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.



~ by paddytheflea on December 5, 2010.

12 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Blackburn v Wolves”

  1. So dissapointing, when we hit the post then bar and post It was obviously not going to be our day 😦
    Mancienne came off because of an injury. The only was is up now, though I think we can still get out of this mess it will be a very hard and difficult struggle.

    • Yes, it’s tough. Almost hoped that he went off because of injury, it would be a crime to take him off instead of for instance Ward. Yes, now it will be a real struggle. And two derby’s waiting. But we made it last season and could do it again.

  2. Oh my goodness, Berra was shocking yesterday. Only the second time i’ve seen him play but my god was he hopeless. Closely followed by Zubar for your worst player yesterday

    • I’ve made it a habit to always see a rerun of every game I make player ratings from, RoverRyan, and Berra was not at all as good as Samba or Nelson, but he was good to our standard of defenders for the day and it was hard to find any other wolves player that played to their standard.

  3. I think you are a bit strict in your verdict of Ebanks Blake. He actually had some good shots, but Robinson was better. Otherwise I think you’re spot on. The Ward experiment wasn’t a success, but it was worth a shot, thumbs up for MM’s experimental mentality. Heard some transfer rumours about Lallana. That’s exactly the kind of player we need. Together with Milijas we would have a considerable strike force in midfield (when playing 4-5-1). Otherwise I’m very positive about Zubar in central defence. As mentioned above, he seemed somewhat heavy. It’s still early for him, after just coming back from injury, and I guess he’s not as immune to the workload as the other players.

    • Sprry, but I am against cruel experiments on animals aswell as on humans. Playing Ward instead of Hunt from start was not smart at all. That was risking the game in my opinion. I had a 6 on SEB at first, but changed it down. I believe he was a 5.5. But he didn’t have the support of his team mates and any free space in this game, partly because we were three goals down most of the time he was on.

  4. It would make more sense to bring him on later, I agree. Don’t know why MM chose to play him in that position. He’s a player good at winning first balls, a good tackler, and good at going forward, and his technical skills is decent, usually also his passing skills. In a central position one doesn’t get much time with the ball, and that is something he must work on if he want to play in that role. It’s too early to write him off after only one game, even though his performance against Blackburn was poor.

  5. Having only watched the highlights on Match of the Day, I do have to say when I was checking the text commentary at the time, I was happily surprised when we hadn’t conceded after 25 minutes; to no real surprise, we conceded four minutes later. When I saw the team sheet, I really couldn’t understand some of those changes. Like you, I found Hunt’s exclusion strange, and some of the positions of the players odd.

    A good defence was perhaps the only thing that kept us in the Premier League last year, with Craddock being a massive part of that (with his goals as well). On those highlights there are so many times when are players don’t look committed. I know it’s not easy for 90 mins, but what do you expect a result to be if you don’t do your best for every ball, especially the dangerous ones.

    Why can’t we gel our game together, we seem to either have only one of the things needed, and sometimes none at all? One game we’ll finally get goals, but at the expense of end-to-end football, and a sloppy defence; other times we’re great and hard to break down; sometimes we have great possession and good passing, against top teams. Sadly, increasingly, we show none of these attributes and I think it’s clear that the injury list plays a big part in this.

    • Craddock was a rock and the one who managed our back line last season. So you are correct that he was a massive part of us still in the Premier League, Jon. The replacements are too young and inexperienced and they make mistakes. It takes years and years to become an accomplished central defender and to be a leader of others – well, that takes something some will never achieve.

      There are rumours now that Mick will be looking for a central defender for January. Good. But no kids! An experienced player that is about 30 years old and a born leader. No matter the cost.

  6. PADDY, Have a look again at Zuber’s awful attempt to mark Nelson at the far post for the first goal.At centre back we need someone to compete and dominate.Zubar is quick but not dominant enough in the air.He will also make lots of silly mistakes.In my opinion Stearman is the best bet,but of course he makes lots of mistakes as well.Mouyokolo looks a real disappointing signing.With Mick being an ex centre would think he would know how to sign a decent one.

    • Thought that was Moyo, Chris. But, yes, we sure need a good centre-back and a leader of the back line at that. Problems with the back line have been ongoing since McCarthy came to Wolves. I’m getting pissed about it!

  7. We would have gone down last year without Craddock I’m certain. We desperately need him back ASAP!

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