Analysis & Ratings: Blackburn v Wolves
I had some hopes that Wolves would get something from this game. But I was very wrong.
Blackburn – bouncing back from the big defeat against Manchester United – was the better team in everything, maybe with the exception of the first 25 minutes. They were better at defending, better at turning play, stronger and much better at set pieces.
Apart from up to the first goal Wolves looked lost and weak. McCarthy had made changes to the team that were hard to understand – bringing on Steven Mouyokolo as a sparsely tested central defender and playing Ward at inner midfield.
It didn’t work. Mouyokolo did very little in the game and what he did he did wrong. And Ward looked lost in the middle, not at all possessing the skills that makes up a good inner midfielder.
I’m not the first person to shout about kicking the manager, but this game was lost before we kicked the ball and Mick McCarthy should take responsibility for that. He took some very wrong decisions and the team were made to pay for it. Henry and Jones are not easy to replace, but Ward is clearly not the solution to everything. And why did he replace Mancienne after the first half. Up until then he was the best passer in the game (but maybe he got injured?).
The biggest difference between the teams were in how the set pieces were taken and defended. Corners and free-kicks by Blackburn were always in danger of ending up in the net and the Blackburn players were moving after the ball was played to get in position to score and used their bodies to fend off Wolves players, if they happened to be in the vicinity.
Many of Wolves corners and frees were sloppy and easy to defend and the physique and marking by the Blackburn players were excellent, but not so much needed as the Wolves players typically stood still waiting for the ball instead of approaching it with motion.
Of course most of the Blackburn players are taller and better built than the Wolves players, but that’s not even half of the reason to Wolves shortcomings. Tactically they are much more skilled at set pieces and Wolves have much to learn from them at this. But my concern is about that they should have this knowledge already, and they do not.
It would be interesting to know how Wolves would have fared if they had scored the first goal after those chances by Ward and Zubar in the first minutes. It is a big advantage to get that first goal – especially away – and when Blackburn did instead of Wolves, the show was essentially over. Apart from the last minutes of the game Wolves were no threat to Blackburn at all.
In the second half Zubar moved to central defence and wolves looked a little more stable at the back. But even before the third Blackburn goal there were no indication that Wolves would get anything out of the game.
We could not surprise-attack the Blackburn defence and they were always very stable and held together by the mighty and terrific Samba, who stopped both Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake and Doyle. And his pal Nelsen was very good aswell. Or did we make them look good?
So this was the lowliest played by Wolves this season and let’s hope it was a one off and that we will show our bounceback ability, like we did last season after the Birmingham game and Blackburn did against us.
To the ratings.
Hennessey – 7 – Very good! Both as a shot-stopper and in distribution. Blackburn could have scored more if he hadn’t been there.
Zubar – 5 – Didn’t track back for the goal and looked heavy and slow. Maybe he was thinking too much about that chance in the beginning. But he gets an extra point for the second half when he played as central defender.
Mouyokolo – 4 – More to blame than Zubar for the second goal and the first as well. Was never in the game. He was doubtful before the game because of a bad back. He was a bad back! But McCarthy is to blame for picking him.
Berra – 7 – Could shine both in defence and a couple of times even going forward, as the rest of the back line was awful. A good come back and he was fighting to the last drop taking responsibility all over the pitch. There were a few hanging heads out there after three in the back, but Berra tried hard – and even managed to produce a perfect cross to Hunt quarter of an hour before time – that should have resulted in a consolation goal. Christophe Berra is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Elokobi – 6 – Didn’t really look up to it, apart from the first 25 minutes. Took care of Diouf reasonably well and cooperated well with Jarvis and Milijas, but were not a threat going forward, except for at good shot after 70 minutes.
Mancienne – 7 – Our best passer in the game (95% correct) and defended well. Not his fault that Wolves conceded twice in the first half. But when Wolves needed a more forward going team he was substituted.
Foley – 7 – One of our best players for the day – both in midfield and as a defender in the second half. Worked well with Zubar and Milijas. I feel comforted by the fact that he can take both these positions if Zubar will stay as a central defender until Craddock is back.
Ward – 5 – Played out of position in the inner midfield and I begin to believe the fans who say that Ward is McCarthy’s secret son. 😆 As said above, he has not got the skills of an inner midfielder, especially not at passing the ball. But his shot in the early stages of the game was worth a better destiny. But his defending at the free-kick that resulted in the third goal was shockingly bad.
Hunt – 7 – Came on in the second half and was all over as usual. He is steadily improving and it is a mystery that McCarthy played Ward instead of him in the first half. Had a couple of clearcut chances and at least one of them should have been a goal, if not for Robinson. I demand McCarthy to play him from start in the next game!
Milijas – 7 – A dip in form, perhaps, or the Blackburn players didn’t have anybody else to pursuit in the midfield than him?! But the main reason for him not getting forward and delivering as many quality passes as normal is that he had to work much harder defending lower down in midfield when Jones and Henry not being around. But he still had three chances and created two for others.
Jarvis – 6 – He got a flat nose against Samba time and time again, trying to get through the Blackburn defence. His delivery with crosses were not good for the afternoon, maybe because the Blackburn defence handled him firmer than any other team has accomplished so far. Still a threat and he had a couple of chances.
Doyle – 6 – Doyle were well contained aswell by the Blackburn defenders. Not a shot at goal and not even close to score at any time. Didn’t look as energetic as in previous games.
Ebanks-Blake – 5 – Came on in the second half and looked o-k, but he was caught up in the excellent Blackburn defence aswell. Either stopped in the middle or made harmless by moving him to the sides.
As always you can reach highlights of the game from a link in the right margin.