subs? Just wandering how they faired yesterday

    • The only sub I could say something about is Elokobi, the others played to short a time.
      Elokobi did well, but ran into troubles when that Johnson fellow came on. He was very fast and Elokobi had great difficulties handling him, even if he managed to stop him on a couple of ocassions.

      The City boards say that Mancini should have gone for Johnson from start, but if you look at the stats of Milner he was very useful defending from the middle. Therefore opting for Johnson in the anyway very defenseless City formation. 😆 could have meant more goals for Wolves (which I would not have minded at all) 😆

      But Elokobi was O-K, but he has showed before that he tend to struggle against the best of the PL wingers. But who doesn’t? Nobody can defend against Jarvis, for instance. 😆

  3. Sorry great result,great performance but all this stuff about Milajas,Edwards,Ward and Henry stepping up etc is rubbish,its down too mainly one thing…451…these players havnt got the quality to play 442 they just get over run and that also puts loads of work on our defence.
    mick mcarthy should play this formation everyweek,even if it can be a bit nagative at times.
    It kept us up last time and hopfully will keep us up this time.
    we need quality to play 442 and we wont or cant afford it.
    Dont get me wrong people like Jarvis have been fantastic and also mick has realised Foley is a right back,little things do help too.
    We will still have bad days but i think if we stick too this system and by system i mean 451 we will survive and that includes against teams like bolton by the way.
    my opinion of course

    • I agree to some extent, mick.
      One of the reasons we did win yesterday was that City played with one player less than us on the midfield.
      But usually the big clubs get away with that against the teams struggling in the league, but not yesterday.
      We could get away with 4-4-2 aswell when we play the teams that also play 4-4-2. We are that good today. The players in Wolves work all over the pitch, that’s also a difference to City and some other teams. And our players know each other in more ways than by name. 😆

      At home against Bolton I think we should play 4-4-2 if they are. We are the better team and should beat them.

  4. Cheers! Great day and maybe a turning point in Wolves history 2010

    • Let’s hope so. And don’t lose hope even if we don’t get any points against United and Arsenal, Karlir (?)

  5. Another excellent performance from Wolves. All round team effort with everyone playing for each other and deserving of 3 points. With the team playing this well and confidence high I look forward to them taking on Man Utd on Saturday and getting something out of that game. Edwards suprised me today and I am not a great fan of him but he was excellent. Milijas played well but then the whole team did. Wondered why Dave Jones was not even in the squad?

    • Yes. I was peeking into some City boards yesterday and they are really being bullied by United fans right now. 😆
      But if we can do the same to United people will start to realise that Wolves really are a great footballing side.
      It will be hard, but it’s not undoable with our current team.

      Jones had a hard job against United in the cup when Mancienne didn’t really hold his own in my opinion. Maybe he was still exhausted by that run or maybe he picked up some niggles, I don’t know.

  6. John, the subs were all brought on to put up a defensive shield one we were a goal up. So there job was to defend and in that respect they should all get 7’s or 8’s/ Elokobi I think was the weaker and why he came on for Hunt baffles me. Hunt was still getting back, and was still able to fuel our attacks (perhaps the yellow card forced micks hand i dont know). Elokobi, man mountain he is, is too slow for the premiership, but nevertheless did his job ok.

    Mancienne and Moyokolo cam on later as we’d clearly set upo to defend, and they were outstanding, Mancienne in particular, in fact his last ditch tackle in our box to win a goal kick got applauded as loud as if we had scored.

    Jarvis, Doyle and Milijas – especially Milijas – were all outstanding and this was arguably a stronger team performance than against Chelski and Utd… wonderful – if nailbiting – to watch and netting the right result too.

    I hope Mick recruits a defender or two in the Jan transfer, cos Ward and Stearman, for all their labour, are not Premierhsip defenders either. Adebayor had an off day, and there was some disquiet in the City camp after Kompany’s final warning, so believe me, had they been on form the result might not have been the same.

    nevertheless, a great result and 3 wonderful shiny points, apart from needing one or two at the back, i think our squad is really starting to look the business and Ive thoroughly enjoyed watching our last 3 games.


    • I forgot about that Mancienne tackle, Ad. It was really great stuff.
      But I don’t agree about Elokobi and not about Ward and particulary Stearman either. Of course they are Premier League material. They have shown it very clearly in these games and will show it to us again and again.

      It’s all about teamwork and playing together and McCarthy and the team has proved that. They know where to find one another on the pitch, having played together for years now. Seven of the eleven starting are former Championship players for Wolves and they have grown and learned together.

      The only one playing from start that were signed this summer was Hunt. It takes time to break into the Wolves team and beat the ones playing there now and that brings stability and quality to the team effort. That is how we beat City and will beat many other teams this season and many seasons to come.

  7. We can agree to disagree then! You mention it yourself that they are all from our championship team, Premiership forwards are a lot faster and intelligent and the reason they (Stears, Ward and on quite a number of occasions Berra too) have make huge lunges is they’ve been out thought, or out maneuvered, and are now playing catch up.

    Craddock has an older wiser head and this enables him to be in the right place at the right time, but he is no spring chicken and will probably only have a couple more years at this level, so we do need to be looking at recruiting.

    I will give you that they’ve all had much better performances over the last 3 games, the whole team has excelled actually. All Im saying is that I think we have more talent up fron and in midfield than we do at the back. Our defence is our weak link, and not a single clean sheet all season is a pretty good indication of that.

    • Yes, I can agree to disagree with you, Ad.
      Many of the PL players have played in the Championships, Ad. But they get better, as Stears and Ward and even Craddock has.

      If I had debated with you a couple of weeks ago I would have said that our midfield is the weak spot, but not today. So you may be right about the defence. But that doesn’t mean that I think that the players are not PL material. Everything could get better and I know that the Wolves staff are looking out for new recruits as we speak.

  8. Stearman is doing fine. A great talent. Finally a pacey central defender. Could Zubar do a job as a central defender, now as he has adjusted? I think so. As a right defender he’s an bigger asset than Foley because of his lightning speed. I would really like to see both Foley and Zubar in our first team, as they both are two of our best defensive players. Does somebody know if Foley has featured as a central defender? Maybe Zubar could play as a left back? Any views on the Zubar vs. Foley situation

    • Foley is way to short for that position in my opinion. And why misplace a teriffic right back?

  9. Paddy, Hunt put a great ball down the wing to Foley to start the move for the second goal.And Doyle gave a masterful performance as the sole front man.Have a look on the City sites and the comments on how Doyler gave Kompany such a hard time.I think it needs to be said that Mick’s tactics were spot on.

    • Yes. Stearman started it and passed it to Hunt who passed it to Foles. Great!

      I stil stand by my rating of Doyle, Chris. He has to pass the ball better and get through Kompany to earn himself more than a seven. And I believe that he can and will do better soon. But I agree that the tactics from Mick were perfect. Can’t wait until next weekend!

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