Analysis & Ratings: Blackpool FC v Wolves
Another loss and the boards are flooding over of postings about that manager Mick McCarthy must go now. The patience of the fans is clearly gone now and it’s only results that counts, and McCarthy could not deliver at the seaside Saturday.
For the third time in a row Wolves found themselves one goal down early in the game and that really makes it harder, as the opponents can sit back and defend and make an occasional counter attack – something Blackpool did very well in the game.
If the first early goal down – described as a Varney wonder-strike – disturbed the game plans for Wolves a great deal, the second one just before half-time crushed them. Wolves had to throw all caution aside now and go for it in the second half.
And they did and it resulted in chances at both ends as Halloway of course anticipated that Wolves would have to attack and his players were more than ready to defend and counter attack. The game opened up, but the forwards at both sides did not own the precision to score.
That is a problem for Wolves at the moment. The precision of the players who are supposed to give us the goals is really lousy, but that is not the only problem in Wolves. We create chances, but most of them – or all really – are only half chances.
It is seldom our players have the advantage to advance with full speed into the opponents penalty area and get behind their defences as the ball is played in.
No. Instead they prefer to make it hard for themselves by standing still with the Blackpool back line and a couple of midfielders in front of them when the high cross comes in to our short players.
If the opponents defend well we are the team to allow them to do so. We have to turn play faster and go more straight towards goal with fewer passes, otherwise we face a wall – a tangerine wall as it was Saturday.
Wolves managed to keep the ball in the team and also played more with the ball on the ground than against Bolton, but the fast turn and speedy attack was not there and we were not able to surprise the seasiders.
The play became a little bit more inventive in the second half when Milijas found himself and Ebanks-Blake came on, but time was running out without Wolves scoring. Milijas had the best chance for Wolves an hour into the game when he hit the post. With a goal then and there we could have got something out of the game. A decisive moment – as I use to write about – but it went by.
When finally Doyle scored, positioned at the far post – a position I talked about as strategic in the game of football last week when Fletcher did the same thing – it was to little to late and Blackpool could waste time for the rest of the game with Doyle and Fletcher having half chances before the final whistle.
Before I go to the ratings I would like to discuss the question now on the lips of the fans and in the message boards.
No. I don’t believe that it is time for Mick McCarthy to leave Wolves. And I’m not only basing this on what he has done for the club and the team so far, which is very much.
The team is still developing and we play the best football since I started to follow Wolves in the seventies. As all my readers know I’m not afraid of giving McCarthy and the players critique when they are not performing.
And McCarthy has shortcomings when it comes to tactics and sometimes even the team he picks and the formation he play. But every manager has and I can see a development in how he acts from when we played in the Championship aswell as in the actions of the players.
This season Wolves have developed a much better passing game than last season. We have proved that we match other teams – even the best like Arsenal and Chelsea – when it comes to that.
In my opinion Wolves are not far from a real breakthrough. When the players better master to turn play faster and play the ball up the pitch in fewer passes and run better in the deep to get to chances earlier we will score more goals and win more games.
I look forward to Mick McCarthy developing the Wolves team further in that direction this season and seasons to come. I don’t believe that we need a change of manager and I don’t think that the players, Moxey or Morgan believe so either.
It was inevitable that we would find ourselves close to the bottom of the league after the games against the top four and I can understand the disappointment of the fans when we couldn’t pick up points against Bolton and Blackpool. But I’m not giving up hope yet, as Wolves are still playing well – the best for over 30 years – and when you are, the points will come.
Hahnemann – 4 – As I already wrote against Manchester City, Hahnemann is a security risk when it comes to aerials. This insecurity costed us a goal against Blackpool and it could have been avoided if a change to Hennessey had been made a few games ago. He did show this weakness on a couple of other occasions that could have resulted in goals too. Time for a change, McCarthy!
Mancienne – 6 – Started in the middle, but switched places with Foley after 15 minutes. Did better than I expected on right back, but went missing in the second half.
Stearman – 6 – Did no – well maybe one – mistakes, but didn’t have that much to take care of in the game.
Berra – 7 – Takes the best decisions at every moment. When he is outdone by an opponent he takes a foul to stop them from advancing. It’s not the ideal, but it works. Had a couple of headers towards goal, but he has a couple each game without scoring. Practise!
Elokobi – 8 – I don’t understand fans complaining about him not being Premier League quality. Rubbish! Sometimes he is not fast enough to catch up with the best wingers in the league, but that is a problem that every full-back has. He is in fact a quality wing-back who still makes a few sloppy errors, but is very impressing when going forward and his crosses are getting better as I write. Together with Jarvis he is the player who has developed the most in the latest three years – despite being out injured for almost a season. George Elokobi is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Hunt – 6 – I believe he is getting there. He didn’t play bad at all Saturday and as usual he had a couple of half chances and play well together with Doyle. I think McCarthy did the right thing to give Hunty 45 minutes in this game. It will pay off.
Henry – 5 – He shows signs of reverting to his old ways and has had problems since his sending off, really. It was right to take him off after the hour to give Fletcher a chance to take the team more forward.
Jones – 5 – Had the chances both to score and assist, but failed in precision. Not at all in form as it seem. Maybe too many games out of the team.
Milijas – 7 – Didn’t start well when he came in for Foley after half an hour. But in second half he started to find his ways and became the creator we all know and love. If he had scored instead of hitting the post after the hour he would have been rewarded with an eight.It should be said that Milijas didn’t play from start because he played 65 minutes for Serbia Wednesday.
Doyle – 7 – Did well and got a little more space in this game, but sometimes he takes the wrong decision – as all players coming into the opposition penalty area seem to do in Wolves at the moment. It doesn’t really click between him and Ebanks-Blake yet, but it was a well taken goal that renders him an extra point.
Ebanks-Blake – 6 – Came on in the second half and added to the inventiveness of the play going forward. But he took a couple of bad decisions going forward and also lost the ball through sloppy passing. But he still looks like he could score a couple for us.
A link to highlights in the right margin as usual – and in the Vodpod player.