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.


~ by paddytheflea on November 22, 2010.

19 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Blackpool FC v Wolves”

  1. I always enjoy reading your views on the game, and while not agreeing with your assesment of Mick, I do respect it, as your views are always justified and well balanced.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Henry out for 2 months. Not sure this is a bad thing as he hasn’t been the same since his ban

    • He has not looked well, birchy, and if you have read my blog before you know that he’s not my favorite player. We need to get forward quicker and he stops us up in midfield to often.

  3. Mr Flea.
    On Mick, I disagree. We must be conceding nearly 3 goals a game, a problem that’s loomed as large as Kelly Brookes boobs since day 1. Yet Mick has done sweet F A to fix it. Bet your house that the instant Wardy’s leg is better he’ll be bumping Mancioenne to the bench quicker than you can say “lovechild” – Mancienne, who has been outstanding every chance he’s got, and was particularly so against Blackpool.

    Im not going to ignore the huge strides fwd we have made under mick – the reason we have this flowing, impressive midfield is all down to him and the players he’s selected. But he throws it all down the tube with his pigheaded obsession with favourites who are not up to the job.

    I do agree with you on Elokobi, he was brilliant on Sat – but lets face it – Blackpool arent REALLY fielding the Premier elite – in fact, looking at Holloways signings, its clear he was building for a season in the Champs, but his players have outplayed themselves, impressively so.

    I also agree with you that we are playing the best footie Ive ever seen too, the others just seem to have improved even more – and I dont think Mick knows what to do now.

    That said I still think we have enough quality to stay up, if we can fix the back 4, then we can run a 4 man midfield – allowing Doyle and Fletcher to play as striker… until that happens Dave Jones may well be swapping places with us next year.

    • I don’t think it’s up to the formation or the amount of strikers in it, Mr Ad Mant.
      But us conceding is a problem. I put it to Craddock being jínjured and Hahnemann not being nearly the wall he was last season. When Hennessey will replace Hahnemann and Craddock play instead of paint we will all get much luckier. 😆

      And I don’t really believe in that ‘Mick’s favourite’ theory. He looks a lot at the workrate of the players. A little too much sometimes.

      Mancienne was among the better against Blackpool, but he is not consistent on a high level and sometimes he makes horrible mistakes. A little bit like Stearman, really.

  4. Once again I agree with your analysis paddy. I travelled to Wolverhampton to see the Bolton game, and could really feel the nerves around the stadium. On that day Hahneman didn’t look good -and against Blackpool he wasn’t any better. I agree – now it’s time to give Hennessey a chance. However we can take some heart from the way we play – it’s certainly better than last season. I’m happy to see Milijas in the team, he is indeed the best passer we have and always a treat from distance. Sorry to hear Henry is injured – by the way he has been poor in recent games som perhaps it’s not all bad news. Keep it up Wolves.

    • Thank you, Dane Ole!
      You are all so nice in here. Perhaps the real Mick-basher’s doesn’t read Paddytheflea? 😆

  5. “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.” – Are you being serious?? This season he has been sent off and now is suspended after 5 yellows – that I’m afraid is atrocious. He got done time and time again against Blackpool as in every other game he’s played. You can’t just foul people because you are inadequate! Berra’s play is about blocking the forwards run or dragging them back by pulling their shirt – this is the sign of a very poor defender and Berra is a very poor defender!

    • Maybe I was a little too nice to Mr Berra there, Jed, but some defenders don’t do that last pull in the shirt and the forwards procede to score.

      But his behaviour also signals a central defender who does not really cut it, I agree. But ‘very poor’ – no. And with a not so experienced friend like Stearman to the right we get into trouble. I hope that we will have Craddock back for Sunderland and Moyokolo looks promising.

      • Noted Paddy, I just wish we didn’t have to rely on a 36 year old who has no pace. A sorry state of affairs!

      • I agree, but experience counts for a lot and he can learn Stearman and Mouyokolo a great deal about positioning and tackles and to hold the back line together. Stears and Mouyo have the pace and height and will be our future central defence. Probably already next season.

  6. I fully agree Paddy, Henry does a job, but I dont think he is better than what is available. With Milijas now up to speed after playing catch up I think he and Jones have the chance to stake a permanent claim to the midfielf roles. In my opinion this could be a good thing. Also Mancciene is looking a good option to fill in. as he has more pace and more of an eye for a pass than Henry.

  7. I’ll go along with your views of MM, but he must be getting very close to the point where the axe falls surely.
    Also I go along with improving the speed at which we move up the field, which may be helped by the absence of Henry. We can be so ponderous at times, which allows the opposition to get back into position, ready and waiting. Milijas can cure this easily.
    Play the ball along the ground too please!! We do have a distinct lack of height in the squad.

    • Yes. The lack of height is a problem when we play as we do, peter. We could do with a better version of The Hoff upfront sometimes.

      About the axe I don’t believe that it is close to fall at all. We had the same troubles and fears last season and Mick fixed it. I believe that Morgan and Moxey will stand by McCarthy and recognise the advantage of having him at the club for some years to come, really. Look at Everton and Stoke. Stability means a lot and can create a good team from relatively small means.

  8. Hahnemann might have made mistakes, and not for the first time, but he has been an absolute rock for the past year. I think it’s time we give him a chance to come through. We’ve certainly given enough of our other players second chances.

    Milijas should always be in the starting line-up at the moment. I’m happy for Doyle scoring his first league goal.

  9. I am a Blackpool Supporter who has not come on this web-site to gloat. The match was a thriller, which got better as it went on, but most of Blackpool’s games are ! That is because Olly ALWAYS plays four strikers. He said that Blackpool wouldn’t stay in the PL by drawing games, so he tries to win them all, even away from home. Sometimes it works and sometimes they’re slaughtered. But it’s the attitude that’s different, not a question of how much the players cost. He has inspired so-called journeymen to give everything for the Club, and more importantly, for each other. They all come from the same place, and they now like where they now are ! It is a formmidable combination.

    • Yes, Halloway is an inspirational manager and he seem to instill a fabulous attitude among your players. But will his tactics last for the whole season? It was not your striking department that was impressive, but your defending. To the teeth, or was it us that were ineffective? Maybe a little of both, I suspect.

      Your first goal was a freak goal – a one in a thousand. The second a big mistake by our keeper. But maybe your four strikers costed us as we couldn’t press on as hard as we wanted and always had to look out for that counter attack. Well done, anyway!

  10. I agree. The defence is so much better balanced with Elokobi than with Ward. Elokobi reads the game so much better than Ward, and is my man of the match.

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