Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Arsenal FC

I did have some hopes and dreams of getting something from this game, I admit, but they were very quickly put out by harsh reality.

The decisive moment of the game came already before everybody was seated. Thirty-eight seconds into the game they attacked on our left and managed to get the perfect cross in to reach the head of their lone striker who headed the ball out of reach for our keeper. Simple as that. Clean.

That set the tone for the rest of the game, with Wolves chasing the equaliser and Arsenal having the advantage of being ahead could concentrate on catching us with counter attacks, which they did early on.

We could have been more than one goal down after half an hour. Arsenal had two more clear-cut chances to score, but partly by luck and lack of skills by the Arsenal forwards and partly because of the skills of our American keeper Marcus Hahnemann we managed to hold the numbers down.

And after that half an hour Wolves started to get into the game and we played very well. Like in previous games we did hold the ball amongst ourselves, the passing of the ball getting better and better. Perhaps because of a little slower pace in the game. Perhaps because the Arsenal team couldn’t hold up the furious tempo they had started the game in.

Because of Wolves coming into the game and being able to hold on to the ball the chances started to come our way. On the half our mark Milijas passed the ball to Doyle, who was perfectly positioned between the Arsenal central defenders.

The easiest way to go for Doyle would have been to continue straight ahead, but he looked to go to the right instead. Why oh why? Doyle was one of our best yesterday, as almost always, but he lacks that killer instinct to take the straight way to goal when getting the ball in a position like that. Saddening.

After tea time Wolves continued to play well and pressure Arsenal. Now without giving the visitors many chances to counter attack. That is not easy against a team like Arsenal. Yes, they attacked a couple of times, but they did not have the same edge to the attacks as in the first part of the first half.

Just before an hour gone Wolves had their best period of the game with a number of chances to equalise. Milijas gave Doyle a chance again and Stearman went very close of scoring and Foley also had a big chance.

That was also a decisive moment of the game. If we had managed to get the ball in the net in any of those chances we could have taken something out of the game for sure, but it was not to happen. Partly because of good defending by Arsenal, partly because of the lack of killer instinct among the Wolves team and partly because of bad luck, really.

The third decisive moment came when Berra had a fantastic shot on goal and the Arsenal keeper Fabianski – who probably played the best match of his life – stretched out in all his length and made a one hand save.

While Berra lay flat on the ground just outside their area – cursing and hammering the Molineux ground with his fists in agony – the Arsenal team counter-attacked and with Hunt and Henry only almost making it back in time to defend it was an easy job for them to score.

But that was in the fourth minute of extra time and Wolves had already realised that all their opportunities to get something out of the game were gone. And perhaps the chance was gone long before that, perhaps already after thirty-eight seconds of the game.

But I’m glad that the Wolves players didn’t think like that there and then. They played on after the cold shower in the beginning of the game and did it well in yet another game against very good competition – and that honours them.

To the ratings of individual players. But don’t forget that it is a team sport and that individual players not playing well in a single game can be caused by the formation, tactics or other players not performing.

Hahnemann – 8 – Good to have when the wind blows hard. And it did in the first part of the game. He knows how to make himself look big when the forwards are coming at him all by themselves. Good distribution aswell.

Foley – 6 – Didn’t see that much of him in the first half. I believe it was because Wolves didn’t use him as a delivery-boy of the ball going forward. Hahnemann kicked it out more in this game. But in the second half he was more active and also had a chance to score.

Stearman – 5 – Voi, voi. He made two major mistakes and Arsenal benefitted from them by scoring from one and almost scoring on the second. From hero to zero in a game, really. Was it the Arsenal tempo he couldn’t cope with? I believe so. He has still much to learn, and I believe he can and will.

Berra- 7 – With his central defender companion having a bad game, Berra had one of his better, really. Especially in the second half when he both did some good defending and had our best chance in the game to score.

Ward – 5 – I don’t believe that he is to blame for the Arsenal goal and actually the problem with our weak left flank had been addressed and solved and it was evident that Ward, Berra, Mancienne and Jarvis/Hunt took a joint responsibility to strengthen that part of the pitch. But at the same time I believe that we need to look for a left back in the January transfer window. I’m not sure this is the right position for Ward.

Henry – 7 – Saved us from a goal in the back by clearing off the line. An extra point for that. Should have done better on a chance to score from a bad angle. Secure passes as always.

Mancienne – 5 – Looked like Bambi on thin ice on a couple of occasions and lost the ball a couple of times. I’m not sure if he is the best player to start with. Where is Jones?

Hunt – 6 – Came on for injured Edwards early on. Didn’t start well, but got a little better as the favour started to turn to Wolves. A little better passing in this game, but he still seem to have a bit to go to form. But the full-backs of Arsenal were very good.

Milijas – 8 – Played a bit further up the pitch in this match and it suited him well. But the Arsenal players were very much at him, trying to disturb his play. Had five scoring attempts but sadly only one on target.

Nonetheless he was the spider in the web for Wolves going forward and he could have assisted to a couple of Wolves goals if the receivers at the other end had done better. It was certainly nothing wrong with his distribution. Nenad Milijas is Paddytheflea’s Man Of The Match!

Jarvis – 7 – The word is out about his excellent play now and they are doubling up to stop him from getting through. Clichy and Sagna were very good last night and they are very experienced in what they do. That left Jarvis with less chances than in the latest games, but he remained a threat when in possession.

Doyle – 8 – Hard to rate, really. But apart from not scoring on his chances his play is terrific. In this game better than the last ones. The best passer of the lot this night with 97% accuracy. A thought is that it’s maybe him we should play as a number ten in the hole allowing us to play Ebanks-Blake from start as a striker with killer instinct, a trait that Doyle sadly seem to lack.


Highlights with the Arsenal goals in the right margin as usual


~ by paddytheflea on November 11, 2010.

8 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Arsenal FC”

  1. fool wolves..loser but got high rating…fool!

    • Or you could look at it the other way, John, and think of Arsenal as a very good team and the fact that many of our players doing very well and getting high ratings from me against you lot, but not good enough to win because you are so good. Don’t you think it’s a little bit foolish of you not to think about it that way?

  2. I would not even bother to give someone like John the courtesy of a reply as he obviously can’t appreciate that a player can play well even if he is on the losing side

  3. How refreshing to read a well balanced, informed report with no mention of the tackles (on both sides to be fair). As a Gooner who was at the match I thought you looked a good team and, but for the heroics of our much maligned goalie, would have got some points. You certainly don’t look like a side who should be relegated. I enjoyed my visit to the Molyneux and hope to be there next year too. Good luck for the rest of the season. I hope your fans will forgive our captain for the mistimed tackle and other stuff.

    • Thank you, oldbird!
      Yes, Fabianski played fantastic yesterday and anybody can make mistakes with tackles in the heat of the moment.

      After meeting five top teams we will now have the chance to show how we will fare against what we consider to be our equals in the league. And I believe that we will do just fine and move up the tables. See you at the Mol next year, oldbird!

  4. Cheers Paddy – all the best then. Two of my best mates are Wolvies season ticket holders, so you have a small place in my heart by association. The trip back home last night was a bit tense tho! Hope you have a good run now, starting Saturday. We hate Bolton!

  5. Thanks Paddy.
    An insightful summary as usual.
    Some comments from seeing the game live on tele. I’ve really enjoyed Wolves’ move to a game of keep-ball, but it’s shown up what all passing teams have learnt (West Ham, Spurs, Arsenal) that you need players to break from midfield with the ball. Most of the attacks we’ve conceded from in recent weeks have come this way. While we match teams in all other attacking respects, chances rarely come from fast paced direct football. When Wolves started scoring last season it was, in part, when Dave Jones started orchestrating fast breaks from midfield (think of Jarvis’s goal away at West Ham, or Guediora’s goal this season). Like you, I’m wondering whether we need Jones back in the team now because neither Henry, Mancienne nor Milijas are this kind of player.
    Secondly, isn’t it alarming the difference when both Hunt and Jarvis play on the left wing. Hunt virtually disappears as an effective attacking force when he plays on the right.

    • Interesting reflections, Dave.
      and you are defenately right that we started to play well and score when Jones came om last season. Partly I believe that Milijas could play the same role, though. But I definately believe that our play would benefit by using Jones instead of Mancienne, but I’m not sure if we then should play Milijas or Jones as attacking midfielder in the hole in a 4-5-1.

      And yes. Hunt seem to be much more comfortable on the left, but it may be partly because of Clichy yesterday aswell. He played very well. After Fabianski their best player in my opinion.

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